Texas Water Trust Workshop

The Texas Water Trust was created by the 75th Texas Legislature and offers a significant opportunity to preserve natural and aquatic habitat for flow protection, by holding water rights that have been donated, leased, or purchased. The program is crucial to protecting environmental flows for the health of our ecosystems and communities, but it is underutilized. In 2021, the Texas Legislature enacted HB 2225 assigning the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department an enhanced role in implementing the Trust.”

The Texas Water Trust workshop will make the case for greater use of the trust as an important tool to ensure we have water to meet the needs of the state’s rich natural heritage and will cover topics ranging from how the Texas Water Trust operates, why it is important, and how to increase the program’s effectiveness. Experts from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, AMP Insights, The Nature Conservancy, and National Wildlife Federation will share case studies, tools, and how similar programs work in other states.


Marty Kelly is the Water Resources Program Coordinator at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) where he has worked for over 8 years.  Prior to joining the Department Marty worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the Houston field office conducting environmental investigations and surface water quality monitoring.  Marty has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and Marine Fisheries from Texas A&M University at Galveston and a Masters in Environmental Biology from the University of Houston – Clear Lake.  Marty has been involved in a number of water resource related projects ranging from heavy metals in fish tissue, spring flows in Central Texas, and assessing impacts to freshwater mussel communities in east Texas. 

Jennifer Walker is the Director of the Texas Coast and Water Program at the National Wildlife Federation. She focuses on statewide water policy issues with an emphasis on water planning, infrastructure funding, urban water management, and bay and estuary protection. Jennifer is a water resources expert with twenty years of experience helping city, utility, and state agencies achieve ambitious water supply management and conservation goals. In 2021, she was appointed by the Texas Water Development Board to represent Environmental Interests on the Texas Water Conservation Advisory Council. Jennifer has a BS in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology from the University of Texas at Austin.

David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). He is responsible for overseeing an agency of 3,300 professionals in 13 different divisions, including Wildlife, Law Enforcement, State Parks, Coastal Fisheries, and Inland Fisheries. Yoskowitz has been actively engaged in the areas of private lands conservation, the acquisition of additional state parkland and wildlife management areas, securing state funding for state parks, children in nature initiatives, coastal conservation and mitigation initiatives stemming from the Deepwater Horizon incident, and the state’s management response to chronic wasting disease. Prior to joining TPWD, Yoskowitz was the Senior Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where he was also HRI’s founding Endowed Chair for Socioeconomics and held positions in both faculty and administration over the past 20 years.  

Myron Hess is a consultant and attorney in private practice in Austin working primarily on issues related to water and endangered species. Myron has a long history of working on water-related issues in Texas on behalf of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Wildlife Federation, as well as various individual clients. His current involvement in water issues focuses on protecting spring flows and environmental flows in Texas rivers and into Texas bays and estuaries. That involvement includes serving as the vice-chair of the Colorado and Lavaca Rivers and Matagorda and Lavaca Bays Area Stakeholder Committee and as the vice-chair of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan Stakeholder Committee. Myron obtained his undergraduate degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University in 1977 and, after working as an educator, a law degree from the University of Texas in 1986.

Andrew Purkey is a partner at AMP Insights, a consulting firm supporting clients working to address vexing water and natural resources management issues around the western US. Andrew has thirty years of experience in water rights transactions and water transaction program development, funding and management.  Andrew came to consulting after having directed environmental water transaction and instream flow restoration programs at the National Fish and Wildlife Fund (NFWF) for sixteen years and the Oregon Water Trust (now The Freshwater Trust) for nine years. During his time with NFWF Andrew directed their Western Water Program, which included efforts to restore water to aquatic and riparian ecosystems in the Columbia Basin, Klamath Basin, Rio Grande Basin, Walker Basin, Colorado River Delta, California, and Texas. Andrew earned a BA from the University of Oregon and a MPP from Harvard University.  

Ron Ellis is the Team Lead for the Regional Water Planning Team at the Texas Water Development Board. He helps coordinate the administration of the regional water planning process and the development of the state water plan. He has over 17 years of experience administering and leading water resources programs for the state of Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University.

Dr. Kathy Alexander is the Senior Policy and Technical Analyst for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Water Availability Division. In her role as Policy and Technical Analyst, Dr. Alexander provides input on a broad range of permitting, hydrology, and policy issues for the division. Dr. Alexander has worked on water rights permitting and management issues since she began her career with TCEQ in 1999. Dr. Alexander received her doctorate in Aquatic Resources from Texas State University. She has published articles and book chapters on Interbasin Transfers, Water Availability Modeling, Water Rights Permitting Issues, and Texas’ Boundary Water Agreements.

Kyle Garmany is the Water & Agriculture Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, where he leads efforts to advance freshwater conservation and address the growing challenge of water scarcity. Prior to TNC, Kyle worked as a Hydrologist for the State of Texas where he focused on the development of environmental flows science, policy, and strategies to restore and protect freshwater resources. He holds degrees in environmental science and geography from Humboldt State University and Texas State University.

David Young is a research hydrologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, where he conducts field investigations and data analysis to support management of fish and wildlife throughout the state of Texas. Working at the intersection of human and environmental water needs, David characterizes climate and human impacts on water resources and quantifies ecological flow requirements to inform adaptive management strategies. He has a B.S. in Engineering from Texas State University and an M.S. in Hydrology from West Virginia University.