Mark Nechodom

California Department of Conservation

Mark Nechodom is the Director of California’s Department of Conservation (DOC). Mark has dedicated his professional life to integrating conservation, regulation and development right where it matters the most: on the land, on the farm, and in the forest. His mission has been to inspire sustainable production and practices while maintaining a sensible balance between economic opportunities, environmental health and human well-being. Mark’s background serves the Department well as he leads DOC’s four divisions, unified by the mission of Managing California’s Working Lands.


Prior to his recent appointment as DOC Director, Mark was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). He also served as Director of the Office of Environmental Markets at USDA, and as the Senior Climate Science Policy Advisor to the Chief of the US Forest Service. Mark was the USDA representative on the team that negotiated the greenhouse gas reporting protocol for forestry for California’s Climate Action Reserve, and provided scientific and technical support to the California Air Resources Board and the Board of Forestry in the development of the state climate strategy under AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006).


In the mid-1990’s, Mark helped to establish the California Biodiversity Council, which has continued to provide a forum for California’s local, state and federal conservation leadership for over two decades. He was the 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.


Mark earned his doctorate in political science and environmental policy from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he taught for several years. He is married to Debra Bowen and has a daughter who is attending college in Northern California.