Ann Hayden

Senior Director, Western Water and Resilient Landscapes


Areas of expertise:
Environmental markets, water policy, riparian and wetland habitat, river and delta systems

As senior director of the California Habitat Exchange and Western Water, Ann Hayden leads EDF’s efforts to rebalance and build resilient land, water and wildlife systems across the western United States. She is an expert in the development and implementation of environmental markets that help increase healthy freshwater and terrestrial systems.

At EDF, Ann has been instrumental in the establishment of the Central Valley Habitat Exchange which was developed to incentivize farmers and ranchers to restore important habitat on their land while maintaining, or even increasing, agricultural productivity.

She has also been instrumental in the advancement of smart, incentive-based water management strategies in California. In particular she’s led EDF’s efforts to establish groundwater trading programs that will help farmers transition to a future with less groundwater while taking into account the needs of disadvantaged communities and ecosystems.

Throughout her career, Ann’s work has focused on finding the right balance between ecosystem protection and the prosperity of communities. She has worked to build broad coalitions to advance solutions that benefit both the environment and people. By fostering relationships with state and federal agencies, non-profit partners, landowners and the private sector, Ann has developed an inclusive approach to resource management that considers a wide array of perspectives and disciplines.


Ann is the Vice-Chair of the San Francisco Estuary Institute Board and sits on both the California Roundtable for Agriculture and Environment and the California Roundtable for Water and Food Supply. She previously sat on the Steering Committee for the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan which sought to improve urban and agricultural water supply reliability and restore the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.

Ann holds a Masters degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at U.C. Santa Barbara and a B.S. degree in Marine Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz.

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