Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Martin Doyle

Director, Water Policy Program


Martin Doyle is the director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability and a professor of river science and policy at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He is also the coconvenor and organizer of the Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum programming and coleads (with Newsha Ajami) the Aspen National Water Affordability Strategy Initiative.

His work ranges from fluid mechanics and sediment transport to infrastructure finance and federal water policy. His first book, The Source (WW Norton, 2018), is a history of America’s rivers. His second book, Streams of Revenue (MIT Press, 2021) is an analysis of ecosystem markets. In addition to his role as a professor, Doyle helped establish the Department of the Interior’s Natural Resources Investment Center, an initiative of the Obama administration to push forward private investment in water infrastructure, and prior to that (2009–2010) was the inaugural Frederick J. Clarke Scholar at the US Army Corps of Engineers. He is currently (2023–2024) a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works).

Doyle has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation, and was named a Kavli Fellow for the Frontiers of Science from the National Academy of Sciences. He is completing a third book—Water & Wall Street—a history and analysis of infrastructure finance in the United States.

Martin recommends:

The Company: The Rise and Fall of the Hudson’s Bay Empire

Why? As an aging canoeist and former Quetico canoe guide (in a previous life), I am inordinately fascinated with all things related to voyageurs. The fact that so much of Canada’s early history, and the effects on so many of our northern ecosystems, were set in motion by the value of beaver pelts in Europe still staggers the mind.

Also, I still read and reread anything by the political theorist Francis Fukuyama, whose most recent book, Liberalism and its Discontents, is profoundly important.