PRESS RELEASE: Throwe Adds Fmr. Natural Resources Secretary, Climate Adaptation & Water Resource Experts to Support Resilience Work

Wednesday, November 30, 2022



Mark Belton, Kimberly Groff, John Morton, and Sarah Whitehouse bring decades of combined experience to support the National Coastal Resilience Fund and other Throwe projects


BRISTOL, RI (November 30, 2022) Throwe Environmental, LLC has added four career professionals to its roster of experienced Project Partners. Combined, the new additions bring ten decades of experience on natural resources, climate resilience, water resource management, and community engagement initiatives. 

The expanded team of Project Partners will work primarily as part of Throwe’s role as National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF) Field Liaisons. Throwe has provided technical assistance to potential NCRF applicants nationwide since February 2021. Throwe was recently reselected as NCRF Field Liaisons, bringing in the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) and the American Society of Adaptation Professional (ASAP) for additional support. 

“I couldn’t be happier with the team we’re building at Throwe Environmental,” shared President Joanne Throwe. “The NCRF is no small program. It’s more important than ever that we’re assembling a team that can meet the needs of NCRF applicants. When it comes to moving communities forward, Mark Belton, Kimberly Groff, John Morton, and Sarah Whitehouse bring unmatched records to the table.”

Rear Admiral Mark Belton (Ret.) has extensive experience leading state and local government organizations and retired from a 31-year military career as a Navy Rear Admiral in logistics policy and operational assignments. Formerly serving as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), he currently works as County Administrator for Charles County, MD, and previously held the same role in Queen Anne’s County, MD and Page County, VA. Belton has focused on climate resilience, championing the establishment of Maryland’s Climate Leadership Academy and creating the state’s first nonprofit Resilience Authority. He has led Charles County to national recognition for its whole-of-government approach to climate preparedness, which was cited by S&P as influencing affirmation of Charles County’s AAA credit rating. Belton holds a BS from the US Naval Academy; an MBA from Regis University; and graduated from programs at the Naval War College, Armed Forces Staff College, and National Defense University. 

“I’m thrilled to be working with the dynamic team at Throwe-Environmental, assisting local governments with financial resources, technical expertise, and added capability to meet the challenges of climate change,” said Belton. “Through partnerships, innovation and a proactive approach, no community needs to be left behind. Throwe’s work can make a real difference and helps turn what can seem a daunting challenge into opportunities and solutions.”

Belton and Throwe Environmental President Joanne Throwe were colleagues at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources from 2015-2018. 

Kimberly Groff, PhD has dedicated her 30+ year career to advancing water quality at a project, state, and regional scale. She serves as the Massachusetts liaison for the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Network, where she conducts community- and watershed-scale planning to build capacity and support long-term climate resilience. As former Director of the MassDEP Watershed Planning Program, Groff managed policy development, surface water monitoring and standards, and TMDL and watershed plan development. Groff previously worked as a water resources engineer at AMEC Earth and Environmental, HydroAnalysis, and ENSR (now AECOM), where she assisted a variety of clients and industries (e.g., energy, plastics, transportation, academia, state and federal agencies). She earned a Doctorate from Georgia Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Groff has partnered with Throwe to support the Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) since 2021.

“It’s been a real pleasure to collaborate with Throwe Environmental through the SNEP Network and Long Island Sound Futures Fund,” offered Groff. “I jumped at the opportunity to get involved with NCRF and build on what we’ve learned in the Long Island Sound watershed. There’s so much funding out there right now, and communities need a way to cut through the noise and find the grant programs that allow them to craft competitive grant applications to fit their needs.”

John Morton, PhD recently retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after 32 years as a wildlife biologist in Alaska, California, Guam, Maryland and Wisconsin. He was most recently the supervisory biologist at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, where he and his staff earned the USFWS Rachel Carson Group Award for Scientific Excellence for their research of the ecological effects of climate change. Morton represented the USFWS in the GAO’s investigation of climate change impacts on Federal lands (2006) and on DOI’s Climate Change Task Force (2007). Throughout his career, Morton helped develop USFWS’s strategic plan to respond to climate change, as well as the innovative Resist-Accept-Direct decision framework for climate adaptation. Morton holds a BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MS and PhD in Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech. He currently serves as the Board Vice President of both the Alaska Wildlife Alliance and the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition.

“When it comes to climate change, Alaska is the canary in the coal mine. We’re warming two to four times faster than the Lower 48 and already experiencing unprecedented climate phenomena. I’m glad to support Alaskans who are pursuing this resilience funding and I hope to help them secure the resources they need,” said Morton.

Sarah Whitehouse joins Throwe Environmental after recently retiring from the City of Newport, RI where she resides. Whitehouse had served as the City’s Community Resilience Specialist in the Department of Planning & Economic Development since 2018. Prior to this position, she oversaw grants and projects involving preparation for sea level rise and climate change impacts, and participated in economic development efforts and innovation projects citywide and across all of Aquidneck Island. Additionally, Whitehouse has worked for the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission as Interim Executive Director and Project Manager, assisting Island communities in long-term planning and coordination. Whitehouse was formerly Newport Program Director for Rhode Island-based Social Enterprise Greenhouse, fostering inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and just, equitable, and resilient communities. Whitehouse has a BA from Colorado College. 

Whitehouse shared, “After a career at the community level, I understand the hesitation around a lot of federal programs — from knowing which grants to pursue, to actually having the internal capacity to do so. The technical support Throwe provides is an invaluable tool in the toolkit for communities looking to take advantage of the dollars out there right now.”

Belton, Groff, Morton, and Whitehouse, along with their colleagues at Throwe and partners at NAFWS and ASAP, will be providing NCRF Field Liaison services free-of-charge to potential applicants throughout the 2023 grant cycle. 

Groff will also continue to support potential applicants to the LISFF as a Field Liaison alongside her Throwe colleagues. In addition to the NCRF, Whitehouse will support Throwe’s work as a technical assistance provider through the SNEP Network.Those interested in learning more about the National Coastal Resilience Fund or Long Island Sound Futures Fund programs should reach out to discuss project ideas via email at and



Throwe Environmental, LLC assists communities and organizations across the United States in identifying, implementing, and sustainably financing action to address the impacts of climate change. Through outreach, technical assistance, and institutional development, Throwe helps its clients address environmental challenges through resilient, sustainable, and practical methods. For more information, please visit


Kyle Gray (Throwe Environmental)