Jess Drake

Environmental Regulation & Soil Scientist

Dr Jess Drake joined Murrang Earth Sciences in July 2018. Jess came to Murrang Earth Sciences for flexibility, to collaborate with people with similar values, and to work supporting others to protect and enhance their environment. Jess is committed to building a workplace she enjoys being in and being the type of person she likes to work with.

Jess is a self-confessed regulation nerd. Her 15+ year career in waste, soils and organic amendments has led her to develop a deep love of environmental regulation science. Jess doesn’t just work with regulation, she is fascinated by the science-policy nexus: how science can inform policy and regulatory decisions. Her work focuses on achieving the best possible technical and regulatory outcomes for environment, community, business and regulators through evidence and practical risk based approaches. Jess has worked for EPA Victoria, where she contributed to the PFAS NEMP, the new Victorian SEPP Waters, and waste to land research.


Jess has worked in research, NGOs, education, government and private sectors. She has technical expertise in soils including a PhD on soil rehabilitation, organic waste processing and use on land, agriculture, land management, systems thinking, chemicals in the environment and land rehabilitation/restoration. Jess also has a passion for education, communication, open and accessible science. Great science and problem solving is done through collaboration, listening and reflecting.

Selected publications:

Shackelford, N., Paterno, G.B., Winkler, D.E. .....Drake, J.... et al. (2021) Drivers of seedling establishment success in dryland restoration efforts. Nat Ecol Evol.

Drake, J. A. Patti, A.F, Whan, K, Jackson, W.R, Cavagnaro, T.R. (2018) Can we maintain productivity on broad acre dairy farms during early transition from mineral to compost fertilisation? Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 257, 12-19

Mikkonen, H. G, Dasika, R, Drake, J.A, Wallis, C. J, Clarke, B. O, Reichman, S. M. (2018) Evaluation of environmental and anthropogenic influences on ambient background metal and metalloid concentrations in soil. STOTEN, 624, 599-610


Drake, J. A, Carrucan, A, Jackson, W.R, Cavagnaro, T. R, Patti, A. F. (2015) Biochar application during reforestation alters species present and soil chemistry. STOTEN, 514, 359-365


Jessica A Drake, Timothy R Cavagnaro, Shaun C Cunningham, W. Roy Jackson, Antonio F. Patti (2015) Does biochar improve establishment of tree seedlings in saline sodic soils? Land Degradation and Development, 27:1, 52-59


Jessica Drake, Bennett Macdonald & Lorna Fitzsimons (2014) Precision of the Anion Exchange Membrane Phosphorus Technique When Using a Range of Low-Ionic Solutions in Analysis of Heterogeneous Mine Soils, Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 45:6, 829-843