K.E. Purcie Bennett
Areas of expertise Endangered Species Act, Federal Lands, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Ecosystem Ecology, Riparian Ecology, Wetland Ecosystems and Policy
Purcie works to merge the disciplines of law, policy, and science to find progressive avenues to improve Endangered Species Act policies and regulations. She helps develop policies that employ forward-thinking actions that manifest in effective on-the-ground benefits to imperiled species and their habitats. Her work covers a variety of Endangered Species Act issues, including pre-listing conservation strategies, recovery planning, habitat conservation plans, listing decisions, agency consultation processes, and critical habitat designation. She also assists with Defenders’ field conservation and legislative priorities that pertain to the ESA.
Before Joining Defenders in 2012, Purcie was practicing environmental law in Bozeman, Montana. There she worked on litigation protecting wildlands, wildlife, endangered species, and pristine waters throughout the Northern Rockies. For the past two years Purcie has also been the vice chair of the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council (GGWC), a local watershed group in Bozeman. In that capacity she worked to protect water quality in the Gallatin River watershed and integrate wetlands into riparian recovery. In a previous life Purcie practiced criminal defense law in Northern Virginia where she defended cases ranging from DUI to murder. In her spare time she enjoys life outdoors through rock climbing, skiing, biking, surfing, kayaking, and hiking in the woods with her dog.
Purcie holds a law degree from Washington and Lee University. There she advanced to the national level in negotiations competition and was published on the proportionality review of Virginia’s death penalty. She also holds a masters in Environmental and Resource Policy from George Washington University where her thesis explored a multidisciplinary perspective of national wetland ecosystem protection. She augmented those degrees with postgraduate riparian ecology studies at Montana State University. Purcie has strived to expand her environmental education in a multidisciplinary fashion that gives her a unique and comprehensive understanding of environmental and ecosystem issues.