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Mark Nechodom is the Director of California’s Department of Conservation (DOC). Dr. Nechodom was appointed at DOC by Governor Brown in January 2012 to lead change in oil and gas regulations, practices in mining and reclamation, evolution of farmland conservation, and advances in earth science, particularly related to earthquakes and tsunamis. Dr. Nechodom has dedicated his professional life to integrating sustainable production and practices while maintaining a sensible balance between economic opportunities, environmental health, and human well-being.

Prior to his appointment as DOC Director, Dr. Nechodom was a Senior Policy Advisor at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and served as Director of the Office of Environmental Markets at USDA. He was a Senior Climate Science Policy Advisor to the Chief of the US Forest Service and worked on federal greenhouse gas legislation in Washington, DC. As a scientist with the USDA Forest Service, he was instrumental in establishing forest carbon reporting protocols and greenhouse gas reduction methodologies to support cap and trade markets. He also led key life-cycle modeling efforts that continue to contribute to ongoing policy development for climate mitigation.

Dr. Nechodom has worked on development policy and agriculture as an independent consultant, focusing on food and energy production in Mexico and other Latin American countries. He was the co-founder and co-director of the Land Use and Natural Resources program at UC Davis, a program that has provided training and certification for over 4,000 professional state and federal land and resource planners working across the US. Dr. Nechodom helped to establish the California Biodiversity Council in the early 1990s, which continues to provide a forum for California’s local, state and federal conservation leadership.

Dr. Nechodom earned his PhD in political science and environmental policy from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he taught for several years.