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Watershed Protection Department has a new director

Monday, December 9, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

Austin’s Watershed Protection Department has a new director as of Oct. 28. Jorge Morales came to introduce himself to the Environmental Commission at its Dec. 4 meeting, where he told commissioners he was “very excited” to join the department as the director. This is Morales’ third time working for Watershed Protection; he was an intern in the 1990s and later returned in 2009. Since 2016, he has served as an assistant director in the Public Works Department. Morales, who has a background in civil engineering, told commissioners that he is well-versed in flooding and storm mitigation, but is “still learning” about the environmental side of the department’s work. Going forward, he said, “Part of my focus as the new director will be out there listening to community members.” Commissioner Mary Ann Neely asked Morales about his thoughts on preserving trees and plants, “Because on this group we’re just over the top sometimes (on this topic),” she said. While Morales did not offer any concrete departmental approach to tree and plant preservation, he said, “Austin is the most desirable city because of what we’ve done to preserve the environment.”

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