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Sara Aminzadeh directs California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) initiatives to protect and defend California’s ocean, bays, and rivers, including CCKA’s Blue Business Council network. In 2017, Sara was appointed to the California Coastal Commission by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León. Sara developed CCKA’s climate change adaptation program, and authored a chapter Rising to the Challenge: California Climate Change Adaptation in the 2014 Oxford University textbook, Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law. In addition to work on programmatic initiatives, Sara works to cultivate an active, informed network of constituents by mobilizing partners through the use of web-based and social media tools. Sara gained an appreciation for thriving coastal ecosystems in Southern California, logging hours at the Santa Barbara Sea Center touch tanks, tracking endangered foxes on Santa Cruz Island, and removing non-native species from Goleta Slough. Sara holds a B.A. in environmental studies and political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Sean Bothwell works to implement statewide initiatives to enhance California’s water quality and supplies. Sean is the lead environmental advocate on the State Water Board’s key statewide policies, including the desalination policy, the trash policy, stormwater permitting, and water recycling. Sean leads CCKA’s legislative program by representing the organization in Sacramento at legislative hearings and committee expert panels and cultivating relationships with the Governor’s Office, legislative members, and legislative committee staff. Prior to joining CCKA, Sean provided legal expertise to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. While there, he co-authored “Climate Change and the Public Trust Doctrine: Using an Ancient Doctrine to Adapt to Rising Sea Levels in San Francisco Bay,” since published in the Golden Gate University Environmental Law Review. Sean is a Member of Restore Hetch Hetchy’s Board of Directors, an organization committed to returning Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural state. His student note on wave energy and desalination was awarded top honors by Vermont Law School. Sean holds a B.A. in criminal justice and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.
Natalie Caulk supports and manages the ongoing implementation of programs and partnerships of CCKA and its member Waterkeepers. She comes to CCKA with a passion for science advocacy and a background in marine and freshwater ecology. Prior to joining CCKA, Natalie was a program associate at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, where she supported the programmatic activities of the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative and helped to launch the Moore Inventor Fellows Program. During graduate school, Natalie studied the effects of climate warming on food availability within planktonic freshwater systems, and previously researched community composition of seagrass meadows in British Columbia and Bodega Bay, California. Natalie holds a B.S. in biological sciences with an emphasis on marine biology from the University of California, Davis and an M.S. in zoology from the University of British Columbia.
Kaitlyn Kalua works to track, analyze, and comment on legislation, policies, permits, regulations, and funding measures of importance to the California Waterkeepers. Kaitlyn comes to CCKA with experience in federal ocean policy, coastal climate adaptation planning, California surface and groundwater management, and drought response. Prior to joining CCKA, Kaitlyn worked with Ocean Conservancy’s coastal and marine spatial planning program, where she engaged in federal policy to reduce offshore user conflicts and strengthen regional ocean management programs. Kaitlyn later immersed herself in water resource management and conflict resolution at the state level by working with the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the State Water Resources Control Board, Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions, and Stanford Law School’s Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution. Kaitlyn most recently served as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Kaitlyn holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of California, Davis and a J.D. from the University of California, Davis, School of Law.
Executive Director & Channelkeeper, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
Kira Redmond is Executive Director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, whose mission is to protect and restore the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds through science-based advocacy, education, monitoring, and enforcement. Kira has worked in the environmental policy arena for 20 years at the international, national, state, and local levels. Prior to joining Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, she managed advocacy campaigns addressing pollution from commercial vessels and helped to get legislation passed prohibiting cruise ship dumping in California waters. Kira also worked as a senior writer and editor for the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin, reporting on United Nations environmental treaty negotiations. She holds a Masters in International Affairs and Environmental Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley.
Garry Brown is the Founder, Executive Director, and Chief Executive Officer of Orange County Coastkeeper (OCCK), an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving marine habitats and watersheds through education, advocacy, restoration, and enforcement. Undertaking numerous restoration and marine research projects, OCCK has built a reputation for generating good science and delivering projects on time with credible measurable results. As a native of Orange County, Mr. Brown has in-depth knowledge of marine and water runoff issues, as well as water supply issues. During his time at OCCK, he has published Coastkeeper Magazine and established the first Coastkeeper Garden, a 2 ½ acre water conservation/education facility. Prior to opening OCCK in March 1999, Mr. Brown served as an Assistant City Manager, an advocate and executive director of trade associations in the real estate and building industries, and twice as president of a chamber of commerce. In 2001 he founded the Orange County League of Conservation Voters. Mr. Brown graduated with a degree in Government from the University of Redlands and sits on the Board of Directors of eight state and local environmental organizations.
Executive Director and Riverkeeper, Russian Riverkeeper
Don McEnhill helped to create and launch the Russian Riverkeeper program, and has served as Riverkeeper and Executive Director since 2001 when the organization was officially launched as a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. Russian Riverkeeper carries out its work through their Advocate, Educate and Celebrate programs. Riverkeeper’s advocacy work includes ending excessive gravel mining of the river, calling attention to mercury pollution issues, and conducting numerous water quality studies such as Russian River First Flush and the current evaluation of water quality from vineyard operations. The Educate program focuses on building a more resilient watershed in the face of climate change, engaging local high school students in curriculum-based projects to turn polluted water into a usable resource and working with community volunteers on watershed restoration. The Celebrate program centers on fun events to build a community around the Russian River such as the Great Russian River Race, River Awards Gala, and watershed cleanups. Mr. McEnhill grew up on the Russian River as his father did before him and his main goal is to pass along a better river to his two children and the community. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University Sacramento, is a state certified water quality-monitoring trainer, and sits on the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission and County Open Space Advisory Committee.
Director, Humboldt Baykeeper
Jennifer Kalt is the Director of Humboldt Baykeeper. She is a botanist with over 15 years of conservation advocacy experience on the North Coast. She launched Humboldt Baykeeper’s Citizen Water Monitoring Program in 2005, became the Policy Director in 2011, and has been the Director since January 2014. She has become a local leader in environmental advocacy through watchdogging, water quality research, and grassroots organizing for coastal development and other projects with potential impacts to the Bay, its tributaries, and adjacent coastal waters.
Executive Director & Film Festival Director, Yuba Riverkeeper
After six years working for SYRCL as the Festival Director for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Melinda was promoted to Executive Director. Before her passion for environmental conservation brought her to the festival, she focused her career on saving iconic species like bears, wolves, and salmon in the American West. Starting her career at Defenders of Wildlife, she led campaigns to keep bears alive and wild in the Tahoe basin and helped with the reintroduction of the California condor into the wild. As Development Manager at the California Wolf Center, Melinda led education, conservation, and research efforts around the North American gray wolf and the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves to the Southwest. Her passion for wildlife drew her next to the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation where she served as Development Director, securing millions of dollars for their red panda habitat and an award-winning Native Predator exhibit featuring river otters, bald eagles, and salmon. Melinda holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, where she studied human-bear interactions in the wildland-urban interface. On a personal note, the Yuba River is central to Melinda’s everyday life. She and her husband purchased land overlooking the South Yuba. Not only is she professionally motivated to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed, she is personally invested as a Yuba River homeowner to do all she can as well.
Coastkeeper, San Diego Coastkeeper
Matt serves as Waterkeeper and Legal & Policy Director where he protects the waters of San Diego County by utilizing local, state, and national laws and regulations and community engagement. Prior to joining Coastkeeper, Matt practiced public-interest environmental and land-use law both through his own firm and with Wildlaw, a nonprofit law firm. Having represented a wide array of groups in the federal, state, and local arenas, Matt has worked on issues such as Clean Water Act and NPDES permits and enforcement, water supply, CEQA and NEPA, land-use and growth management, the Endangered Species Act, groundwater and soils remediation, and environmental justice, to name a few. Matt also serves as the Legal Committee Chair of California Coastkeeper Alliance. He is actively licensed to practice law in California, Florida, and Washington.
Waterkeeper, Los Angeles Waterkeeper
Bruce Reznik took the helm of Los Angeles Waterkeeper (LAW) in September 2015, where he directs the organization’s advocacy and programmatic work. Reznik previously spent eleven years running San Diego Coastkeeper, where the organization grew into the region’s most effective voice for clean water. Immediately prior to joining LAW, Bruce served as Executive Director for San Diego Housing Federation, where he promoted affordable housing and sustainable community development. He also previously led the Planning Conservation League, where he directed the organization’s efforts to promote sustainable water, land-use, and transportation policies for California. A California-licensed attorney, Reznik holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and his law degree from the University of San Diego. Reznik has served as an Alternate on the California Coastal Commission and has sat on numerous local, state, and national boards and commissions, including the international Waterkeeper Alliance for six years. After too many years away from Los Angeles, Bruce is thrilled to be back home with his rescue dogs, Sasha and Bandit.
Steve Shimek is the founder of Monterey Coastkeeper and also serves as executive director of The Otter Project. The mission of Monterey Coastkeeper is to protect and heal coastal resources of the Central Coast. Steve also serves on the US Fish and Wildlife Service Sea Otter Recovery Implementation Team and is Co-Chair of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) Conservation Working Group. He is a member of the MBNMS Advisory Council and serves on the Marine Protected Area Working Group. Working with many others, notable conservation achievements include a plan for large vessel (tanker and container ship) passage along the Central Coast passed by the United Nations in 2001 and the creation of a 200 square mile network of marine reserves and conservation areas in 2007. He regularly communicates with members of his two organizations, members of Congress, other NGOs, and State Legislators. Steve graduated in 1975 from UC Santa Cruz with a BS in biology with an emphasis on marine studies.