Kate Zultner

Coastal Planning Specialist
Kate Zultner

Texas General Land Office

I enjoy working and collaborating with people who are also engaged and enthusiastic about protecting and conserving our natural resources for future generations.


B.A., Environmental Analysis & Policy and Marine Biology, Boston University


$40,000 - $60,000



What is your current job and what does it entail? 

I am a coastal planning specialist for the Texas Coastal Management Program (TCMP) in the Texas General Land Office's Coastal Resources Division. I assist in the implementation of the Coastal Zone Management Act Section 309 strategic plan for program enhancement, conduct grant reviews and help coordinate with local coastal programs and partnerships and state and federal resource agencies. I previously worked on the non-point pollution program and conducted federal consistency reviews on permit applications for development and restoration activities. The TCMP provides coastal grants to state and local entities to increase and improve public access; protect and restore critical areas, such as wetlands; improve water quality; improve natural hazards response; improve information and data availability; and conduct public education and outreach activities.

What was the key factor in your career decision? 

I've always loved learning about and exploring the ocean, so I followed my passion into this field. Thus far, the hardest decision to make was whether to go into research or policy-based resource management. I believed I could have a greater impact using my knowledge and understanding of science to better inform the decision-making process to protect the resource I value the most: the ocean.

What do like most about your career? 

I enjoy working and collaborating with people who are also engaged and enthusiastic about protecting and conserving our natural resources for future generations. I also enjoy seeing the on the ground implementation of projects done by our agency and partners.

What do you like least about your career? 

Change in the policy arena takes time, so work efforts are not often realized until further down the line. I would like to have a better balance between desk work and being out in the field learning about and observing our project work.

What do you do to relax? 

I love outdoor activities such as scuba diving, swimming, exploring and photography. Traveling to new places, especially coastal areas, keeps me balanced and focused on the big picture.

Who are your heroes/heroines? 

My parents always fostered my passion for marine life and indulged my sense of adventure and travel. As far as a hero, I think, like most young people looking into this field, it would be Dr. Sylvia Earle and her relentless pursuit to explore, protect and teach us all she has learned about the ocean.

What advice would you give a student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field? 

Find work in something you are passionate about and take a chance when opportunities present themselves, as you may be surprised where you end up.

Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why? 

Careers in federal and state government are not increasing due to financial constraints, however, careers in the private sector related to sustainability and engineering appear to be increasing as we look to address future problems, such as climate change and water resource issues.

What will you be doing 10 years from today? 

Continuing my work on coastal and ocean issues to provide better planning and resource management. Doing more traveling along the way would be good, too.