John Banks (left), the longtime Director of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Nation, is presented with a lifetime achievement award by Natural Resources Council of Maine CEO Lisa Pohlmann. Pohlmann announced her retirement by year's end. Credit: Courtesy Natural Resources Council of Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine — The head of a leading environmental advocacy group in Maine is stepping down at the end of the year, officials said Wednesday.

Lisa Pohlmann, who was the first woman to serve as CEO of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said it’s the right time to make a transition after serving 22 years — half as CEO — with the organization.

During her tenure, NRCM successfully backed a strict metal mining law, celebrated the completion of the Penobscot River Restoration Project and helped mobilize Mainers against tar sands oil.

NRCM also helped to lead the battle against a power line in western Maine aimed at bringing Canadian hydropower to the regional grid.

NRCM contended the project’s environmental gains were overstated and that it would harm western Maine’s woods — contrary to the opinion of the Conservation Law Foundation, which supports the project.

Leading the NRCM “for the past 11 years has been the most gratifying work of my professional life,” Pohlmann wrote in an email.

The board has begun the process of forming a search committee. More details are expected in coming weeks and months.