Mashal Awais

Watershed Specialist

Mashal Awais joined Bayou City Waterkeeper in February 2021 as its Watershed Specialist. Mashal utilizes her skills as an environmental scientist to partner with communities in the pursuit of healthy waters and communities throughout the Lower Galveston Bay Watershed.

Having pursued her Masters in Environmental Analysis from Rice University, she has worked alongside environmental justice communities advocating for communities’ right to clean air and water. Prior to joining Bayou City Waterkeeper, Mashal’s work focuses on risk management in disaster recovery and mitigating health impacts from environmental pollution for fenceline and underinvested communities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from UT-Austin.

Mashal supports local environmental education efforts and youth-based climate resilience initiatives throughout the region. She has been living in the Houston area since 2008. As an immigrant from Lahore, Pakistan, she enjoys the richness and diversity of Houston, meeting new people, finding new music and art. 

You can reach her at mashal@bayoucitywaterkeeper.org

Kristen Schlemmer

Legal Director & Waterkeeper

Kristen Schlemmer joined Bayou City Waterkeeper in July 2018 to use her legal skills and knowledge to advance water, climate, and infrastructure justice across our watershed. She represents the organization in federal court and state administrative proceedings, uses the law as a tool to strengthen our broader programmatic work, coordinates our legal and scientific experts and team of interns and fellows, and serves as a resource for local communities, our non-profit partners, governmental leaders, and media.

Kristen went to UT-Austin for undergrad and graduated from Tulane Law in New Orleans. She clerked for two federal judges at the district and appeals court levels before returning to her hometown to work at Susman Godfrey, where she learned to try cases to a jury and argued countless motions. Kristen transitioned into public interest environmental law at Irvine & Conner, a small local land use and environmental boutique, before starting her dream job at Bayou City Waterkeeper.

Kristen grew up playing in the forested wetlands and drainage ditches of Kingwood in northeast Harris County after spending her early childhood on the beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She speaks conversational Spanish (with a Brazilian accent), is a Texas Gulf Coast Master Naturalist, and serves on the local board of New Leaders Council, a national organization dedicated to dismantling racism and social injustices by training a new generation of local leaders. Kristen and her family live a short walk from Buffalo Bayou.

You can reach her at kristen@bayoucitywaterkeeper.org

Fellows

Anthony D'Souza

Wetland Research Fellow

Anthony D’Souza joined Bayou City Waterkeeper as a legal and policy intern in January 2020 and has served as our Wetland Research Fellow since August 2020. Anthony supports Bayou City Waterkeeper in protecting wetlands. He reviews wetland destruction permits (404 Clean Water Act applications) for compliance, assembles research, and collects information on the ecological and social implications of development.

Anthony is a senior at Rice University, majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Politics, Law & Social Thought. He has previously interned for the Environmental Law Institute, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and the Baker Institute working on a variety of environmental policy issues including carbon pricing, nature-based disaster resilience, climate change-induced migration, environmental justice, and conflict sensitivity in environmental programming.

Anthony currently lives in west Houston, having moved there five years ago from Karachi, Pakistan and in his free time enjoys playing soccer and basketball.

You can reach him at anthony@bayoucitywaterkeeper.org

Naomi Walker

Mapping Water Injustices Fellow

Naomi joined Bayou City Waterkeeper as its Water Justice Fellow in March 2020. Naomi uses GIS and other analytical tools to root out potential injustices in public infrastructure within our watershed.

Naomi is a graduate student at Texas Southern University pursuing a degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, with a focus on Sustainability and Natural Resources. She has previously worked as an Environmental Research Assistant mapping the nutrient, contaminant, and bacteria levels of Buffalo Bayou. She is passionate about  improving environmental injustices that degrade the health of communities and contribute to global climate change, environmental degradation, and food and water insecurity.

You can reach her at naomi @bayoucitywaterkeeper.org

Board of Directors

Popken Passport Photo

David Popken

David, an avid sailor and fisherman, serves as Board Chair. He and his wife, Kris, live on Galveston Bay in Seabrook, where he serves as a member of the City of Seabrook’s Open Spaces and Parks Committee, Galveston Bay Cruising Association, Galveston Bay Foundation, and Audubon Society. David joined the board in 2018.

Jorge Bustamante

Jorge, currently serving as Vice Chair, joined the board in 2019. As Project Manager for Harris County Precinct 2, he lives in the Near Northside and utilizes his e-bike and public transit to move around town. Prior to joining BCWK, Jorge was founding member of the Houston Department of Transformation.

Rachel_Powers

Rachel Powers

Rachel is BCWK’s Board Treasurer. A long-time Houstonian, and passionate advocate for clean water and the environment, she currently serves as Executive Director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, working to foster dialogue and collaboration on environmental issues. Rachel joined the board in 2019.

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Libby Viera-Bland

Having joined the board in 2021, Libby is passionate about understanding how the narratives of place differ based on whose voice is prioritized. As a Neighborhood Development Project Manager for Project Row Houses, she is working to build initiatives around affordable housing and supportive services that can contribute to a culture of health. Libby currently serves as board secretary.

Phil 2021

Phil Beckett, PhD

As CEO of HASA, Phil leads a non-profit community collaborative initiative to enhance access to health and medical care for residents of Central Texas. Trained in biochemistry and agriculture, he is a long-time advocate for environmental health and sustainability. He brings strong collaborative skills to the table to further a holistic vision of healthy and safe communities. Phil joined the board in 2021.

Lindsay 2021

Lindsay Dofelmier

Currently a Senior Associate with Hogan Lovells, Lindsay has worked on an array of environmental issues in Texas and Colorado. Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, she clerked for the Honorable Melinda Harmon in Texas and was a legal fellow for Defenders of Wildlife. Lindsay joined the board in 2021, and is a member of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Clear Sky First Nation of Iroquois Confederacy.

Advisory Board

John Jacob, PhD  •  Martin Hamilton  •  Vaness Hamilton • Alex Kaplan • Sharron Stewart