MPA Federal Advisory Committee Membership

Current Membership

The 20 MPA Federal Advisory Committee includes representatives from different geographic regions, including the Great Lakes and U.S. territories. They represent a wide variety of interests including resource management (state and tribal), natural and social sciences, industry (commercial and recreational fishing, oil and gas production, shipping and ports, and recreation and tourism) and conservation. For a press release announcing the most recent appointment to the MPA FAC, click here.


George J. Geiger (2009-2016)
Owner and Operator, "Chances Are" Charters
Sebastian, FL 32958

George Geiger is a retired US Army Officer who became actively involved with fisheries management and sustainability upon his post retirement return to Florida in 1987. George has served as Chairman of the Coastal Conservation Association Florida Government Relations Committee as well as Chairman of CCA Florida. George also served a 7 year term on the Indian River County Environmental Learning Center Board. George is currently in his final term of appointment to the South Atlantic Fisheries management Council where he served two years as Vice Chair and two years as Chairman. He currently operates a near and inshore guide service in Sebastian, Florida.


Della Scott-Ireton, Ph.D. (2009-2016)
Director, Northwest Region
Florida Public Archaeology Network
University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL 32591-2486

Dr Della Scott-Ireton graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and a Master's degree in Historical Archaeology. She also has a Master's in International Relations from Troy University, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Florida State University. Della is certified as a Scuba Instructor with the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). She worked with the Pensacola Shipwreck Survey, West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc., Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, and the government of the Cayman Islands before joining the Florida Public Archaeology Network (, where she serves as the Northwest Region Director. Della is an officer and elected board member of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology and is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. Della's research interests include public interpretation of maritime cultural resources, both on land and underwater, and training of avocationals in archaeological methods and practices.

Brian Baird (2014-2018)
Director, Ocean & Coastal Program
The Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay
San Francisco, CA  94949

Brian E. Baird is the Director of the Coast and Ocean Program at The Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. His program supports marine protected areas, sustainable seafood, efforts to rid the bay/ocean of plastic, and ways to adapt to climate change. He serves as co-chair of the Golden Gate Marine Protected Area Collaborative and leads the San Francisco-Sacramento chapter of the California Ocean Communicators Alliance. Brian was formally the Assistant Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency under Governors Brown, Schwarzenegger, Davis, and Wilson. He was appointed to the National Ocean Council' Governance Coordinating Committee, was designated an "Environmental Hero" by the NOAA, and received the Susan Snow-Cotter Award for Excellence in Ocean and Coastal Management.

Rick Bellavance (2014-2018)
Captain, Priority Fishing Charters
North Kingstown, RI  02852

Bio coming soon.

Mark Carr, Ph.D. (2014-2018)
Department of Ecology & Evolutional Biology
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA  95060

Dr. Mark Carr is a Professor of marine ecology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the ecology of coastal marine fishes and coastal marine ecosystems and informs a variety of topics in marine conservation and fisheries management ( He conducts research on the design and evaluation of marine protected areas (MPAs) and has published on both of these topics. For eight years, Mark served as Co-chair of the Science Advisory Team to California' Marine Life Protection Act, which culminated in the establishment of a network of marine protected areas the length of the coast of California. Mark is now the Co-chair of the Science Advisory Team to California' Ocean Protection Council. He is a founding principal investigator with the Partnership for interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program.

Gary Davis (2009-2016)
GEDavis & Associates
Westlake Village, VA 91361-1333

Gary E. Davis has studied nature and people since the 1950s as a scientist, aquanaut, and professional fisherman. He has explored California's giant kelp forests, Florida's Everglades, and tropical estuaries, coral reefs and ocean depths in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and Florida Keys. During 40+ years of scientific research in national parks, he realized that translating his science into clear compelling stories was as important as the discoveries themselves. With his wife, Dorothy, he now produces visual narratives and image galleries to better connect people to nature at

Martha Honey, Ph.D. (2014-2018)
Center for Responsible Travel
Washington, D.C.  20005

Dr. Martha Honey is co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), which is headquartered in Washington, DC. Over the last two decades, she has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers’ Philanthropy, cruise and resort tourism, and certification issues. Her books include Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Island Press, 1999 and 2008) and Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice (Island Press, 2002). She is currently writing a book on coastal and cruise tourism (Selling Sunshine, Island Press, 2015). Previously, Martha worked for 20 years as a journalist based in East Africa and Central America. She holds a Ph.D. in African history from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She was Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) from 2003 to 2006. Martha was profiled in Branded!, Michael Conroy' book on certification (New Society Publishers, 2007) and was named one of world' top 10 eco- and sustainable-travel “watchdogs” (CondeNast Traveler, 2008).

John Jensen, Ph.D. (2011-2016)
Research Associate Professor of History and Coastal/Maritime Heritage
Department of History
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02281 

Dr. John Odin Jensen has worked on and studied coasts and oceans for nearly four decades. He has conducted marine archaeology fieldwork across North America from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the shores of the Bering Sea. His marine education includes more than decade of commercial fishing in Alaska and graduate degrees in history, policy, and marine archaeology from Carnegie Mellon and East Carolina Universities historian. He is a historian of the 19th and 20th centuries and has published in the areas of, fisheries, maritime history, marine archaeology, public health and public history. John brings to the FAC an extensive professional background in cultural resource management, historic preservation, higher education, and public outreach. He is currently research associate professor of history and coastal/maritime heritage at the University of Rhode Island, where he co-directors the URI Applied History Lab. He is a charter member of MPA FAC Cultural Heritage Resources Working Group.

Stephen Kroll (2011-2016)
Great Lakes Divers & Sweetwater Charters
Rogers City, MI 49779

Steve Kroll is a retired High School Mathematics Teacher. Former dive shop owner (40+ years). Current owner/operator of a dive charter business, Sweetwater Charters, LLC. A member of the Advisory council and former chair of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Recipient of the volunteer of the year for the National Marine Sanctuaries Program.

Stephanie Madsen (2014-2018)
Executive Director
At Sea Processors Association
Juneau, AK  99801

Stephanie Madsen has been involved in Alaska fisheries since arriving in Alaska over forty years ago. She has lived in the fishery dependent communities of Cordova, Kodiak, Unalaska/Dutch Harbor and now Juneau so Stephanie understands first hand the importance of healthy, sustainable fisheries to thriving communities. Having served six years on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, four of those as Chair, she was involved in establishing the Arctic Fishery Management Plan, the Aleutian Islands Fisheries Ecosystem Plan and designing catch share type programs in several fisheries. Stephanie continues to serve the Council as member of the Ecosystem Committee. She also served as a Commissioner on the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission. Stephanie is the Executive Director of the At-Sea Processors Association.

Samantha Murray (2014-2018)
Samantha Murray Consulting, LLC
Portland, OR

Samantha Murray is the founder of a conservation-based consulting company, where she works with clients on issues related to water quality, ocean acidification and climate change. Before starting her own business, Samantha was the Pacific Program Director with Ocean Conservancy, where she collaborated with disparate interests for eight years to design and implement California's network of protected areas (MPAs), which now covers 16% of state waters. Most recently, she led efforts to ensure these MPAs were both fully appreciated by recreation and tourism audiences and adequately integrated into existing and future coastal and ocean management decisions. Samantha was also the Assistant Director of Conservation at the Audubon Society of Portland, where she helped launch a coalition to explore MPAs in Oregon. She has spoken at conferences around the world about best practices for MPA design and implementation, based on her experience in California and Oregon. Samantha is a diver, fisherwoman and surfer and holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, where she was awarded a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law.

Ryan Orgera, Ph.D. (2014-2018)
Legislative Representative
Coastal States Organization
Washington, D.C.  20001

Dr. Ryan Orgera works as the Coastal States Organization' Legislative Representative, and most recently served as a coastal resilience project manager with the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and the Urban Coast Institute of Monmouth University. Prior to working on the Jersey Shore, Ryan was a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. During his time with Senator Nelson, Ryan worked on coral conservation, invasive species, flood insurance, coastal management, and many other ocean policy issues. Ryan holds a B.A. and M.A. in Romance Languages from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in Geography from Louisiana State University. Ryan continues an active social science research agenda and is a specialist on the political and cultural history of ocean protection systems.

Jason Patlis (2011-2016)
President and CEO 
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Jason Patlis has more than 19 years of experience in law, policy, finance and management. Mr. Patlis currently serves as President and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, which is the non-profit partner to the nation's marine sanctuary system. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Patlis was Vice President and Managing Director for U.S. Government Relations at the World Wildlife Fund. He has worked on both sides of the Capitol, serving under Chairman Sherwood Boehlert as Deputy Staff Director for the House Science Committee, and serving under the late Senator John Chafee as Counsel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, handling fish and wildlife issues for the committee. Mr. Patlis spent more than five years in Indonesia, first as a Fulbright Senior Scholar conducting research on Indonesia's legal framework governing natural resources, coastal management and indigenous rights, and subsequently as a consultant to projects under the World Bank and USAID. Mr. Patlis began his legal career as an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he worked extensively on issues relating to the Endangered Species Act and protected resources. Mr. Patlis received his J.D. from Cornell University School of Law in 1992, and his B.A. in English from Haverford College in 1985.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd (2011-2016)
CEO, Chief of Staff
Western States Petroleum Association
Sacramento, CA 95819

Bio coming soon.

Sarah Robinson, JD, SJD (2009-2016)
Managing Principal
Critical Inquiries Research
Brookline, MA 02446

Sarah Robinson is a legal anthropologist whose research has focused on the design, implementation, and effects of fishery management programs in New England. She examines on-the-ground processes by which rules are made and implemented and the effects of rules over time. Her work pays close attention to institutional contexts, social realities, foreseen and unforeseen consequences, and actual outcomes. Prior to becoming a researcher, she worked as an environmental attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., litigating appeals in environmental cases in federal appeals courts across the country. She has also worked for the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. Dr. Robinson has an undergraduate degree in biology, a law degree, a doctorate in legal history, and is completing a doctorate in anthropology. She is a member of the Board of the Northeast Seafood Coalition.

Ervin Joe Schumacker (2011-2016)
Marine Resources Scientist, Quinault Indian Nation
Taholah, WA 98587

Joe Schumacker has been working with the Quinault Indian Nation on the west coast of Washington State for ten years. During that time he has managed many of the tribe's fisheries including salmon, groundfish and shellfish. Joe has been an active participant for the Quinault Nation at the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and has worked with all of the Washington coastal tribes on marine science issues including; benthic habitat characterization, harmful algal blooms and toxin analysis, improving fisheries assessments off the Washington coast, improving management of coastal crab fisheries and assessments of intertidal coastal habitat. Joe has represented the Quinault Nation on the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS) Advisory Council and on the OCNMS Intergovernmental Policy Council (IPC), a unique entity created to better coordinate the activities and needs of the co-managers of the waters of the OCNMS that includes the state of Washington and the four coastal treaty tribes. Joe has Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Fisheries Science from the University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences, specializing in shellfish and marine fish biology.

Peter Stauffer (2014-2018)
Senior Ocean Program Manager
Surfrider Roundation
Portland, OR  97202

Pete Stauffer is the Senior Ocean Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves, and beaches. Pete's responsibilities include engaging Surfrider's 50,000 members and 84 U.S. chapters in marine protected area (MPA) planning and implementation. As an organization representing recreational ocean users, Surfrider supports many federal and state MPA designations through public outreach, collaborative partnerships, and citizen-based science. Pete also manages Surfrider's engagement in regional ocean planning, which includes promoting the participation of recreational users in these public processes. To support these efforts, Pete has helped lead studies on ocean and coastal recreation in the Pacific Northwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, which collected geospatial and economic data. Pete lives in Oregon where he serves as an executive member of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve Community Team. He is an avid surfer, windsurfer, beachgoer, and wildlife enthusiastic.

Trisha Kehaulani Watson (2014-2018)
Honua Consulting, Owner
Honolulu, HI  96816

Bio coming soon.

Stephen Welch (2011-2016)
Commercial fisherman
Hanover, MA 02339

Bio coming soon.

Margaret Williams (2014-2018)
Managing Director
World Wildlife Fund – Arctic Field Program
Anchorage, AK 99501

Margaret Williams is the Managing Director of World Wildlife Fund' US Arctic field program, which entails leading a team of experts in climate change, wildlife biology, fisheries, oil and shipping, and communications to implement an international conservation strategy for the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. In the last two decades, Ms. Williams has focused much of her efforts on Russian conservation issues. She founded and for 12 years edited Russian Conservation News, a quarterly journal on biodiversity conservation in Eurasia. Before joining WWF in 1997, she worked as a consultant to the World Bank on biodiversity projects in Russia and Central Asia. She graduated from Smith College and received a master's degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Ms. Williams is a board member of the Alaska Oceans Observing System; a member of the advisory council to the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Oceans Science; and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ex Officio Federal Representatives

Department of Commerce

Holly Bamford
Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce
Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W. 
Washington, DC  20230


Department of the Interior


Cliff McCreedy
Marine Resource Mgmt Specialist
National Park Service (WASO)
Ocean and Coastal Resources Branch
Water Resources Division
1201 Eye Street, NW
11th Floor (2301)
Washington, D.C. 20005

Department of Defense/Navy

Donald Schregardus
Dep. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Environment
Room BF986
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-1000

John Pierson
Office Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy – Environment
1000 Navy Pentagon, Room A674
Washington, DC 20350-1000

Department of Homeland Security

Rear Admiral Cari B. Thomas
Director of Response Policy
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
2100 2nd Street SW STOP 7363
Washington, D.C. 20593-0001

Steven M. Tucker
Assistant Division Chief: Marine Protected Species
U.S. Coast Guard 
2100 Second Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20593-0001

U.S. Agency for International Development

Dr. Barbara Best
Coastal Resources and Policy Advisor
Office of Natural Resources Management, Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade

National Science Foundation

Roxanne Nikolaus
Division of Ocean Sciences
4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 725
Arlington, VA 22230

Department of Agriculture

Rick Swanson
USDA U.S. Forest Service
Watershed, Fish, Wildlife Staff
201 14th Street, SW, Stop 1121
Washington DC 20250-0003

Department of State

Jonathan Kelsey
Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Harry S. Truman Building 
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Brian Melzian
Oceanographer/Project Officer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
Atlantic Ecology Division
27 Tarzwell Drive
Narragansett, RI 02882

Designated Federal Official

Lauren Wenzel 
National Marine Protected Area Center
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
1305 East West Highway, 11356
Silver Spring, MD 20910