Obituary Notices

Obituary: Justin Ehrenwerth

Justin Ehrenwerth, who led The Water Institute as president and CEO for the last seven years, died May 11 at his home in New Orleans at age 44.

Ehrenwerth was appointed the second president and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf in January 2017. Prior to joining The Water Institute, he served as the inaugural executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. The council was created in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to use billions of dollars in penalties to restore the Gulf Coast’s economy and environment and adapt in the face of climate change. Ehrenwerth successfully established the council as an independent federal agency and oversaw all aspects of its programmatic, technical and operational activities.

He previously served as chief of staff to the U.S. deputy secretary of commerce, where he assisted in overseeing issues of policy, budgeting, and strategic planning. He focused on matters impacting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) including complex regulatory and management challenges.

Earlier, Ehrenwerth served as assistant counsel to the president, where he took the lead on Deepwater Horizon litigation for the White House, working with the Department of Justice. He also served as a member of the Oversight and Litigation group representing the White House in congressional investigations and advising federal agencies on oversight matters. Before joining the White House, Ehrenwerth served in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of General Counsel, where he provided support to NOAA leadership on sensitive regulatory and political matters. He received NOAA’s Award for Excellence for work in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“Justin’s passing touches so many people who knew him well and respected his intellect and boundless enthusiasm for his work,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “He embodied the essence of what service to one’s state, community and neighbors is all about and made a powerful and positive impact on Louisiana and the entire Gulf coast. His presence and his work will be sorely missed.”