Jess Drake

Environmental Regulation & Soil Scientist | Director

Dr Jess Drake 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. Their work focuses on evidence-based decision-making and achieving positive outcomes for environment, community, business and regulators. Jess is dedicated to centering First Nations in caring for our planet, and is also interested in Environmental Justice, Rights of Nature, and regenerative/wellbeing economics.


Jess worked for EPA Victoria, where they contributed to the PFAS NEMP, science for water policy, and waste to land research. Jess now works with First Nations, regulators, business owners, government departments, land managers and many other organisations to navigate the intersections of science, knowledge, evidence, policy and regulation.


Jess originally started her career in soil science, and has a PhD on soil rehabilitation. They also have expertise in organic waste use on land, erosion, land management, systems thinking, 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.

Jess is a Certified Environmental Practitioner in Environmental Policy and Regulation, Soil Science and Environmental Science.

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