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Summary Roster by Seat: Click Here

Amanda Allen

SAC Position: Education
Member Since: 9/24/2010

Amanda Allen is an ocean lover, a new mom, and the Director of the Ty Warner Sea Center, a facility of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (SBMNH). In this position, Allen is responsible for the vision and management of the Sea Center campus and serves as a member of the Museum management team. Currently she is a member of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, the Southern California Marine Science Center Collaborative, and the Stearns Wharf Merchants Association. Allen joined the Sea Center after owning and operating Ocean Adventures, an ocean lifestyle company known for its beach day camps for children. Earlier, she served at the Waikiki Aquarium as the manager of visitor services and then as their membership and events manager. Before she pursued her true love of ocean education, she was the Director of The Princeton Review overseeing the central coast franchise area. Allen completed her degree in Anthropology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, field research in the Solomon Islands, and Master’s degree in Business Administration at California State University, Channel Islands.

Capt. David Bacon

SAC Position: Recreational Fishing
Member Since: 3/22/2006

Capt. David Bacon is a US Coast Guard licensed sea captain, the owner/operator of WaveWalker Charters in Santa Barbara, owner of Hook, Line & Sinker bait & tackle in Santa Barbara, as well as the Executive Director of SOFTIN, Inc. (an NPO serving disabled, impaired, victims of abuse, elderly, youth). Capt. David Bacon is also an accomplished writer and is employed as Senior Editor of the Pacific Coast Sportfishing magazine, Staff Writer for Western Outdoor News, and as a Columnist for Noozhawk on-line news service and the U.S. Power Squadrons newsletter Signal Hoist.

Bacon is a Member of the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) Advisory Council, the CINMS socioeconomic workgroup, and NOAA’s California Action Team. He is a seminar speaker for the Fred Hall Fishing Shows and lecturer for fishing clubs and civic organizations. His extensive experience lends to his work as a collaborative marine research/outreach consultant.

Capt. David Bacon previously worked as a Columnist for Fishing & Hunting News, and as the Marine Electronics Editor for Sport Fishing magazine. He was the Director of Technical Operations for AT&T, Inc. as well as President, CEO of Sea Cubed, Inc.

Paige Berube

SAC Position: California Department of Natural Resources (alternate)
Member Since: January 2016

Paige Berube joined the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) in January 2016. She is currently the OPC Program manager; her work focuses on California state fisheries management. She began working with the OPC as a Sea Grant Fellow focusing on climate change policy, including sea level rise and ocean acidification and hypoxia. Before the OPC, Paige worked as a Research Fellow with the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UC Santa Barbara, where she served as the Lead Consultant on a markets project to facilitate the sustainable management of small-scale fisheries in the developing tropics. Paige earned her master’s in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience from Boston College. Working with NOAA and The Nature Conservancy, her master’s thesis group project evaluated management scenarios in the California commercial swordfish fishery, focusing on balancing conservation and economic goals through a global lens. She enjoys going on ocean swims, playing soccer, and cooking up fresh fish tacos.

Dianne Black

SAC Position: Santa Barbara County
Member Since: 12/11/1998

Ms. Black has worked for the County of Santa Barbarasince 1984 in a variety of planning positions, including Manager of the Energy Division and Assistant Director of Planning and Development, providing her a broad background in the field. Ms. Black currently serves as Assistant Director of the Planning and Development Department of Santa Barbara County. Ms. Black holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UCSB and completed coursework for a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is also an avid diver.

Richard Block

SAC Position: Public At-large (alternate)
Member Since: 7/20/2012

Rich assumed the position of CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo in July 1998. In this capacity he provides direction for the development of the Zoo and works with key staff and volunteers to ensure that future needs are met. Prior to moving to Santa Barbara, Rich was the Vice President for Scientific & Program Development at the Indianapolis Zoo. For seven years Rich served as director of public programs and as a senior fellow for World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC.

Rich's career includes experience as curator of public relations at the Kansas City Zoo, curator of education at Zoo Atlanta, and faculty member in the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources & Environment. Rich has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad about wildlife conservation and the need for individual action. He has served as a technical adviser to writers and publishers of books, films and CD-ROMs on endangered wildlife, rain forests, and giant pandas.

Rich holds a B.S. degree in environmental studies from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois and an M.S. degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Rich lives in Goleta with his wife, Tracy Pfautch, and his 13-year-old son, Carter, who is a seventh grader at La Colina Junior High School.

Errin Briggs

SAC Position: SAC Positon: Santa Barbara County (alternate)

Errin Briggs has served the Santa Barbara community for over 12 years working as a planner for the County of Santa Barbara. He has served in numerous positions during this time and is now a supervising planner in the Energy & Minerals Division where he oversees the permitting of oil and gas and mining-related projects. Errin attended the University of California Santa Barbara where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. Errin spends a significant portion of his free time in the ocean and is an avid diver, surfer, and spear fisherman. Errin has dove the waters of each of the eight Channel Islands, as well as Tanner and Cortez Banks. You can often find him diving with friends on the backside of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands searching for the area’s most desired fish.

Maria Brown

SAC Position: Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (non-voting)
Member Since: 12/11/1998

Maria Brown is Superintendent of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Maria helped found the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association and established the first marine sanctuary visitor center, directed a lecture series, organized an educational sanctuary high school program, and managed the internationally recognized Beach Watch volunteer program. Maria has a background in urban and environmental policy, conservation and resource studies, and environmental law.

Julia Coates

SAC Position: CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Michael Cohen

SAC Position: Business
Member Since: 7/20/2012

Owner/Director Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Michael has operated the Santa Barbara Adventure Company since 1998 with the goal of offering local adventures of the highest quality led by incredible guides. In his24 years of outdoor leadership experience, Michael has worked as a guide, outdoor educator and trip leader for several well-known outfitters in the west and abroad. Santa Barbara Adventure Company is committed to environmental education and protection of the National Marine Sanctuary. Michael runs sea cave kayaking tours at Channel Islands National Park, as an NPS permitted outfitter.

Michael is a leader in the tourism community of Santa Barbara.He serves on the board of directors for the Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau, using this platform to promote environmentally sound tourism and protection of the National Marine Sanctuary.

Michael’s past leadership experience includes working as a river guide and trip leader in many of the western United States’ most loved sections of river.These sections include Idaho’s Middle Fork and Main Salmon, American, Tuolumne, and Rogue. He rowed baggage on the Grand Canyon, enjoyed leading multiday self-supported sea kayaking trips in Belize, and spent two winters as a diving instructor and underwater videographer in the British Virgin Islands. Before opening the doors of his own business, he worked as a manager for one of California’s largest outdoor education outfitters. He has been educating youth and tourists about the Channel Islands and the Marine environment since 1996.p> “I have always believed that if we get our guests and students to love the marine environment, using interpretation and interesting facts, letting them taste, touch and really experience the place, they will make good choices and help protect it”.

Alicia Cordero

SAC Position: Chumash community (alternate)

Alicia Cordero is the First Nations Program Officer for Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation’s First Nations Ecological Conservation Alliance. She is a marine science educator in Wishtoyo’s Chumash Tribal Marine Protected Areas education program for Southern California K-12 schools and Wishtoyo’s Intertribal Cultural and Marine Science Summer Field Study for college bound Indigenous youth. She is co-instructor for Wishtoyo’s UCANR California Naturalist Certification Program which focuses on co-management and capacity building in California’s Coastal Native Nations. As co-chair of the CINMS Chumash Community Working Group and the independent Chumash Community Coalition, she works to bring the intertribal Chumash community together to discuss upcoming projects, issues, and events happening within Chumash ancestral lands and waters.

Alicia has a BA in Biology from UC Santa Cruz (with an emphasis in Conservation Biology) and an MA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley (with an emphasis in Evolutionary Biology). As an undergraduate, while interning at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, she described two new species of land snails. As part of the UC Molecular Phylogeny Lab, she used mitochondrial DNA to reconstruction of the evolutionary relationships among several species of California land snails. Her museum experience includes education and outreach for the UC Museum of Paleontology and working as a curatorial assistant in the Invertebrate Zoology and Geology department at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. She has conducted field work on wildlife corridors in California and the Pacific Northwest. And in Argentina she worked with Centro Nacional Patigonico studying Southern sea lion recovery: population surveys, observing mating and parental behavior, and sea lion skeletal excavation to determine the population classes impacted by the historic fur trade.

Alicia comes from a big, loving Chumash family in Santa Barbara whose ancestral villages are Syuxtun (Santa Barbara) and Swaxil (Scorpion Anchorage) on Santa Cruz Island (Limuw). She is an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation and has additional indigenous coastal California ancestry: Ramaytush Ohlone from the Aramai village of Timigtac (Pacifica), Bay Miwok (Moraga), and Cochimi (Loreto).

Jenn Eckerle

SAC Position: California Department of Natural Resources

Jenn Eckerle is the Deputy Director of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC). She is responsible for supervising staff and helping set the strategic priorities for coast and ocean policy in California. Before joining OPC, Jenn spent eight years as an ocean policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she conducted technical analysis and developed policy recommendations to advance ocean conservation related to marine protected areas, fisheries, marine debris, desalination, underwater noise, oil drilling, and aquaculture. Jenn earned an M.S. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Vermont

Jonna Engel

SAC Position: California Coastal Commission
Member Since: 1/20/2012

Dr. Jonna Engel is an ecologist with the California Coastal Commission; she has held this position since 2006. Jonna, along with Dr. John Dixon, review and provide technical assistance for all projects within the coastal zone that involve marine and terrestrial natural resource issues.

Jonna earned her doctorate through the UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department in June 2004. Her dissertation research was a study of the influence of pleistocene ice age history, biogeography, and micro-evolutionary and ecological processes in shaping population genetic structure of the California sea mussel, Mytilus californianus. Jonna also holds a Master's of Marine Science degree from Moss Landing Marine Labs where she examined the impacts of commercial trawling on a benthic community within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Prior to working for the Commission, Jonna was a contract employee with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary working on marine protected areas, a review of West Coast Sanctuary’s research programs, and linking research and education. She also taught Island Biogeography for USC. Before attending graduate school, Jonna worked for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, The Nature Conservancy, and Island Packers Company (Channel Islands National Park concessionaire). As an undergraduate, Jonna attended UCSB and graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical geography.

Russell Galipeau

SAC Position: National Park Service
Member Since: 5/16/2013

Russell Galipeau is a native of St. Augustine, Fla. and has a degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida. He was previously in charge of resources management at Yosemite National Park, where he coordinated programs overseeing biological, botanical and cultural elements. Russell is now Superintendent of Channel Islands National Park.

Phyllis Grifman

SAC Position: Public At-large
Member Since: 1/21/2005

Phyllis Grifman is Associate Director of the Sea Grant Program at the University of Southern California. Her background in marine and environmental policy underscores work administering marine science research and outreach programs. Her responsibilities include improving public awareness of coastal and marine issues at local, state and national levels. Phyllis received her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her major interests include marine policy development and implementation, and public education.

Phyllis has a long-standing interest in the Channel Islands. While at UCSB, she participated in conflict resolution efforts related to fishing, oil development, and marine mammal interactions. A lifelong boater, she has had the opportunity to both work and spend recreational time at the islands off California and has a deep appreciation for the rich resources of both the land and waters.

At USC, Phyllis manages Sea Grant’s research initiatives, including soliciting and funding research projects and outreach efforts to local and regional authorities. She has worked with sanitation authorities on research pertaining to impacts of disposal on coastal waters, and with the research community and municipalities on impacts of storm water runoff on nearshore coastal environments. She has expanded the program on coastal natural hazards, including impacts on local communities of coastal erosion, storm impacts, and sea level rise.

Phyllis has a continuing interest and commitment to increasing educational opportunities in environmental science and policy, particularly at K-12 and informal levels. She helped to create Island Explorers, a marine science curriculum program, a parent-child educational program in environmental science, which includes community learning components, and summer science programs for middle school and high school women at Catalina Island. USC Sea Grant educational program include several electronic components, worldwide web interfaces, online curriculum materials and distance learning courses for educators.

Karen F. Grimmer

SAC Position: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (non-voting)
Member Since: 1/20/2006

picture of Karen Grimmer

Karen received her bachelor's degree in biology from San Francisco State University and her master's degree in education from California State University, Hayward. She was appointed as acting Resource Protection Coordinator in October 2012. Prior to this, she served as Deputy Superintendent from 2007 to 2012 and has worked at the Sanctuary in a variety of positions since 1999.

CDR Lushan Hannah

SAC Position: U.S. Coast Guard

Commander Lushan Hannah is currently assigned to Sector Los Angeles - Long Beach. He assumed the duties of Chief of the Incident Management Division (IMD) in July 2016 and Chief of the Response Department in June 2017. CDR Hannah manages three multi-mission small boat stations, four coastal patrol boats, a law enforcement team and pollution response team; responsible for Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Pollution Response and Port Security Operations in an area of responsibility covering more than 350 miles of environmentally sensitive California coastline, ocean waters out to 200 miles offshore, including National Parks, Marine Sanctuaries and the nation's largest and most economically vital port complex.

CDR Hannah was commissioned through Officer Candidate School after receiving his bachelor’s degree in General Science from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He began his career aboard the Coast Guard Cutter TAMPA out of Portsmouth, Virginia as a Student Engineer and Damage Control Assistant. In 2002, he was assigned to Sector Los Angeles - Long Beach as a Marine Inspector and Contingency Planning Officer. In 2007, he was assigned to the Health, Safety, Work-life (HSWL) Service Center as the Safety and Environmental Health Officer for District 11, Southern California; where he provided risk assessments and safety assistance to 33 units in three states. In 2011, he reported to Sector New Orleans as Chief of the Incident Management Division, where he led a team of 14 personnel that successfully managed 31 Federal oil, hazardous substance and disaster projects totaling $26.5 million. Before reporting to Sector Los Angeles - Long Beach, CDR Hannah served as the Coast Guard’s Military Aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating military logistics support for Vice Presidential travel, including transportation, communications, and medical requirements. He also coordinated nuclear command and control contingency plans, and served as a liaison to the Vice President's National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff during Vice Presidential travel.

CDR Hannah holds a Master of Science in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland - University College, a Master of Public Health in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Michigan and Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Greg Helms

SAC Position: Conservation (alternate)
Member Since: 4/19/2000

Greg Helms works on fisheries, ecosystem protection and marine protected areas for Ocean Conservancy. A lifelong passion for water sports such as surfing and diving on both US coasts helped form Greg’s strong ocean conservation ethic. These two commitments result in terribly kinked phone cords and not-quite dry wetsuits around Ocean Conservancy’s Santa Barbara field office.Greg received a bachelor’s degree in political science and public policy from UC Santa Barbara, and served as Community Affairs Director for Environmental Defense Center prior to joining Ocean Conservancy.

Kristen Hislop

SAC Position: Conservation

Kristen Hislop is the Marine Conservation Program Director at the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and also works with Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program as a consulting researcher. Prior to her position with EDC, Kristen was a coastal program analyst for the California Coastal Commission and spent a year with CINMS as a California Sea Grant State Fellow. Her role on the SAC and at EDC has re-engaged her in projects she started working on during her fellowship, including efforts to reduce the risk of ship strikes on endangered whales and the many facets of MPA implementation. Kristen is a co-chair of the Santa Barbara Channel Marine Protected Area (MPA) Collaborative and, as the Conservation member on the SAC, she is also the chair of the Conservation Working Group.

Kristen earned her BA in geography from UCSB and her Master of Environmental Science and Management (MESM), with emphasis in coastal and marine resources management, from the Bren School at UCSB. Kristen takes every opportunity to get out to the Channel Islands and is often hiking our local trails, surfing, paddling along the coast, or heading out of town to get back to her Northern California roots by skiing and exploring the Sierra Nevada.

John Hoadley

SAC Position: Commercial Fishing (Alternate)

Brian Johnson

SAC Position: Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (non-voting)
Member Since: 9/22/2008

Capt. Eric Kett

SAC Position: Public At-large
Member Since: 2/11/2002

Jumping into the unknown is how Eric Kett, a diver and recreational fisher, describes the thrill of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. “You never know what you are going to see, this creature or that,” he says. “We all have a sense of adventure, and diving rewards that sense so immediately and so overwhelmingly.”

Kett’s close relationship with the sanctuary was built over thousands of scuba diving trips he helped lead, first as a deck hand, then as a licensed boat captain for 10 years. When he started a family, he decided that the demanding schedule didn’t fit the kind of family life he desired. So, in 2000, Kett gave up commercial boating.

But, with 20 years of experience at the Channel Islands sanctuary, Kett stays connected by serving on its advisory council, representing recreational divers. He’s also maintained his captain’s license and periodically hosts diving and fishing trips to the sanctuary. “I’ve grown up there in so many ways — spiritually, physically, emotionally,” he says, “and I continue to be in awe of the beauty above and below the waterline. Every trip is a new experience; it’s pretty rare to have two days alike. I love it!"

Tony Knight

SAC Position: Non-Consumptive Recreation Alternate

Capt. James Kipling “Kip” Louttit

SAC Position: Business (alternate)
Member Since: 5/17/2013

Capt. James Kipling “Kip” Louttit was appointed as the Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California in January 2013. A graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, he served the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for 30 years prior to retiring with the rank of Captain. Captain Louttit’s experience includes 10 years at sea in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Bering, Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. He had six years in command of three different Coast Guard cutters and two years as commanding officer of USCG Integrated Support Command in San Pedro.

Captain Louttit was a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and holds Masters Degrees from MIT and Golden Gate University. He is an avid and active sailor with extensive experience in off-shore races, and has been invited to speak at seminars on safety at sea and ocean cruising. He has served as an assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, and enjoys leading Scouts on outdoor camping/hiking/biking/canoeing events and community service activities.

Captain Louttit leads a staff of 20 civilians, and a USCG contingent of eight, with an annual budget of $2.4 million. The Marine Exchange of Southern California, a non-profit organization first established in 1923, is unique among the nation’s Vessel Traffic Services in having a public/private partnership with the USCG. It has evolved into one of the world’s foremost organizations of its kind, and utilizes state-of-the-art electronic and computer technology in serving the Southern California region.

Merit McCrea

SAC Position: Recreational Fishing (alternate)
Member Since: 3/16/2004

Merit McCrea is a Berkeley native, transplanted to Santa Barbara in 1975. He attended Berkeley High and Santa Barbara High Schools. He is an avid fisherman and worked on sport fishing boats both in Berkeley and then Santa Barbara harbors during his high school years, earning his captain’s license soon after graduating. As a nineteen year-old, when confronted with a choice between higher education and exploring the waters of the Bight at the helm he chose the latter. After operating several passenger carrying vessels in the 50 to 90 foot class he became a vessel owner of the 55 footSeahawk, out of Santa Barbara’s Sea Landing. This initial vessel was followed by another larger vesselSeahawk LXV.

In 2001 he finally returned to school and completed an undergraduate degree at our own UCSB. Academic honors earned include the Profant Scholarship at Santa Barbara City College Biology Department and Distinction in the Major for Aquatic Biology at UCSB. He is also a California Sea Grant Trainee-ship recipient. He participated in the planning process for Marine Protected Areas both within the CINMS and the subsequent Bight-wide process. Other notable maritime experience includes deep water manned submersible work where he served as the scientific observer collecting data on fishes observed in depths of 120 to 1,000 feet. He surveyed both at natural reefs and oil platform jackets. He participates in similar scuba based data collection efforts in waters less than 130 feet. He has fished commercially using gill nets for white seabass, lift-pole (jack-pole) for albacore tuna, hook and line for rockfishes and other fishes. He worked with the Dr. Chis Lowe Lab of California State University at Long Beach. These efforts focused on the transponder tagging of rockfishes and collecting received data. Other marine ecosystems that he has had the opportunity to explore include both east and west coasts of Costa Rica, Paranagua Brazil (Curitiba), and both Cortez and Pacific sides of the Baja California peninsula. He has a primary interest in the ecological function of anthropogenic reef structures.

He currently works with the Dr. Milton Love lab at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute and still maintains his Merchant Marine Officer status as Master. He is still an avid angler and pilots the local passenger fishing and whale watching vessels from time to time. He serves as the new Saltwater Editor for Western Outdoor News (WON) southern edition, a weekly outdoors paper with a wide distribution. WON has been in print since 1952. He has a daughter, Hunter. Her photo adorns the CINMS informational placements at both the Santa Barbara and Channel Islands harbors where she can be seen proudly displaying a squirming mackerel.

Paul Michel

SAC Position: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (non-voting)
Member Since: 5/18/2007

Paul Michel

Paul Michel has a B.A. from the University of Tennessee and a M.P.A. from Georgia State University. He worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco before coming to the National Marine Sanctuary Program in April 2007. He is a nationally-recognized leader in wetlands, coastal, and ocean management and protection issues.

Andrea Mills

SAC Position: Tourism
Member Since: 3/22/2006

A visit to the tide pools during a fifth grade field trip inspired in Andrea a permanent interest in the marine environment. After receiving a degree in marine biology, Andrea worked in the deep sea vent lab at UCSB and later in the Invertebrate Zoology Department at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Hoping to instill in the next generation the same passion for the marine environment that educators gave to her at such a young age, she returned to school to earn a multiple subject teaching credential. She transferred to the Education Department at the Museum for several years before moving to her current position as the Education Coordinator for Island Packers, a concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park. Island Packers transports over 70,000 visitors to the Park and National Marine Sanctuary every year, including more than 8,000 school children who participate in educational programs as part of their tour. Andrea also volunteers as a diver for the National Park’s “Channel Islands Live,” broadcasting educational programming from underwater.

Chris Mobley

SAC Position: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (non-voting)
Member Since: 10/1/2002

photo - Chris Mobley

Chris has been sanctuary superintendent since the Fall of 2002. He began his NOAA career in 1987 as a commissioned officer in the NOAA corps, serving aboard the NOAA ship Malcom Baldrigeas deck officer, working diver, and shipboard computer manager. He then worked for ten years in NOAA Fisheries' Santa Rosa, California field office, focusing on the conservation and restoration of marine and freshwater fish habitat.

As Pacific Salmon Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chris worked on policy, funding, and administration of Pacific salmon recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act. During his career, Chris has had extensive experience in building partnerships and collaborating with state and federal agencies, local government, tribes, businesses, non-profit organizations and user groups, often on highly controversial and contentious issues. Chris has a B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College, an M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from Sonoma State University.

Stephanie Mutz

SAC Position: Commercial Fishing (alternate)
Member Since: 3/18/2011

I have two fundamental commitments to the local marine resources: I am a commercial fisherman of seven years working out of Santa Barbara, and a biology adjunct professor at Ventura Community College. I operate my own boat and fish predominantly for urchins and snails. I also trap fish, rock crab, spiny lobster and Santa Barbara spot prawns. I strive to keep the seafood close to Santa Barbara by selling directly to the community. My main goal is to link the relationship with the harvesters to the community with the food they eat.

I also hold a number of positions on various advisory and executive boards. I’m the co-founder of Santa Barbara’s first and only Community Supported Fishery (CSF), Community Seafood. Details can be found here: I am president of the local fisherman’s association, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara (CFSB-, which integrates regional efforts of fishing communities with the aim of improving the economic and biological sustainability of fisheries. I’m the Secretary of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA- a trade association of commercial fishermen on the west coast that have been leading the industry in assuring the rights of individual fishermen and fighting for the long-term survival of commercial fishing as a productive livelihood and way of life.

I’m a commercial fisherman advisor of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council ( which plays a vital role in the decisions affecting the Sanctuary, bringing valuable community advice and expertise to the task of assuring effective sanctuary management. I’m a commercial fisherman advisor of the California Sustainable Seafood Initiative which requires the Ocean Protection Council to develop and implement a voluntary seafood promotion program for California fisheries. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from UCSB, and received my Masters of Science degree at the School of Marine and Tropical Biology at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. I see a better future in fishing than I do in the higher education system.

Ben Pitterle

SAC Position: Non-Consumptive Recreation

Cliff Rodrigues

SAC Position: Education (alternate)
Member Since: 7/18/2014

cliff rodrigues

Cliff Rodrigues was born in Santa Barbara and has lived in Ventura since the early sixties. He has a BA from San José State and a Masters from USC.  He is a retired educator who worked in the Ventura County Office of Education as the Director of Bilingual Education and Technology. Ever since his office became involved in 2002 with the Jason XIV Project, From Shore to Sea, which brought scientists, teachers and students to the Channel Islands and the Sanctuary, he has been actively involved with the Channel Islands. He assisted with the Argonaut Program for Ventura and Santa Barbara students and is still involved working with the MERITO program. In 2011 he became a Naturalist leading hikes on Santa Cruz Island, doing whale watches and participating in outreach events. In addition to his volunteer work as a Naturalist, he teaches Spanish for the Ventura Adult Education program and is a supervisor of student teachers for Loyola Marymount University.

Walt Schobel

SAC Position: Department of Defense (alternate)
Member Since: 6/19/2001

Walter Schobel is the Chief of the Airspace and Offshore Management Section at Vandenberg AFB. His responsibilities include ensuring that notifications are sent to agencies, airmen and mariners to remain clear of areas being used for aerospace operations conducted from Vandenberg AFB. The Section is also responsible for approving aircraft overflights of restricted airspace and vessels transiting or stopping in Vandenberg's Danger Zone 4. He has been a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council since 2001.

Donna M. Schroder

SAC Position: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Member Since: 1/25/2008

An explorer of the Pacific for more than 20 years, Donna has made over 1000 scuba dives and over 100 submersible dives investigating marine habitats and populations. She has been a BOEM scientist and analyst since 2007, with expertise in fishes, fisheries, and marine habitats. Her research interests focus on offshore energy, marine population dynamics, seafloor mapping, artificial reefs, effects of contaminants (DDT, heavy metals, and PAHs) on marine species, and marine policy. Donna believes that partnerships make effective marine governance possible, and has collaborated extensively with the National Marine Sanctuary Program, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, Department of State, and many universities, non-governmental organizations and industry stakeholders.

Mark Steele

SAC Position: Research (alternate)
Member Since: 1/23/2009

Dr. Mark Steele is an Associate Professor at California State University Northridge, where his research focuses on the ecology of marine and estuarine fishes and he teaches classes in marine ecology, fish biology, and statistics. He has conducted research on fishes in the Channel Islands (Santa Catalina) since 1988. He has also worked on reef fishes in the Bahamas, French Polynesia, and Mexico.Dr. Steele has done nearly 3000 scuba dives, mostly for research, but he also enjoys freediving and spearfishing around the Channel Islands in his spare time.Dr. Steele earned his PhD at UC Santa Barbara and his BA from UC San Diego.He worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCLA, a Research Assistant Professor at University of Rhode Island, and a Research Biologist at UC Santa Barbara before joining the faculty at California State University Northridge.

Danielle Tarr

SAC Position: Ventura County

Molly Troup

SAC Position: CA Coastal Commission Alternate

John Ugoretz

SAC Position: CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (alternate)
Member Since: 1/17/2003

John Ugoretz has worked on California marine policy and management issues for the past twenty years. John is presently a United States Navy Marine Biologist working at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Pt. Mugu Sea Range. John's duties include oversight of marine mammal monitoring and marine ecosystem management at San Nicolas Island. He helps support and coordinate a variety of intertidal and marine research conducted on the island and surrounding waters. John is also a NAVAIR representative for marine spatial planning issues and regulatory and other issues that might impact Navy operations on the Sea Range. In his free time, John is an avid SCUBA diver and sailor.

Luhui’Isha Waiya

SAC Position: Chumash Community
Member Since: 9/24/2004

Luhui Isha is a tribal member of the Barbareño Chumash Council. She began her work at Wishtoyo’s Chumash Village in July of 2008 as the Cultural Resources & Education Director and has since established five programs: Wishtoyo’s Šmuwič Language School, Tribal Wave Youth Camp, Chumash Marine Stewardship Education Program, Chumash Basketry Preservation Program, Women’s Spiritual Wellness Center and International Indigenous Gathering of Spiritual Leaders and Traditional Doctors from the Pacific Islands, Amazonia and throughout Indian Country (USA). The need for traditional governance of the Village and its cultural programs was important and the Chumash Women’s Elders Council was formed in 2010 as a critically important addition to the effort in restoring, preserving, reviving, and protecting the ancient Chumash Village site at Nicholas Canyon and its cultural programs. Luhui is Co-founder of the Chumash Maritime Association in Santa Barbara in 1997 and participated in the building of the first Chumash community owned tomol (traditional canoe) which made its journey across the Santa Barbara Channel from the mainland to Limuw (Santa Cruz Island), September 9, 2001--the first time in over 150 years. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Barbareno Chumash Council from 2002 – 2006 and is the first Chumash Representative Seat on the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council 2004 -2008, 2011 to present. She also currently serves on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Selection Committee to developing a Community Advisory Group (CAG) for the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Clean up. Luhui has dedicated much of the past 20 years providing cultural and environmental education programs for local schools throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura & LA Counties, educating & advocating for underserved students and their families.

Robert Warner

SAC Position: Research
Member Since: 5/23/2001

Robert Warner is currently Research Professor of Marine Biology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Upon completion of a BA degree in Zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Warner received a Ph.D. degree (1973) from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UniversityofCalifornia,San Diego. After two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute inPanama, he joined the faculty at UC Santa Barbara, where he has served as Chair of the Departments of Biological Sciences and of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.

Judy Willens

SAC Position: Public At-Large (alternate)

photo of a cliff
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