Ira Stern is an environmental planner specializing in watershed planning and protection, open space preservation and large scale regional planning. He has experience working with local communities in urban, suburban, and rural areas and has been involved as a professional planner in government, for non-profit organizations, in a private development firm, and as a consultant. Currently, he is a Regional Manager in the Bureau of Water Supply for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. In that role, he manages a critical part of NYC's water supply infrastructure—the Rondout Reservoir, Neversink Reservoir, Rondout-West Branch Tunnel and all its associated infrastructure including valve chambers, roads and bridges, dams, over 20,000 acres of land, two hydroelectric plants and two office laboratory facilities. Previously at DEP he was Director of the Division of Watershed Lands and Community Planning—comprised of a staff of planners, geologists, foresters, real estate professionals, GIS technicians, and land stewards. This Division is responsible for the voluntary watershed protection programs designed to protect New York City's water supply including the City's Land Acquisition Program—one of the largest efforts of its kind in the world. He was instrumental in establishing the Catskill Watershed Corporation and in developing the capacity of the Watershed Agricultural Program. He also started and managed many DEP watershed programs including Stream Management, Forestry, Water Infrastructure Development, and a new Watershed Information System. He was also a key member of the principal negotiating team for New York City that drafted and secured the historic 1997 NYC Watershed Memorandum of Agreement that is the basis for the City's effort to protect the water supply. “Teaching at Pratt is very fulfilling—being a part of a great program—including students and faculty—gives me hope that planning on a regional, environmental scale will become even more commonplace and meaningful.”
B.A., Hobart College
M.S., Pratt Institute; M.S.C.R.P.