Alumni Spotlight: Katie Bowes, Environmental Specialist, Martin County Board of County Commissioners

June 11, 2021

  • Katie BowesKatie Bowes, Environmental Specialist, Martin County Board of County Commissioners
  • Degree: M.S. Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, 2018
  • Hometown: Gretna, Louisiana
  • High School: Dominican

LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment, or CC&E, serves as a critical source for employers throughout Louisiana and the world to recruit knowledgeable and passionate scientists and employees that are in high demand. Katie Bowes (LSU ’18) developed an exceptional understanding of the connectivity of wetland and marine science as a result of multiple hands on opportunities she took advantage of while earning her degree from CC&E. 

While a student, Bowes participated in an internship at Chenier Environmental Consulting, LLC. through Aaron Bass (the owner of Chenier and a CC&E alumnus who also serves on the CC&E Advisory Council), where she conducted wetland assessments and delineations for different properties in order to ensure that companies were complying with the Clean Water Act, which protects wetlands. Her performance as an intern was so impactful to the company that, after a year, they hired her as an employee. 

According to her thesis advisor, John White, John and Catherine Day Professor of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences and Associate Dean of Research, “She is a confident, easy going person who is focused on providing much needed answers to very practical environmental issues. Her drive is likely related to her significant work-life experience in the environmental consulting arena.”

Upon graduating, Bowes moved to Florida and began working as an environmental specialist for Martin County in January 2019. Bowes made quite a splash, and just nine months later, she was promoted to environmental programs coordinator. Currently, her job is focused on ecosystem restoration and management of riverine and marine habitats through research, hands-on projects, and heavy involvement in state and federal environmental policies. Recently, she initiated a water quality monitoring program that spans 42 sites across the county. 

“When I started working for the county, they had already completed dozens of water quality projects— like storm water treatment areas, or STAs, —over the last couple decades, but they weren't monitoring their effectiveness over time…Through the monitoring program, I can evaluate the ability of our STAs to treat the storm water runoff that is entering them, and make sure that the outflow into local waterways is as clean as possible,” Bowes said. 

This year, Bowes added several agricultural canal sites to the program that were previously unmonitored by any other agency. These canals flow right into impaired waterbodies, contributing large pollutant and sediment loads to them. Monitoring these will further reduce pollutant loads coming from agricultural lands. 

“It’s been very rewarding to utilize my knowledge gained from LSU as a representative for Martin County in environmental policy matters and play a role in making lasting environmental change,” Bowes said.