Sanctuary Advisory Council Members

2016 Advisory Council Members

Non-Government Members


Richard Charter

Richard Charter serves as Co-Chair of the National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Coalition, and he has been working for nearly three decades with local elected officials, Members of Congress, state legislators, and national and regional NGO conservation organizations to ensure continued protection for sensitive coastlines threatened by offshore oil and gas drilling. Through his work with the National Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, Richard has been responsible for developing and maintaining the twenty-five-year bipartisan congressional moratorium on offshore oil and gas leasing which currently prevents new drilling along the U.S. West Coast, the East Coast, and in Southwest Florida. Richard also coordinated the local government support which led to the creation of the Greater Farallones, Cordell Bank, Channel Islands, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries. Richard currently works on ocean protection issues throughout the Pacific Rim, including offshore oil and gas, ocean mining, carbon sequestration and the creation of marine protected areas to rebuild damaged fisheries and restore coastal ecosystems. He serves on the Department of Energy's Methane Hydrates Advisory Committee with a number of oil and gas companies who seek to mine seafloor deposits of frozen natural gas. Richard also holds a conservation seat on the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

Defenders of Wildlife
Bodega Bay, CA

Bruce Bowser

Bruce Bowser has dedicated much of his adult life to grassroots and environmental non-profit work. He is a semi retired commercial interior and graphic design professional. His design firm BCB&A completed large-scale retail and hospitality projects throughout the USA, in Europe and Japan.

A 10 year affiliation with the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Advisory Council has fulfilled a lifelong passion for Oceans Advocacy and Conservation work. Bruce trained as a docent for the GFNMS and California Academy of Sciences, Rocky Shore Partnership to protect Coastal Reef environments through interpretation and monitoring. In 2008 he chaired the GFNMS working group that developed the Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Project. He recently completed a 5 year role as surveyor in the GFNMS Marine Debris program.

Bruce and his wife Marlie de Swart moved to Bolinas, Coastal West Marin in 1992. They own the small “art to wear” retail shop Black Mountain Artisans in Point Reyes Station showcasing local artisans. Bruce spends his leisure time on home maintenance, gardening, Botanical drawing, reading and tide-pooling with visitors.

Bruce has a long association with the Sierra Club, the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), and the Environmental Forum of Marin, (EFM) Class XXV, he was Lead Trainer of Class XVII in 2000. He coordinated the EFM Oceans Day for six years informing 180+ students. Bruce is a past President of the Bolinas Community Land Trust (BCLT), providing workforce housing for over 20 people. The “Bolinas Station” project earned a 2006 award for excellence from the Marin Economic Commission.

Environmental Action Committee
Bolinas, CA

Francesca Koe

A dedicated champion for ocean conservation, Francesca was instrumental in designing marine protected areas for our north central coast study region as a primary stakeholder in the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. Francesca also played an important role in the creation of a diverse coalition campaign to protect sharks that ultimately succeeded in the passage of AB-376 (which bans the possession & sale of shark fins in California). A multi-agency SCUBA instructor (PADI MSDT #186082/ DAN #11837) and internationally known freediver (Safety Supervisor #1102 with Performance Freediving International) and AIDA judge, Francesca also serves as the Editor-at-Large for and the CMO of Gannet Dive Company. When she is not in the water, the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at NRDC, works to advance equity and the clean energy economy through a series of climate & energy related campaigns.
Twitter: @free_dive

Kathi (Koontz) George

Kathi George leads whale entanglement response and prevention at The Marine Mammal Center. As a Level 3 Co-Investigator on NOAA's Marine Mammal Health & Stranding Response Program's permit, she is permitted to respond to entangled whales. She has participated in in six whale disentanglements, numerous entangled whale responses, and over fifty sea lion disentanglements. Kathi is also a member of the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group where she represents the large whale entanglement response network. The multistakeholder Working Group shares perspectives, identifies and reviews data, and generates creative solutions to mitigating large whale entanglement and supporting healthy fisheries. Kathi is an avid diver, snorkeler, and advocate for marine wildlife. She has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and spends as much time as she can underwater and on boats in addition to enjoying California's coasts and mountains with her husband and son.


Bibit Traut

Bibit is a broadly trained biologist interested in the consequences and maintenance of biodiversity in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Her work is rooted in community ecology, but she draws upon landscape and ecosystem ecology as well. On the landscape scale, she has been interested in identifying the processes that maintain biodiversity and the effect of landscape context and habitat spatial configuration on community composition, especially in stressed and fragmented ecosystems. On the local scale, she has been concerned with understanding the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function. Part of her research has been motivated by seeking to understand these dynamics in order to conserve and restore habitats. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology from U.C. Davis and Masters degrees in Botany from Oregon State University and Marine Sciences from U.C. Santa Cruz. She completed a National Parks Ecological Research Fellowship at U.C. Berkeley before coming to City College of San Francisco in 2005. Her teaching experiences are not limited to the college classroom but also include interpreting the natural world across ages (preschoolers to elderhostelers) in a variety of settings. She loves to learn and find that this is translated into loving to teach too. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for the natural world with students, both in the classroom and the field.

City College of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Mary Miller

Mary Miller is program director for environmental science partnerships at the San Francisco Exploratorium and is responsible for leading multidisciplinary teams in creating innovative and engaging content about current scientific research for the museum's award-winning website, exhibits and public programs. She is also a livestream producer and program host, science writer, online media producer, and liaison to the scientific community on numerous education and outreach partnerships.

Mary is the director for a 10-year partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a 5-year partnership with UC Davis and facilitates collaborations between these organizations to develop visualizations, media narratives, and interpretations of ongoing environmental research, including climate change and ocean and atmospheric research.

In the Exploratorium's new waterfront location in San Francisco, Mary is leading the "Wired Pier" project to instrument Pier 15 with environmental sensors to gather and display water quality, weather, air quality and oceanographic data. She authors an Exploratorium blog and is co-author of the book Watching Weather (Henry Holt, 1998). She has won numerous Webby Awards for leading Exploratorium web projects and is a AAAS Fellow. Mary has a B.A. in biology and marine studies and a master's certificate in science communication from U.C. Santa Cruz. She developed the media production track and taught for 10 years at the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program.


John Largier

John Largier is a coastal oceanographer and UC Davis professor who works on bays, estuaries and coastal upwelling in California and other west-coast regions (e.g., Chile, South Africa, Mexico, Spain). His research, teaching and service address marine environmental issues through the study of water flow. Water motion transports plankton, nutrients, contaminants, heat, pathogens and more, linking a mosaic of habitats and human activities into a complex network of interactions. He was educated and started his career in South Africa, before moving to Scripps Institution (UC San Diego). In 2004 he joined Bodega Marine Laboratory (UC Davis). He has advised on marine protected areas, beach pollution, coastal zone management, climate change, mariculture, wastewater, nutrient pollution, ocean observing systems, marine mining and energy issues.

UC Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory
Bodega Bay, CA

Jaime Jahncke

Jaime Jahncke is the California Current Director at Point Blue. He received his B.S. in Biology from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru (1992) and his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California Irvine (2004). Jaime's doctorate research was conducted under the supervision of Dr. George L. Hunt Jr. studying how physical processes associated with coastal waters affect the abundance and distribution of marine birds in Peru and Alaska. Jaime's current research focuses on the spatial and temporal relationships between oceanographic processes, zooplankton, and marine birds and mammals in the region surrounding Cordell Bank and the Greater Farallones to better understand food web dynamics, identify predictable hotspots, and improve ocean zoning in support of Ecosystem Based Management in the region. He is the lead Principal Investigator for the Applied California Current Ecosystem Studies (ACCESS, ) Partnership between Point Blue, NOAA's Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries and several agencies and academic institutions. He currently participates on both Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries Sanctuary Advisory Councils (Primary for Cordell Bank and Alternate for Greater Farallones).

Point Blue
Petaluma, CA

Maritime Activities / Commercial

John Berge

John Berge is a vice president with the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), a regional trade association representing commercial shipping in California and Washington State. He has been involved in the maritime industry for over thirty years; currently focusing on regulatory and governmental affairs, with previous experience in commercial, operational and logistical aspects of international shipping. He is a state appointee to the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee and the State Oil Spill Technical Advisory Committee, advising on navigational safety and oil spill preparedness, prevention and response. John received a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Policy Analysis from the University of California - Davis. John is a lifetime resident of the Bay Area and lives in Corte Madera.


Pacific Merchant Shipping Association
Oakland, CA

Julian Rose

A Bay Area native, Julian graduated from Oceana High School in Pacifica overlooking the Gulf of the Farallones (when the fog lifted) and worked and lived aboard ships for much of his adult life. During a five-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy forward deployed to Japan he had the privilege of navigating the far reaches of the Western Pacific Ocean and strengthened a deep lifelong connection with the sea. After subsequently graduating from the California Maritime Academy with a B.S. in Marine Transportation and an unlimited tonnage U.S. Coast Guard license, Julian sailed commercially on various types of deepwater vessels, internationally and domestically. Once ashore he worked on passenger vessels in the Bay and as an Oil Spill Responder, prior to his current role as Port Captain for the Marathon Martinez Refinery. Julian is a member of the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee and is passionate about ocean conservation.

Maritime Activities / Recreation

Abby Mohan (Vice Chair)

Abby has been a sailing instructor, naturalist, and charter boat captain on San Francisco Bay and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary waters for the past 13 years. Abby carries a 100 ton license. She has sailed the west coast from Vancouver, Canada to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and dodged many crab pots along the way. Through her work with SF Bay Adventures and the Schooner Freda B, she has partnered with Point Blue as part of the Farallon Patrol, sailing scientists and their gear out to the Farallon islands. She has worked on charter boats, delivery boats, and safety support and film production boats on the waters of the sanctuary. Abby is passionate about protecting the marine environment and spends most of her personal and professional time exploring it. In addition to working on the water, Abby has a master’s in Marine Science from the Estuary & Ocean Science Center in Tiburon, CA, and works on shoreline-related climate change adaptation and mitigation projects with Silvestrum Climate Associates in San Francisco, CA. These projects focus on consequences from future sea level rise and climatic conditions on nearshore communities and habitats and finding adaption pathways to respond and protect them.

San Franscisco, CA
Twitter: @saltshenanigans

Joshua Russo

Josh is an avid freediver and spearo, very active in the dive community on the north coast. He is currently the president of the Watermen's Alliance, and on the Board of Directors of Sonoma County Abalone Network. He has been an active advocate for responsible hunting practices and protecting divers rights in our ocean. As a licensed guide and assistant SCUBA instructor Josh has been teaching abalone diving, spearfishing, and hunting ethics to new divers on the Northern California coast for over a decade.

Fairfield, CA

Commercial Fishing

Barbara Emley (Secretary)

Barbara started commercial fishing with her husband (Larry Collins) in 1985. She has fished for salmon, crab, albacore and rockfish using hook and line and traps.

Barbara represents commercial fishing on the GFNMS Advisory Council. She is also on the board of the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR); Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA); and on a committee for the California Salmon Council.

Barbara is the public Commissioner for California on the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC).

She and her husband worked together to form the San Francisco Community Fishing Association which just finished its second year of operation. She has two grown children and four grandchildren.

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association
San Francisco, CA

Sarah Bates

Community-at-Large San Francisco/San Mateo

Joe Fitting

Joe Fitting is the Deputy Director at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. After graduating from San Francisco State with a degree in Biology, he started at the Zoo in 1979. He has been instrumental in numerous conservation efforts at the Zoo, including the Conservation Garden, Earth Day celebrations and most recently, the Coastal Conservation Center, an interactive environmental education space focused on the coast and oceans. He has advocated tirelessly throughout his career for the 'wild places and wild things', both on the land and in the ocean.

Joe has lived in the Bay Area since (1968) and has been an enthusiastic sailor on the Bay throughout most of those years. He currently lives on the San Mateo coast with his wife and grown daughter. He also held a seat on the MidCoast Advisory Council to the San Mateo Board of Supervisors in the early 1990’s.

Kris Lannin Liang

Kris Lannin Liang is an advocate for marine mammals, with a special fondness for pinnipeds. She rescues and rehabilitates seals and sea lions in the Bay Area and is a University of California certified naturalist who uses her skills to educate the public about the marine mammals at Año Nuevo State Preserve and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (where she manages the Sealsitters program) and monitors harbor seals at both Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and Point Bonita (for Point Reyes National Seashore). Over the past five years, Kris has gained additional experience observing, monitoring, rescuing and rehabilitating seals and dolphins in the Netherlands, Ireland, Cambodia and Southeast Farallon Island. Kris works with San Mateo County Resource District to collect and record water samples for their First Flush and Snapshot Day events, is an Oiled Wildlife Care Network Emergency Responder and a certified Protected Species Observer (PSO).

Community-at-Large Marin

Dominique Richard (Chair)

A native of France, Dominique acquired the equivalent of a Bachelor in Mathematics and a dual Master in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in his native country. He also holds a master's degree in Acoustics from the Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an expert in system science, mathematical programming, numerical optimization, simulation and statistical analysis and has in depth experience in database management and data mining. Dominique also has a lifelong interest in continental philosophy which informs both his research and management style. With this expertise Dominique has developed a number of computer-based decision support systems in various fields ranging from manufacturing and distribution to music and education. Over the last decade Dominique has re-focused his interests and skills to the analysis of ecosystems to help better understand their complex dynamics. As such, he particularly values his involvement with the Greater Farallones National Marine sanctuary as a citizen scientist (Beach Watch and Marine Debris programs) and as Chair of its Advisory Council.


Greater Farallones Association, Beach Watch
Inverness, CA

George Clyde

George Clyde has a home on Tomales Bay in Marshall, California. He has chaired a SAC Working Group on identifying sensitive areas within the Sanctuary where low flying aircraft would be regulated, has served on Sanctuary stakeholder working groups regarding restoration of native oysters in Tomales Bay and the Tomales Bay Vessel Management Plan, has served as a Sanctuary Beach Watch volunteer and is a former member and Chair of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. George is an Associate Director of the Marin Resource Conservation District, an officer and director of the East Shore Planning Group and a member of the Tomales Bay Watershed Council. He had a leading role in forming a community septic system for Marshall shore-side properties, and he has participated in midnight surveys of spawning grunion at Dillon Beach and the Audubon Canyon Ranch winter bird counts on Tomales Bay. As a retired lawyer, George's passion for sailing led to professional engagements as legal and rules advisor for four America's Cup yacht racing teams. He is an enthusiastic, if not always successful, fisherman.

Marshall, CA

Community-at-Large Sonoma/Mendocino

Cea Higgins

Cea Higgins is the Executive Director of Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association. She chaired the Sediment Management Working Group for the Sanctuary and received volunteer of the year award for that role. She is the Policy and Volunteer Coordinator for the Sonoma Coast Surfrider Foundation, and works as a community organizer to educate and engage volunteers to preserve and protect marine ecosystems and the coastal environment. Cea works with local officials, agencies, businesses, community centers, non-profit groups, and schools to help organize ocean education events, beach cleanups, and a citizen based ocean water quality testing & marine debris task force. She has made a lifelong commitment to advocate for policies that reduce marine debris, promote ocean conservation, and foster responsible public access to our coastline. She is part of the working group that is establishing the Sonoma MPA Collaborative Implementation Project which promotes the benefits of Sonoma Coast Marine Protected Areas. She is a liaison for the Sonoma County Water Coalition which consists of 31 local and national environmental groups focused on water quality issues. Cea is also on the Sonoma Coast stranding crew for the Marine Mammal Center and performs evaluation, rescue, and release of marine mammals. She is an avid surfer who wants to give back to the ocean that brings her so much joy.

Cea received her BA in Education from the University of Virginia, her MS in Curriculum Design from the University of Wisconsin, and her JD from Concord Law School.



Nancy Trissel

Growing up next to the Pacific, the sea has always held Nancy's fascination. You'd regularly find her in the water, on the beach or just nearby where she could see it. With her BS Physics from UCSD, she worked in R&D and technical management in San Diego until she and her husband made a lifestyle change and moved north, ultimately settling on the north coast. She has resided in Anchor Bay for over 10 years, part of which time she served as ED of Redwood Coast Land Conservancy. When the opportunity to train for BeachWatch first came to Mendonoma in Fall 2014, she jumped at the chance. She is excited to represent her community on the GFNMS SAC and to increase her involvement with ocean conservation and education. When not in the garden or kitchen, she's running, hiking coastal trails or doing something fiber/textile-related, including working as a board member of Pacific Textile Arts. She and her husband fit in as much travel for nature and/or culture as they can arrange between BeachWatch surveys.



Ezra Bergson-Michelson

Owen Youngquist

Government Members

CA Department of Natural Resources

Mark Gold

Executive Director, Ocean Protection Council; Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy, California Natural Resources Agency

Michael Esgro

Marine Ecosystems Program Manager
Ocean Protection Council

National Marine Fisheries Service

Jennifer Boyce

Montrose Settlements Restoration Program Manager/NOAA Restoration Center

National Park Service

Craig Kenkel

Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, CA

Ben Becker, Ph.D.

Director and Marine Ecologist
Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Chris Barr

Deputy Complex Manager
Department of Interior Region 10: California Great Basin
San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Newark, CA

Gerry McChesney

Manager, Farallon National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Common Murre Restoration Project.
San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Newark, CA

U.S. Coast Guard

LTJG Christopher Bell

Coast Guard District Eleven, Response Enforcement


LT Lelea Lingo

Coast Guard District Eleven, Response Enforcement


SAC Coordinator

Alayne Chappell

Alayne Chappell coordinates the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Alayne's background is in communications, marine biology, and conservation advocacy. She received her undergraduate degree in journalism from San Francisco State University and master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research centered on translating science to sound policy and using effective communications strategies to further ocean conservation. She is a scientific diver, a shark enthusiast, and the proud owner of Oscar the dog. 

San Francisco, CA

Council Officers

Abby Mohan, Chair

Bibit Traut, Vice Chair

Barbara Emley, Secretary

Past Council Members

Elizabeth Babcock, Education Primary, 2014-2020

Kellyx Nelson, Community-at-Large SF/San Mateo Primary, 2014-2017

Christy Walker, Community-at-Large SF/San Mateo Alternate, 2014-2017

Oliver York, Youth (Alternate), 2015-2017

Jackie Dragon, Conservation (Primary) 2008-2016

Caleb Rosen, Youth (Primary) 2014-2016

August Howell, Youth (Alternate) 2014-2015

Peter Grenell, Maritime Activities Commercial (Alternate) 2002-2015

Bob Wilson, Conservation (Primary) 2002-2014

Mick Menigoz, Maritime Activities Recreational (Primary) 2002-2014

Richard Keuhn, Community-At-Large Marin/Sonoma (Alternate) 2010-2014

Tim Duff, Community-At-Large SF/San Mateo (Alternate) 2010-2014

Brenda Donald, Research (Alternate); Community-At-Large (Primary) 2002-2010

Doris Welch, Education (Alternate) 2008-2010

Jonathan Stern, Research (Alternate) 2008-2010

Pat Conroy, Community-At-Large (Alternate) 2008-2010

Marc Gorelnik, Maritime Activities(Alternate) 2008-2010

Erin Simmons Montgomery, Conservation (Alternate) 2007-2008

Webster Otis, Community-At-Large (Alternate) 2007-2008

Mark Dowie, Community-At-Large (Primary & Alternate) 2002-2006

James Kelley, Research (Primary) 2002-2006

Gwen Heistand, Education (Alternate) 2002-2005

Karen Reyna, Conservation (Alternate) 2002-2005

Harlan Henderson, Community-At-Large (Primary) 2002-2004