Melanie Winter is the director of The River Project, a non-profit organization that encourages responsible management of watershed lands and the revitalization of rivers. Her goal is to provide communities with the tools they need to reclaim their riverfront lands and restore our local water supplies. Winter organized a coalition of local groups that secured the land and $45 million in state funds to build the LA River's largest park: El Rio de Los Angeles State Park. More recently, she produced a watershed management plan for the San Fernando Valley that is helping to guide local water resources planning. Her work has garnered Sunset Magazine's first environmental hero award, "Champions of the West" in 2003, and the American Planning Associations "Innovation in Green Community Planning" award in 2009. Currently, Winter is partnering with LADWP to implement watershed management projects, and with George Wolfe to provide on-going recreational and educational expeditions on the river. Before founding The River Project in 2000, Winter was the Executive Director of Friends of the Los Angeles River.