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Endangered Species Act Co-Author Passes Away

Nathaniel Reed
The Everglades Foundation

Nathaniel Reed, who helped craft the Endangered Species Act and other crucial environmental legislation, passed away Wednesday at age 84. 

Reed served as Florida’s first environmental advisor to a Governor back in 1967. He was crucial in stopping a major development in the Everglades and helped improve air quality in the state. He later became an Assistant Secretary in the Interior Department under President Richard Nixon, and then Gerald Ford. He also served under seven governors in total.

Eric Eikenberg, CEO for the Everglades Foundation, worked with Reed for 6 years and knew him for 16. He described him as a great storyteller, a mentor, and a crusader for the environment.

“He was able to provide Nixon with some major environmental accomplishments. If it wasn’t for him, President Nixon wouldn’t have gone down with such a great accomplishments,” Eikenberg said.

Those accomplishments include the Marine Mammal Protection Act, preserving millions of acres of parks and wildlife refuges, and amending the Clean Water Act. Later in life, Eikenberg explained Reed spent time mentoring the next generation of conservationists.

“I feel strongly one of his key legacies is the cultivation and nurturing of the next generation. That generation will continue his legacy and remember the giant he was,” Eikenberg said.

Reed died on a fishing trip in Canada after hitting his head and falling unconscious. A memorial is expected to be held in several months.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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