Martinez named to lead Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service
Dr. Edwin Martinez-Martinez will begin serving as Virginia’s 10th state conservationist on Sept. 14, with oversight for all USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs and services in the Commonwealth.
The Puerto Rico native began his career with NRCS in 2005, as a soil conservationist student trainee in Nebraska and Puerto Rico. His experience as a trainee led to positions as a soil conservationist in Northern California and a district conservationist in Michigan.
While in Michigan, he served as the assistant state conservationist for field operations, supervising 20 field offices in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
Dr. Martinez has completed several special assignments for the agency as well. He coordinated Caribbean Area Emergency Watershed Protection Program activities, assisting with hurricane recovery efforts. He also served as acting state conservationist in Maine and provided technical training in mangrove restoration to an international group of conservationists and decision makers around the Gulf of Mexico.
Most recently, Dr. Martínez managed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from Washington, D.C., achieving significant improvements in the management of nutrients around the Great Lakes Region and overall water quality of the Lakes. He now takes that experience to Virginia as the successor to Jack Bricker, who led the state NRCS team from March 2007 to May 2020.
“I’m a strong believer in locally led conservation,” said Martinez. “Throughout my career, I have focused my energies on developing strong conservation partnerships and will continue to do so in this new role. Our people are our greatest asset and strong collaboration between NRCS team members, partners and customers is critical to our continued success in natural resource protection.”
Dr. Martinez earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Puerto Rico. During his undergraduate and graduate studies, he conducted research related to water resource conservation. Dr. Martinez went on to earn a doctorate in soil science at Michigan State University, researching water quality and wetland restoration as a student in MSU’s Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department.
Dr. Martinez’s honors and recognition include a 2018 Honor Award from the USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) and the USDA Secretary’s Award for Hurricane Response Assistance in the Caribbean in 2019. He also received the 2019 National Organization of Hispanic NRCS Employees Excellence in Natural Resources Conservation Award.