Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers

Daniel Hayden

President and CEO | Restore America’s Estuaries

Daniel Hayden is the President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. He brings more than 25 years of experience as a leader in the private and public sectors. For nearly a decade, Daniel built multi-million dollar partnerships and programs, and oversaw quality and learning for Rare, an international conservation NGO focused on proven locally-led solutions. In a previous role as senior campaign director at PCI Media, Daniel organized UN Environmental Program’s Webby award-winning “Wild for Life” Campaign generating over 3 million pledges, and assisted in designing a global campaign to reduce marine plastics (CleanSeas). More recently, Daniel led business operations for Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the UN Foundation. 

Bradley Watson 

Executive Director  | Coastal States Organization 

Bradley Watson is CSO’s Executive Director and is responsible for overseeing CSO’s programs, initiatives, and administration, as well as managing staff and serving as the primary liaison with the CSO Executive Committee. Bradley previously served as CSO’s Acting Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Counsel and Director of Coastal Resilience.  During his time at CSO, Bradley has worked on a range of policy issues, led initiatives focused on intergovernmental collaboration, and cultivated strong relationships with a range of partners, amongst other roles. Prior to joining CSO, Bradley worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, as a member of the investigations team for the Senate Armed Services Committee, and as a senior legislative staffer in the United States House of Representatives.  

John Brown

Chief Medicine Man | Narragansett Tribe

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senate | Rhode Island 

Representing the Ocean State, Whitehouse plays a key role in crafting policies addressing climate change, environmental protection, and a price on carbon.  He passed into law a dedicated fund to support ocean and coastal research and restoration and bipartisan legislation to confront the crisis of marine plastic and other waste polluting our oceans.  He has worked to enact bipartisan measures to reduce carbon pollution and boost America’s clean energy economy.

Senator Jack Reed

United States Senate | Rhode Island

Senator Reed’s conservation efforts have helped clean up and preserve Rhode Island’s open spaces, beaches, and waters, so future generations may appreciate the beauty of the state while living healthy, productive lives. Reed has fought efforts to gut the Clean Air Act, rejecting policy riders and deep funding cuts that would weaken the EPA’s ability to address climate change and fight pollution that threatens public health.  He has also fought to maintain robust funding for the EPA Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.  These key federal programs help states finance priority water and wastewater construction projects that support jobs, improve water quality, and safeguard public health and the environment. He is the author of the No Child Left Inside Act, which would support outdoor learning activities for Rhode Island’s students.

The Honorable Suzanne Bonamici

United States House of Representatives | Co-Chair of the Estuary Caucus

Representative Bonamici serves on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, where she will fight for comprehensive policies that mitigate the effects of climate change, strengthen the economy, and protect our planet for future generations. She also serves as a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and previously served as the top Democratic member on the Subcommittee on the Environment. From this position, she worked to defend science, address the causes and consequences of climate change, and make sure that policy decisions are based on independent science. As a representative of coastal Oregon and co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus and Congressional Estuary Caucus, she is working to draw attention to issues that affect coastal communities.

The Honorable Rick Larsen

United States House of Representatives | Co-Chair of the Estuary Caucus

Representative Larsen leads efforts to restore critical habitats and secure the federal funding, through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, necessary to preserve Washington state’s public lands and waters. His work protects important species like orca and salmon and oppose rollbacks of vital conservation laws like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Some legislation accomplishments include: Joined a resolution to establish a national goal of 50 percent clean and carbon-free electricity by 2030; reauthorized and increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund; led the passage of the bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018; cosponsored legislation to support the 51 national monuments established between January 1996 and April 2017; and led a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the National Estuary Program to fund local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife.

The Honorable Brian Mast

United States House of Representatives | Co-Chair of the Estuary Caucus

Florida’s 18th district has felt the social and economic consequences of environmental disaster firsthand. The water issues stemming from Lake Okeechobee exemplify why it is critical to work together to strengthen conservation programs, promote public health, defend our environment, keep our air clean and protect our waterways.

In addition to fighting for local environmental priorities like cleaning the water coming from Lake Okeechobee, Rep Mast recognizes that we must work together as a country to fix many of the environmental challenges we face. As research tools have become more robust, scientists have developed a more comprehensive understanding of our planet’s changing climate. Their research has made clear that we must do more to protect our Earth and air quality.  Rep Mast is a member of the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. The Caucus is an important tool to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure and environment.

The Honorable Bill Posey

United States House of Representatives | Co-Chair of the Estuary Caucus

Rep Posey recognizes that the National Estuary Program is an important component in maintaining our nation’s environmental treasures like the Indian River Lagoon.  He co-authored bipartisan legislation which was signed into law to reauthorize and improve this program. Included in this legislation was his bipartisan plan to reprioritize existing federal funds so more money is available through competitive grants for estuaries with critical needs like. Last year he testified before both the House Budget Committee and the House Appropriations Committee to highlight the importance of the National Estuary Program and why its continued funding is so critical.

He partnered with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR) to get important algal bloom research legislation through the House and to the President’s desk. The bill reauthorized research grants to look

Janet Coit

Director | Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management 

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s leader since 2011, Director Janet Coit has focused on efforts to promoting local agriculture and seafood, providing opportunities to connect families and tourists to nature, and improving customer service and business processes to support environmental and economic interests. She was recently awarded the New England Women in Energy and the Environment’s Achievement Award and the Gary S. Sasse Distinguished Public Service Award from the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. Last year, Director Coit was awarded an honorary degree from the Roger Williams University Law School. Prior to the Department of Environmental Management, Coit worked for 10 years as the state director for The Nature Conservancy.

Jorge Elorza

Mayor | Providence, RI

In 2016, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza set a goal for Providence to become carbon neutral by 2050. In 2019 he unveiled Providence’s Climate Justice Plan, one of the first reports that analyze the root causes and effects of climate change through a justice lens. The plan was created in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and members of the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee and aims to create an equitable, low-carbon, and climate-resilient Providence through a comprehensive set of proposed policies and initiatives.

Nicole LeBoeuf

Acting Assistant Administrator | National Ocean Service, NOAA

As Acting Assistant Administrator, Ms. LeBoeuf provides strategic vision for NOS. She leads the implementation of activities that support NOS’s priorities of safe and efficient transportation and commerce; preparedness and risk reduction; and stewardship, tourism and recreation. She serves as the focal point for conveying the value of NOS products and services within NOAA and to the Department of Commerce, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress. Ms. LeBoeuf actively establishes and grows partnerships with other federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry.

Majora Carter

Urban Revitalization Strategist | Majora Carter Group

Majora Carter is a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, MacArthur Fellow and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous economic development, technology, green-infrastructure projects, policies and job training & placement systems. Carter combines her corporate consulting practice focused on talent-retention, and applies it to reducing Brain Drain in American low-status communities.  She has firsthand experience pioneering sustainable economic development in one of America’s most storied low-status communities: the South Bronx.  Carter creates vision, strategies and developments that transform properties in low-status communities into thriving mixed use economic developments.

Ramon Palencia-Calvo

Deputy Executive Director | League of Conservation Voters

Ramon Palencia-Calvo, Deputy Executive Director, joined Maryland LCV in 2014 and soon launched Chispa Maryland, a Latinx outreach and organizing program created to ensure that Maryland Latinx families and community leaders are a powerful voice in protecting our air, land, water, public health, and future. A native of Spain, Ramon has worked with Latinx organizations on education and social issues, and most recently has been working in sustainability and climate and energy. Ramon was a fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, where he worked on an international project identifying social, political and economic opportunities to promote renewable energy in Central America, as well as creating partnerships to advance low carbon development.

Avarna Group

Justice+Equity+Diversity+Inclusion | www.theavarnagroup.com 

Avarna envision a more resilient and connected world where all humans sustain healthy relationships with ourselves, one another, and our planet. They work with organizations to manifest this vision by creating pathways, providing resources, and innovating strategies that support the outdoor and environmental sector in their evolution toward justice, equity, diversity, inclusion (collectively, JEDI). Specifically, Avarna provides the sector and its leaders with learning experiences, assessments, implementation planning, mentorship and coaching, intentional convenings, and resources.

Queen Quet

Chieftess and Head of State | Gullah/Geechee Nation

Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine is a published author, computer scientist, lecturer, mathematician, historian, columnist, preservationist, environmental justice advocate, environmentalist, film consultant, and “The Art-ivist.” She is the founder of the advocacy organization for the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition. Queen Quet’s accolades include the United States Jefferson Award for community service, the Jean Laney Folk Heritage Award for Gullah Advocacy from the state of South Carolina, the inaugural “Living Legacy Award” from the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH), the inaugural HOTEP Award, the inaugural MaVynee Betsch Conservation Award, numerous Woman of Distinction Awards, the National Black Herstory Award, being featured on the “Wall of Heroes” at the National Wilderness Society headquarters in Washington, DC and on the website of The Citadel in Charleston, SC as a woman of honor.  

Brian Lynn 

Coastal/Shorelands Section Manager | Washington Department of Ecology

Brian Lynn manages the Coastal/Shorelands Section at the Washington State Department of Ecology. He leads a group of staff who provide policy assistance, regulatory and planning oversight, scientific support, and financial assistance to communities. He also serves as the State’s Coastal Program Manager and represents state interests at the state, regional and national level. He has served on the CSO Executive Committee since 2011, is the past president of the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation, and has worked in the state’s coastal management program for over 30 years. He has spent his entire life in, on, or near Puget Sound and currently lives in Olympia with his wife Valerie.

Darren Benjamin

Senior Staff Assistant | House Appropriations Committee

Melissa Zimmerman

Professional Staff | Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, & Related Agencies

Rachel Rouillard

Project Director | Piscataqua Regional Estuaries Partnership

As Director of the Piscataqua Regional Estuaries Partnership (PREP), Rachel is in charge of strategic planning for the organization and administration. Prior to her work at PREP Rachel served two terms as the first Executive Director of the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Authority (LCHIP). During her tenure at LCHIP over 200,000 acres of land and 83 historic structures were conserved and protected across the state, including the Daniel Webster Farm in Franklin, NH, a National Historic Landmark. Rachel has been recognized for her work in NH, receiving the President’s 2009 Woman of Achievement award by Keene State College, named Remarkable Woman of 2006 by NH Magazine, selected as one of the state’s 40 Under Forty by the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2005, and is a 2004 alumnus of the Leadership New Hampshire Program.

Lisa Auermuller

Watershed Coordinator | Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve | President of NERRA

Lisa Auermuller has been the Watershed Coordinator for the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR) in Tuckerton, New Jersey, since 2002. Lisa’s role includes assessing the needs of coastal decision makers and assembling training opportunities through JC NERR’s Coastal Training Program.. Lisa oversees a team of Coastal Resilience Specialists who work one-on-one with municipal staff and elected and appointed officials to assess municipal vulnerability and risk, facilitate a resilience preparedness and planning assessment process and to recommend implementation options at short and long-term scales. Lisa’s work combines natural and social science aspects of the coastal decision making process.