Bren News - Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

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Bren News Bren News is a publication of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management University of California, Santa Barbara Fall 2013 Wildfire and Climate Change A new collaboration targets innovative management solutions Greening the U.S. Supply Chain Seeking hotspots in the feds’ footprint Environmental Markets Aligning incentives and conservation Science Stories Teaching students to give great presentations

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Transcript of Bren News - Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Bren News Bren News is a publication of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management University of California, Santa Barbara
Fall 2013
Wildfire and Climate Change A new collaboration targets innovative management solutions
Greening the U.S. Supply Chain Seeking hotspots in the feds’ footprint
Environmental Markets Aligning incentives and conservation
Science Stories Teaching students to give great presentations
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CONTENTS
A free semi-annual publication of: Bren School of Environmental Science & Management 2400 Bren Hall University of California Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
Program information: (805) 893-7611
Giving opportunities: (805) 893-3712
Copyright 2013 Bren School of Environmental Science & Management Dean: Steve Gaines Editor & Writer: James Badham
Design and Production: Monica Pessino, Ocean o’ Graphics, Marine Science Institute
Cover: Forest Fire, oil on canvas by Caia Matheson, 2009; courtesy of the artist.
Diversity and affirmative action are integral to the University of California Santa Barbara’s achievement of excellence, enhancing the ability of the University and the Bren School to accomplish their academic missions. Educational excellence that truly incorporates diversity promotes mutual respect and makes possible the full and effective use of the talents and abilities of all to foster innovation and train future leaders. For information on University policies regarding affirmative action, please contact the Director of Equal Opportunity at 805-893-4504. If you require this information in another format as an accommodation, please call 805-893-5743.
Dean’s Message
You cannot spend significant time at the Bren School without sensing the energy, the engagement, and the creativity that infuse this community. There is a palpable drive here to move forward, a persistent desire to improve and expand. As a result, the school continues to evolve into the best next version of itself, while remaining firmly tied to our founding vision of collaborative interdisciplinary problem-solving.
In that spirit of determined yet thoughtful evolution, our faculty recently spent several months on an extensive self-study of our programs. The meetings and interactions were exciting, and the process resulted in a dynamic new long-term Strategic Plan. One key new idea is the Strategic Environmental Research Initiative (SERI). This ambitious program will link Bren faculty and students with faculty from across the UCSB campus and beyond to stimulate new innovative solutions for some of the grand environmental challenges of our time.
The cover story (P.6) in this issue of Bren News is a report on the first SERI collaboration. It will focus on developing new approaches to managing wildfire in an era of climate change and rapidly changing human landscapes, with particular attention to fire at the urban-wildland interface in the arid southwestern United States. I am very excited about where this new initiative may lead.
Other areas where the Bren School is breaking new ground are also covered in this issue. For instance, Associate Professor Sangwon Suh (P.5) is using his expertise in life cycle assessment to identify the environmental hotspots in the supply chain of more than $600 billion of annual non-defense U.S. government spending. Professor Gary Libecap (P.8) explains the nature and power of environmental markets, which can help to align financial incentives with conservation goals. We also profile the work of Visiting Professor Janet Kayfetz (P.9), who is training Bren students to be stellar communicators who can tell engaging research stories.
In addition, you’ll find news about our amazing students and alumni, including the next group of Latin American Fisheries Fellows and the first Sustainable Water Markets Fellows (P.10–11), and Matthew Riley, a MESM alumnus who runs his own wind-energy development company (P.15).
It’s an exciting time at the Bren School.
2 Dean’s Message
5 Greening U.S. Procurement Sangwon Suh and the government’s $600 billion supply chain footprint.
4 Research Pieces A roundup of current faculty research and projects.
3 Faculty/Staff News
6 Fire and Climate Change A new collaboration pursues innovative management solutions.
8 Environmental Markets Aligning financial incentives with conservation goals.
9 Science Stories Making narrative the keystone of compelling presentations.
10 Student News
14 Alumni News
15 Wind in his Sales Alumnus Matt Riley’s rise from intern to CEO of his own company.
Steve Gaines
Distinguished Visitors Announced for 2013–14 Two Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors on Climate Change have been announced for the 2013–14 academic year.
University of Arizona professor Tom Swetnam will spend time at the Bren School during winter quarter (dates and full program to be announced). Dr. Swetnam uses tree
rings and documentary sources to reconstruct histories of forest fires, insect outbreaks and tree demographics on a range of scales. His work — and his presence at Bren — dovetail with the first Bren Strategic Environmental Research Initiative (SERI), a collaborative effort involving faculty at Bren and beyond focused on identifying potential new management and policy directions to
address the changing nature of wildfire, especially at the urban-wildland interface under conditions of climate change. (See page 6.)
The spring quarter visitor will be Tim Flannery, principal research scientist at the Australian Museum in Sydney and one of the world’s leading scientific thinkers and writers on climate change. In his best-selling book The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth (Text Publishing Company 2005), Flannery uses layman’s language in arguing the need to act quickly to prevent the worst impacts of a warming planet. The dates of his residence at Bren and his program while here will be announced in winter quarter.
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News Briefs
New Funding for Nano Center The UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN) was recently awarded a new five-year, $24 million joint funding contract from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That brings total funding for UC CEIN to $48 million over ten years. The center, established in 2008 and hosted jointly by UCLA and UCSB, has made great
strides in testing the potential environmental and health risks of various widely used engineered nanoparticles. Bren professors Patricia Holden, Hunter Lenihan, and Arturo Keller (CEIN associate director) have each led one of CEIN’s seven Themes, and Bren associate professor Sangwon Suh has participated in recent projects.
Faculty and Staff News
Oran Young
Ben Halpern, a distinguished scientist who focuses his research at the interface of marine ecology and conservation planning, joined the Bren School faculty on July 1 and will teach his first class, Conservation Planning (ESM 270), during winter quarter. His research has addressed a broad range of questions at local and global scales, including spatial population dynamics, trophic interactions (those among species at various levels of the food chain) in community ecology,
and the interface between ecology and human dynamics, all with the goal of informing and facilitating conservation and resource management efforts in marine systems. He was most recently a research associate at the UCSB National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and has led and participated in key synthetic research projects that have advanced understanding of the state of the world’s oceans and the potential for marine reserves to improve ocean condition.
Andrew Krupa is the new director of development at the Bren School. As someone who “served as my own personal fundraiser for college” and has worked for numerous environmental organizations, he has a deep appreciation for the value of higher education and the natural world.
He received his BS and MS in natural resource economics and policy from the University of Connecticut (UConn), and his Professional Fundraising Certification from Boston University. He has held
positions as foundation officer for the Nature Conservancy in Connecticut, state coordinator/director for Experience Works, Inc. (U.S. Department of Labor), and program manager for the UConn Foundation at the UConn Health Center. He comes to Bren after five years as chief advancement officer and director of athletic development for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association. He also founded the Connecticut Surfrider Foundation and has extensive experience in development, alumni relations, stewardship, and event management. “I want to support education and institutions whose missions I believe in,” he says. “At the Bren School, we’re developing professionals who can go out and do important environmental work.”
Kristen Robinson, Bren School assistant director of career development and alumni relations, received the prestigious UCSB Staff Citation of Excellence Award last spring. The award, which acknowledges and celebrates outstanding achievements and meritorious service of career staff, is given to only ten UCSB employees each year, who are considered based on such criteria as job excellence, the impact of their work or performance, interpersonal skills, and extraordinary achievement.
“In all my years of employment, I have not found a more productive, hardworking, and customer-service-oriented employee,” says Bren School director of career development and alumni relations, David Parker, who received the same award in 2004.
“Of course, my goal when students come to me is to make sure that they have their questions answered,” Robinson says. “I also feel strongly that our students are highly capable, but that doesn’t mean they always do, so when I see them excel, I want to be sure to let them know that and build their confidence. I want to be an advocate for them in their careers.”
Oran Young, the Bren School’s first emeritus faculty member, has been honored repeatedly since leaving the Bren School in 2011.
A PhD student at Australian National University received the first “Oran R. Young Prize” to recognize early-career scholars. The journal International Environmental Agreement created a special issue in March 2013, described as “A Tribute to Oran Young,” and in April, the annual convention of the International
Studies Association included a “Distinguished Scholar Roundtable for Oran Young.”
The expert on institutions and governance also has a new book. On Environmental Governance: Sustainability, Efficiency, and Equity was released by Pardigm Publishers in April and promptly earned Young an International Studies Association Distinguished Scholar Award. Young continues to visit China regularly, is learning Mandarin, and, in April, was named a “Concurrent Professor” at Nanjing University.
Faculty
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A quick look at Bren faculty members’ current research and professional activities
Professor Frank Davis wrote the summary chapter to the book
Conservation Planning: Shaping the Future (Esri Press, 2013)
and served on a panel of experts that considered climate change
adaptation options for California. The group’s recommendations were
published in “Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change in California:
Nine Guiding Principles” (http://bit.ly/19RAAbN). Davis has also joined
Adjunct Professor Lee Hannah to lead a study of the cumulative
ecological effects of utility-scale solar energy development in the
California desert (www.biogeog.ucsb.edu).... Accurate assessment of
water supply in its historical context of drought and flood has a role
in shaping foreign policy and foreign aid. With funding from NASA,
and in collaboration with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and
Engineering Lab, Professor Jeff Dozier will use remote sensing to
provide river flow forecasts in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, where,
he says, “The infrastructure is austere and some of the most persistent
drought in the world causes food insecurity and combines with political
instability and occasional flooding to affect U.S. national interest....”
Professor Tom Dunne’s research group has been modeling how large
woody debris in rivers creates bioenergetically favorable conditions for
the growth of juvenile salmonids. Based on their study of hydrodynamics
and fish growth in California’s Merced River, the group has modeled and
measured how various amounts of flow impediments create sheltered
refuges where fish can swim while efficiently capturing invertebrates
from nearby fast flows.... “Big data is stuck,” says Associate
Professor James Frew. That’s why he and a team of scientists from
several universities are working on an Intel-funded project to develop a
large database capable of more rapidly and effectively handling data-
intensive satellite imagery. “For a query related to a snow algorithm,
we might say, ‘Give me only the fraction of each grid [of many satellite
images] that is covered by snow.’ Typically, you would have to download
all of the data from the images and then use multiple computers to
process it,” Frew says. “We’re working to where you don’t move the
data; it stays where it is, and you use your database query to get only
what you need”.... Associate Professor Roland Geyer is working on
a project for the California Energy Commission to identify the state’s
capacity for employing rooftop solar as a renewable carbon-free power
source to charge battery-powered electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
He also completed a California Senate–mandated life cycle assessment
(LCA) for the California State Department of Resources Recycling and
Recovery to evaluate the state’s methods of motor-oil recycling and re-
use. Finally, Geyer completed Version 4 of an LCA model he developed
for WorldAutoSteel to quantify greenhouse gas emissions associated with
every material and activity associated with an automobile’s life cycle....
Professor Arturo Keller and Associate Professor Sangwon Suh
published the first-ever global cradle-to-grave accounting of the ten most
common types of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). Finding: 63%
to 91% of all nanomaterials will end up in landfills, with the balance in
water bodies, agricultural soils, and the atmosphere (http://bit.
ly/195dRsy).... Keller has also begun a project with the Los Angeles
Regional Water Quality Control Board to determine how nitrogen,
phosphorus, metals, and other pollutants are contributed by natural
areas, such as forest and grasslands, so that they can be taken into
account when preparing “total maximum daily loads” (TMDLs) and other
approaches for dealing with contaminated water.... In May, Associate
Professor Bruce Kendall hosted Richard Fuller, a colleague from the
University of Queensland (Australia), with whom he is collaborating
to document and explain the patterns of declines in migratory
shorebirds that breed in the Siberian Arctic and spend the off season
in Australia and New Zealand, migrating through Southeast Asia on the
way. Says Kendall, “We have documented a tremendous loss of mudflat
habitat in Asia, where the birds stop to refuel on their migration, but only
some of the species are showing rapid declines.” The research combines
remote sensing, statistical analysis of monitoring data, and population
models (http://bit.ly/1cOd6nB).... Professor Hunter Lenihan
collaborated with Dr. Boris Worm to write a chapter on overfishing and
habitat degradation for the book Marine Community Ecology and
Conservation (Sinauer Press, 2013). Last summer, Lenihan returned to
French Polynesia to conduct annual sampling for his long-term study
of coral population dynamics in Moorea. He has also begun an
interdisciplinary collaboration with Chilean environmental economist
and former Bren visiting professor Dr. Hugo Salgado to develop bio-
economic models for advancing aquaculture.... Professor Andrew
Plantinga has begun a new five-year collaborative project examining
forest mortality and wood-products markets in the western U.S. Funded
by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, researchers
from four universities will examine interactions among climate change,
drought, and insect outbreaks, and consider how forest management can
be used to mitigate adverse effects on forest ecosystems.... Professor
Matt Potoski has started a project evaluating a sustainability program at
TD Bank. Across the bank’s branches, designated “environmental leaders”
helped fellow employees save energy, reduce paper use, and otherwise
improve the environment in their local communities. “Businesses often
implement programs but rarely in a way that allows their effectiveness
to be analyzed by social scientists,” Potoski says. But TD Bank worked
with him to do just that.... In a new paper published in Frontiers in
Ecology and the Environment, Associate Professor Naomi Tague
and colleagues argue that the importance of water for forests is being
systematically ignored in land management approaches. They write, “As
the climate warms, increased drought-related stresses to forests are
likely to become a key management issue in many regions. We discuss
possible management responses and the research needed to support
them” (http://bit.ly/1aEEyTA). Tague also attended an international
conference, “Eco-hydrology of semi-arid environments: Confronting
mathematical models with ecosystem complexity,” at Israel’s Ben Gurion
University in May (http://bit.ly/12G23ez).... Professor David Tilman
recently co-authored a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Science on the effects of biodiversity and nitrogen on the productivity
of ecosystems. The team found that an initial increase in productivity
caused by adding nitrogen to Minnesota grasslands soon reversed itself
as additional nitrogen decreased biodiversity. Said Tilman, “The results
show that the loss of biodiversity, no matter what might cause it, is a
major driver of ecosystem functioning.”
Research Pieces Note: because of space limitations, some urls have been shortened using bitly.com
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Faculty
Associate Professor Sangwon Suh, who teaches courses in life cycle assessment (LCA) and carbon footprints and accounts at the Bren School, is currently working to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the roughly $600 billion the U.S. government spends annually on furniture, vehicles, phones, food, computers, paper clips, uniforms, and anything else it needs to conduct its non-military business.
“The U.S. government is the single largest procurement body in the world,” Suh says, “but until now, the General Services Administration [GSA, his client] was not able to consider the life cycle environmental implications resulting from the goods it purchases.”
In fact, he adds, “For most procurement officers and consumers, in both government and private sectors, the supply chain is like a black box; they typically have no idea how the things that arrive at their door are made. Your T-shirt, for example, might have been produced in a distant factory that uses highly toxic materials and has miserable labor conditions.”
He sees “supply chain literacy” rising, however, and suggests, “People are
starting to think about where products are manufactured and assembled, where certain natural resources are coming from, and what the social, environmental, humanitarian, and economic implications of the supply chain are.”
For the current project, the GSA is focusing specifically on environmental impacts. “We’re analyzing the spending data for the entire federal government, which contains some 7.5 million line items, to identify environmental hotspots that need further attention,” Suh explains. GSA is setting the priorities in response to Executive Order 13514, which President Obama signed in 2009, requiring all federal government branches to establish a plan for reducing the environmental impacts of their procurements throughout the supply chain.
Suh began this kind of work about ten years ago with a project for the European Commission. Since then, he has completed similar projects for the U.S. EPA, its equivalent in Denmark, and the United Nations Environment Programme. Along the way, he has developed a database called CEDA, which, he says “is probably the world’s most comprehensive environmental data for products and their supply chain.” It has become an industry standard by making it possible to characterize the environmental impact of procurement decisions.
The U.S. version of CEDA contains some 430 product categories and their supply chain information, and more than 3,000 different environmental “exchanges,” or impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption, water use, land use, emissions of toxic substances, ozone- depleting substances, and many more.
As he emphasizes in his courses, that kind of measuring is critical.
“I always start my class by telling my students to measure first and then work on solutions,” he says. “You can’t manage something unless you can measure it. In supply chain work, that
means quantifying the resource inputs and analyzing their environmental impacts. Management decisions follow.
“For instance,” he continues, “If a coffee shop owner is interested in reducing the climate change impact of his or her business, asking ‘How can I reduce milk and creamer use?’ is a better question than ‘Where should I buy my beans?’ Measurement helps direct the focus to the right question.”
Suh’s GSA project identifies the major contributors to environmental degradation, or hotspots, resulting from government procurement decisions. The agency can then use the information to develop new procurement instruments that support sustainable purchasing in all branches of the federal government.
It might accomplish that by altering its procurement behavior, perhaps by reducing purchases of a certain kind of item, requiring more footprint information in a supplier’s bid, or choosing a different supplier. Or it might adjust an operational procedure that drives procurement. For instance, the government leases many buildings, and by law, when leases are up, it must follow certain criteria to find another property. That often involves relocating, which, in turn, can create the need for new furnishings, thus increasing the environmental impact. Greater flexibility in leasing criteria could potentially reduce those impacts.
“This study is exciting to me, because the impact will be on the ground, in practice,” Suh says, adding that sustainable procurement applies to any organization, including the University of California, which has annual operating revenue of more than $20 billion.
“I think there is a lot of room for us to implement green procurement within the UC system,” says Suh, whose goal is “to have a system in place so that companies, government agencies, universities — anyone — can regularly and routinely make their procurement decisions on the basis of sound science and data.”
Professor seeks the environmental “hotspots” in millions of annual government purchases
Greening the U.S. Supply Chain
Sangwon Suh
Cover Story
Since receiving its first students in 1996, the Bren School has established itself as a leader in interdisciplinary teaching and research, and collaborative approaches to environmental problem- solving. The school’s future success will depend on its continued ability to adjust, adapt, evolve, expand and improve. Early in 2013, after a faculty- led process of self-study, a new Bren School Strategic Plan emerged. One important component articulated in the plan is the Strategic Environmental Research Initiative (SERI), which is intended to generate interdisciplinary collaborations and yield innovative solutions to some of the grand environmental challenges of our time.
“We have a highly interdisciplinary faculty at the Bren School, and we’ve done a lot in terms of focusing on the value of collaborative efforts for solving environmental problems,” says Dean Steve Gaines. “But I think everybody’s sense in the strategic planning exercise was that the opportunity for
collaborative research here is much bigger than what has materialized so far. The idea was to bring together faculty from the Bren School and other UCSB departments, as well as experts from outside the university to think collaboratively about how we can tackle big problems in new ways and develop creative solutions.”
The subject of the inaugural SERI, begun this past summer and continuing at least through the 2013-14 academic year, is Wildfire and Climate Change, particularly at the urban-wildland interface in the western United States.
SERIF (SERI Fire) will be led by three Bren School professors: political scientist Sarah Anderson, resource economist Andrew Plantinga, and hydrology, mountain-watershed, and modeling expert Naomi Tague. The collaborative group will include other faculty at the Bren School, at UCSB, and beyond and will focus on synthesizing existing research from various disciplines to generate new
approaches to fire management. Each of the Bren professors brings relevant experience to the project.
Some of Anderson’s research focuses on how public and political factors affect decisions regarding the management of wildfire fuels, such as brush and undergrowth. Plantinga has a degree in forestry and has done work on policy analysis as it relates to forest policy, and the economics of forest management in the context of climate change. Tague is involved in projects to better understand the effects of fire on water resources and other ecosystem services; to improve the ability to predict how the frequency of fire may change under a warming climate; and, with fellow UCSB professors, to investigate how quickly landscape nutrient cycling and water use recover following fire, using recent Santa Barbara fires as a case study.
The wildfire theme will be integrated throughout teaching and research within the Bren School. It will be woven into the master’s curriculum through the writing workshop for entering students and through readings and case studies in some courses. Fire will be the central topic of a master’s course on climate change impacts in winter quarter. It will be included in the PhD faculty-to-faculty seminar course, and in the required PhD collaborative research seminar, taught by Plantinga and Tague. The theme will be treated further through the public colloquium speaker series, which will include experts on fire subtopics. As part of the public outreach and education component, the Bren School is seeking to partner with UCSB’s Davidson Library for a joint public event in spring.
“I see our purpose as trying to understand how the integrated natural and human system works, because there’s a lot we don’t know,” says Plantinga. “Once we understand the system in a qualitative way, we will be in
Bren School Strategic Plan leads to a major new faculty collaboration. The goal: innovative approaches to wildfire management.
Wildfire and Climate Change in the West
A fire in Southern California threatens houses and infrastructure at the wildland interface.
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the position to send out grant proposals to fund further research. In that next project, we would quantitatively test our understanding of the system in order to come up with specific fire management and policy recommendations.”
The Case for Fire In their proposal, Anderson, Plantinga, and Tague addressed numerous facts and circumstances that make fire a good theme for the initial SERI.
There is abundant evidence that climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires. Meanwhile, population growth and associated land-use changes are resulting in fires’ being far more costly in terms of property and lives. Together, those dynamics create a complex management challenge.
“We don’t mind so much when there’s a fire back in the wilderness,” says Anderson. “The management problem comes at the wildland-urban interface, where humans have the most interaction with fire and you need to think about managing tradeoffs among such things as the ecological benefits we know come with some fire, houses that might burn, and infrastructure that might get shut down as a result of fires.”
Additionally, fire management remains controversial, and agreement is hard to achieve even on such standard practices as controlled burns. Fire regimes also vary greatly across distance and time — naturally — and are now driven also by climate change.
“This is a problem where climate change really matters and where what worked in the past may not work in the future,” says Tague. “A lot of fire management has evolved around how frequently fires occurred historically, under the natural fire regime. But that doesn’t make sense in a changing climate, which, we’re pretty sure, will cause more, and more intense, fires in the western U.S.”
The complexities arising from that temporal and spatial variation of wildfire are at the heart of the problem, Tague adds. “It makes sense to do a controlled burn in some forests, but in other forests in different parts of the West, it
doesn’t. What works for a high-elevation Sierra forest is not necessarily what you should do for a chaparral, and it can even vary quite locally. The right thing to do isn’t the same everywhere, and climate change causes further changes over time.”
In addition to ecosystem-based considerations, a lot of work remains to be done in terms of quantitative social science that analyzes the institutional barriers to more effective fire management.
“Fire is a subject that we think about in fragmented ways,” says Gaines. “It involves plans for land use and
development. You have the business side of things in terms of insurance companies wanting to create incentives and disincentives for building in certain places. We have institutions that manage forests asking, do you thin them or not, do you let fires burn or not, do you do controlled burns or not?
“These things are not integrated in a comprehensive way. It’s a complicated issue that can be devastating to people.”
“You can think of lots of questions involving human behavior at the urban- wildland interface,” says Plantinga, one of the newest members of the Bren School faculty. “There are incentives for home construction and preventative measures to prevent loss, but the incentives are often not appropriate. For instance, if you know that the fire department will come and put out a fire, that’s an incentive to build homes in areas where you’re going to have fires. And there are not enough incentives that encourage people to take preventive measures in those areas. If I reduce the fuel on my property, it benefits all those around me. We need to think about what kind of policies could be developed to align
incentives with social objectives.” “The debate is not so much about the
scientific means of managing fire, but about whether, how, when, and where you should use those methods,” says Anderson. “It’s on the management side that the controversy comes up.
“Also, there are other areas where we think we’re going to get fires where we didn’t historically,” she continues. “Should we be proactive in providing resources to those areas? And what do we do if we get a year with a lot of big fires happening simultaneously throughout the West and we’re running out of fire-fighting resources? How much do you allocate?”
Post-fire management is another area rife with questions. “What do you do after a fire?” Tague asks. “Do you replant? Do you reseed? There are places where the science is still poor, but that partly comes back to a policy perspective. If we need more science and research on that, then let’s make it happen, but where is the impetus for that research coming from? Our group will work to identify and understand the disconnects between the science and what actually happens in terms of post- fire management. Often we have the knowledge, but social systems preclude us from using it.”
Sometimes, too, she explains, “The science has not been synthesized. There may be 15 studies, all showing something different, so even if policy makers want to do what the science says, they can’t. They have to make decisions quickly and don’t have time to sort through the various findings.”
As for the core Bren faculty group, they’ll be reaching out to involve many more experts in this, the first big, collaborative SERI effort.
“Fire is an area just calling out for forward-looking synthetic research that brings together thinking across some of these sub-pieces of the problem,” says Gaines. “With the Bren School’s diverse faculty, we have enough expertise to do some interesting things in-house, but we can’t cover all the levels of expertise you need to be thinking about a question like this. For that, we need to take a larger, collaborative approach.”
Fire is an area just calling out for forward-looking
synthetic research.
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Faculty
Environmental Markets Leveraging the financial rewards of resource exchange to reach conservation goals Environmental markets are on the rise and are being employed increasingly as an effective way to align economic incentives with conservation goals.
“A lot of environmental problems persist, and there’s frustration as to why they’re not resolved, why it’s so costly to resolve them, and why it takes so long — while the environment is made worse off or the resources are further depleted,” says Bren professor Gary Libecap, who has spent years researching environmental markets, and water markets in particular. He is currently working with PhD student Bryan Leonard to study how water use without the benefit of markets affects third parties. The research is associated with his role as faculty coordinator for the year-old Sustainable Water Markets Fellowship (SWM) program at the Bren School. Created with a gift from the Walton Family Foundation, the program trains Bren master’s and PhD students who intend to pursue careers related to market-based approaches to sustainable water management in the western United States. Leonard is an SWM fellow.
Libecap also teaches the Environmental Markets course (ESM 285) in the Bren master’s curriculum and recently co- authored a textbook titled, appropriately enough, Environmental Markets. Markets are also an important component of the work being done by the Sustainable Fisheries Group, a collaboration between the Bren School and the UCSB Marine Science Institute that includes Dean Steve Gaines, Professor Christopher Costello, affiliated professor of economics Robert Deacon, and several post-docs and Bren alumni.
At its simplest, Libecap explains, an environmental market involves two elements: an identifiable unit of environmental damage or improvement and an agreed-upon value for it. A market may arise in order to comply with government mandates, or it may be established to protect a resource and avoid government action. It may be large, such as the European
Union’s carbon emissions trading market, but, Libecap notes, “They tend to be smaller-scale, more localized collaborative efforts to resolve environmental or natural resource problems.” Most importantly, he adds, “Those involved have to be in agreement about how to do it, and ownership rights of the resource in question have to be clear.”
An example of a simple and common environmental market is a short-term lease of the kind that is often entered into between neighboring land owners each of whom has a recognized right to a certain amount of water from a shared stream. For instance, if one has an orchard that desperately needs water in a dry year and the other doesn’t need water as badly, the second can lease some of his water to the first.
Ownership rights, which are a central focus of much of Libecap’s work, are key, because if rights are unclear, problems arise when changes are required in the level of resource use. Libecap gives the example of a drought that hit the Klamath River basin in the 1990s. The federal government, complying with the mandate of the Endangered Species Act, withheld some water from ranchers and farmers to ensure adequate flow to protect endangered species habitat downstream. The landowners were accustomed to using the water but had no recognized legal right to it and received no compensation for their loss. They were outraged, lawsuits were filed, and twenty years later, the issue has still not been fully resolved.
“Recognized ownership rights establish the starting point for negotiation,” Libecap explains. “So if we have some environmental objective, say, to cut back on fishing or conserve more water, or we want to expand land development someplace in a way that may impact endangered species habitat, one possibility is to have a regulatory decree or a judicial decree and all the fallout from it. But if property rights are established, there is the potential for a market to be created that can lead to a negotiated outcome. In the Klamath basin example, if the farmers and ranchers there had enjoyed a clear property right to the water, there would have been an easily assigned value to having them cut back.”
But assigning property rights to river water is also difficult, because it doesn’t stay in one place and is used by many different entities. Even well water comes from aquifers that don’t recognize property lines.
Libecap says that rights have been assigned to the water in virtually every stream and river in the West. “It is fully or even overly appropriated,” he says. “Somebody is an owner to a certain amount and can divert that amount for any use. He can divert it out of the stream or leave it in the stream.”
Historically, however, a big problem with western water law was that leaving the water in the stream was not recognized as a legitimate use. If you didn’t divert and use the water, you lost the right to it. Naturally, given that, Libecap says, “You had to divert it. That was the indication you weren’t wasting water. Everybody did it, which is why streams became degraded.”
More recently though, as governments have come to realize the value of intact streams, “There have been efforts in virtually
Many water markets begin as meetings among neighboring landowners. see Markets on page 9
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every state in the West to broaden the property right to include in-stream flows.” So someone who owns a water right can leave the water in the stream, lease it to someone else for a time, and still retain the right.
Environmental markets are also useful because the information that has to be collected in order to assign value to the unit of trade — a certain amount of environmental improvement or damage — reduces uncertainty.
“Suppose I’m a judge trying to decide a conflict over a scarce resource,” Libecap says. “In the absence of a market, I don’t have enough information to determine which use is more valuable. But if you have market trade, then you get an idea of the value that buyers and sellers put on various uses. That’s valuable. It tells a judge that this water is extremely useful in a certain use and less valuable in another. And it’s helpful not only for judges. If I’m a farmer and I hear that I can make more money by selling or leasing water than by producing and selling a crop, then I can decide to release some water. If there’s no market, I can’t see the value of alternatives.”
Aside from the thousands of informal markets- among-neighbors, numerous official water markets are already up and running in the U.S., including one in the Ohio River Valley, where Bren professor Arturo Keller has been involved in providing the science behind a credit trading system created to limit the daily load of nutrients entering the river from agricultural and industrial concerns.
Environmental markets don’t announce or run themselves, and once one is established, Libecap says, someone needs to get the word out, and a mechanism has to be developed to buy and sell credits. Two Bren alumni, Liston Witherill and Justin Derby (both MESM 2011), are involved in that kind of brokering work for LRA Environmental Consultants, working in markets created by government regulation. Libecap provides an example of how brokers might be of use in Oregon, where The Freshwater Trust, a collaboration of groups, has pooled financial resources.
If water is scarce and needs to be cut back, they can inventory the resource by flying over and taking pictures to get the spatial sense of the water problem. Then, brokers can offer to lease the rights from a farmer or rancher, using funds from the Freshwater Trust. It’s a complex process that takes time and requires stakeholder trust, but in Oregon, Libecap says, “Gradually they’ve been able to expand their coverage over many of the streams, small streams typically, that are tributaries to the Columbia or the Willamette, to, in a collaborative way, pay farmers to release water. It’s done in a timely way, and it’s effective. And that is the promise of environmental markets.”
Last May, when then-Bren PhD student Jaime Sainz Santamaria gave a research talk as part of the interview process for a faculty position at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, a top university in Mexico, he began in a way that he could not have imagined just a few weeks before.
Normally, he says, he would start by reading the title of his paper and then providing some dry scientific context. But after spending a few hours working intensively with Dr. Janet Kayfetz, a regular visiting Bren professor who is an expert on presentations — and the winner of the 2013 UCSB Distinguished Teaching Award — Sainz Santamaria took a different approach. He began by saying to his audience in Spanish, “Today I’m going to show you that protest has an effect on public policy. Specifically, I’m going to demonstrate that protest in Mexico decreases water reliability in Mexican municipalities.”
And then, he told a story. It was a non-fiction story to be sure — full of data, methodology, and findings — but it had something rare in presentations: narrative drive and
tension generated by a deft, novel, and effective interplay between his words and his slides. The methods he learned in a few hours, he says, “force your audience to pay attention.”
He got the job. Working in English and Spanish,
says Sainz Santamaria, “Janet showed me that story is everything. Even very technical people who think that technical skills are the key to getting the job need to tell a story in a compelling way. They’ll be noticed because they’ll be both technically skilled and good presenters.”
Kayfetz agrees, saying, “If I’m hiring somebody and I have several people to choose from, each with roughly equivalent preparation and experience, the person who edges out the others will be the one who can communicate in both speaking and writing, one-on-one and to a group. Employers take it for granted that you’ll graduate with the content background, but what they often can’t find is someone who has the ability to communicate.”
Bren alumna Mary Collins (PhD 2012) also worked with Kayfetz in preparing to give a “job talk” for a post-doctoral position at the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis. Her topic was pollution and businesses that are the heaviest polluters.
After a short, intensive session, Collins, too, changed her approach to the talk by cutting to the narrative chase. She opened by saying, “Today I’m going to discuss a new way of thinking about where pollution comes from, who bears the brunt of the pollution, and how U.S. policy can be changed to reflect the true nature of pollution generation and be more effective in cleaning it up.”
“What Janet told me was simple but effective,” Collins says.
Well, maybe deceptively simple: easy to grasp but harder to do.
Faculty
Science Stories Janet Kayfetz equips Bren students with the tools to become great presenters
Markets continued from page 8
see science stories on page 10
Janet Kayfetz
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Faculty/Students
New Latin American Fisheries Fellows Three new highly qualified Bren master’s students have been selected as the third cohort of Bren School Latin American Fisheries Fellows. Each of the fellows will receive tuition and fees for the two-year MESM program, plus a living allowance, airfare for two international trips per year, $5,000 to cover costs associated with a summer internship, and intensive training in fisheries management and marine conservation. A condition for selection is a commitment to pursuing a career related to ensuring sustainable fisheries in Latin America.
Miguel Gómez holds a BSc in telecommunications engineering from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain) and a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth (UK). In 2005 he moved to Costa Rica, where he has focused on strengthening conservation policies for sea turtles and sharks at both local and international levels. In addition, Miguel worked closely with local fishermen
and government agencies while promoting the creation of marine protected areas under management plans that encourage sustainable fishing practices. His goal is to develop multidisciplinary strategies that consolidate ecosystem-specific approaches to ensure sustainability of fisheries and conservation of marine resources in Latin America.
Rodrigo Oyanedel received his BS from the new marine biology program at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2013. While studying, he began working with artisanal fishing communities, mainly contributing to the development of scientific projects that incorporated diverse methodologies. He was recently working in the area that was the focus of his thesis project, that is, to identify key factors in the
development of initiatives for creating marine sanctuaries in central Chile. Rodrigo is primarily interested in the development of small- scale fisheries and how fishermen can engage in and benefit from conservation projects.
Salvador Rodriguez Van Dyck graduated with a BS in oceanography from the University of Baja California (UABC), Mexico, in 2006. He worked in the Gulf of California for more than six years, promoting co-management among fishing communities and the participation of fishers in management decisions. He has also been involved in applying innovative fisheries management tools, among them a network
of fishing reserves established in Baja California’s San Cosme-Punta Coyote Corridor in 2012. After completing a fisheries fellowship with the nonprofit organization Rare, he joined the Marine Conservation Program at Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá, where he worked toward the creation of a sustainable fishing model. He is looking forward to participating in LAFF and the opportunities it offers to integrate economic approaches to fisheries management.
Science Stories continued from page 9
It involved going over every slide from a portion of the presentation to select and order them for maximum impact, and going over every word of that section to ensure effective transitions. It involved thinking hard about how best to position the subject matter.
Kayfetz relentlessly asks of each element in a talk, “Why is it here?” “What does it mean?” “How does it further your narrative?” She also has students work from the beginning toward the end and from the end toward the beginning, asking such questions as, “Where do you want to be five or ten minutes in? What are your final points, and how much time do they require?” Students can then pace their talk and choose their slides accordingly.
The result for Collins was a research talk infused with dramatic tension. She, too, got the job.
The Bren School has always focused on the importance of communicating science and solutions — for several reasons: communication skills are highly valued by employers, interdisciplinary research requires good communicators, and, as Bren School Dean Steve Gaines has often said, “The best science won’t be used if it isn’t communicated effectively.”
The value of communication skills is not lost on 2013 Bren commencement speaker Jane Lubchenco. In her keynote address, the former administrator of the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration under President Obama told a story about riding in a car with Vice President Joe Biden on the way to survey damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After Lubchenco explained some of the relevant environmental science, Biden said to her, “I thought you were a scientist.”
“I am,” Lubchenco replied. “But I understood everything you said for the past half-
hour,” the vice president said. The commencement audience laughed, but the point —
how rare and valuable it is for science to be communicated effectively — resonated.
Dr. Kayfetz enhances the Bren School’s emphasis on communication through workshops she teaches that present ideas from the “Great Presentations” course she leads in UCSB’s Computer Science Department and at Columbia University. She also joins Assistant Dean for Academic Programs Satie Airamé to support master’s students to prepare their Master’s Project presentations. Working with PhD students is the latest development.
“I hope that through my work, people can clarify and present their stories in an interesting, understandable, and inspiring way, so that their work can be disseminated to others who are interested and need the information,” she says. “These students are doing remarkable things, and what the Bren School is doing to supplement scholarship with written and spoken communication is unique and impressive to me. Hardly anyone gets this kind of training. It puts the school ahead of most others, and it puts our students ahead, too.”
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Students
Award for Reducing Waste Bren graduate Matthew O’Carroll is recognized for outstanding contributions
Matthew O’Carroll (MESM 2013) received the prestigious University Award of Distinction, one of several University Service Awards given to students each year. O’Carroll, who was part of the Group Project that developed the long-term Water Action Plan adopted by UCSB, was recognized for his outstanding work as the Municipal Solid Waste and Recycling Management intern for Facilities Management at UCSB.
“The recognition was nice, but what I did for the university was important whether or not I was noticed for it,” he says. “But the recognition was important to my parents, who have done a lot for me. Having them there to share the award with me was a nice culmination of my academic experience.”
O’Carroll began his internship in February 2012. With Facilities Management having no manager for its solid waste then, O’Carroll became the de facto manager. Over the next year
and a half, while balancing a full load of classes at Bren and playing a pivotal role in the Water Action Plan Group Project, O’Carroll launched programs that reduced waste, increased recycling, enhanced efficiency, supported the custodial staff, and saved the university many tens of thousands of dollars.
With that experience under his belt, O’Carroll submitted his application for the full-time position and was hired as the Refuse Recyling and Water Efficiency Manager on July 1. Hearing the news while on a golf course on Maui, he says, “I was ecstatic — but I played horribly the rest of the round.”
Looking ahead in his new position, O’Carroll says, “Sustainability-wise, in terms of water and waste management, UCSB has done a fantastic job. But with an uncertain future regarding population growth on campus and climate change, water consumption and our ability to reduce waste and recycle more of it is of
the utmost importance. There are lots of things to do, but we’re on the right track to achieving our goals.”
Matthew O’Carroll: making an impact
Tap Flows for First Water Markets Fellows
PhD Students Andrew Ayers comes to Bren with extensive experience in economics and water policy. He has conducted research with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Bureau of Economic Research, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010 to study environmental policy and the economics of climate change in Germany. He was recently a Transatlantic Fellow at the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, where he conducted economic analyses of strategies for river restoration and researched water management policies. As an SWM Fellow, Andrew will explore market-based solutions for addressing water and energy use in California.
Eric Fournier is a fourth-year PhD candidate who holds a BA in environmental studies with a minor in economics from Bucknell
University and an MS from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His research focuses on the life cycle of environmental and economic impacts of groundwater recharge via treated wastewater in various watershed contexts. As an SWM Fellow, Eric will build on his background in GIS and life cycle assessment to research and design a trading program to optimize the location of water trades by taking into account the location and source of water. His research also has implications for energy use and the corresponding carbon footprint of water use and transfers.
Bryan Leonard is a current economics PhD student at UCSB, and will work with the Bren School to complete an emphasis in economics and environmental science. He holds
see sWM on page 12
The following three PhD students and four MESM students will make up the first cohort of Sustainable Water Markets (SWM) Fellows. The SWM Fellowship program is funded by an $800,000 gift from the Walton Family Foundation for the study of market-based solutions to freshwater challenges in the American West.
Giving
12
Students pursuing the Eco-Entrepreneurship (Eco-E) focus at the Bren School continue to make strong showings at business competitions, often outperforming teams from some of the best MBA programs in the U.S.
The Eco-E team SunShares became the second Bren School team to reach the semifinals of the national Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge. After the southwest regional competition at Bren in February, group members James Brady, Caroline Cochran, Ryan del Rosario, Linda Kwong and Ari Michelson (all MESM 2013) competed against seven other regional winners in the semifinal round, held in April at Walmart’s home offices in Bentonville, Arkansas.
After earning second place in the regional round of the Walmart competition, the Eco-E team Smarty Pants emerged from a field of 1,383 teams to reach the semifinals of the 2013 International Business Model Competition and travel to Harvard University in May to compete. The project involved developing a business model for a new venture that would create and market environmentally oriented digital science education materials that align with nationwide academic standards.
While the group, consisting of Alexander Dragos, Susan Dworsky, Bryan Latchford, Jessica Mkitarian, and Sarah Stark (all MESM 2013), did not place in the top three, Latchford
said, “It shows that we can stand up against projects from accredited business schools that have national standing.”
Back in Santa Barbara, Stark represented the Smarty Pants team on her own and earned third place among 16 teams that competed in the preliminary round of the 2013 UCSB “Grad Slam” event.
Eco-E’s Winning Ways
SWM continued from page 11
an MS in natural resource management from Montana State University, and is interested in how water markets can be implemented to allocate water so as to balance human consumption with the requirements of healthy ecological systems. At Bren, he plans to explore the barriers to sustainable water management and the use of water markets in two large irrigation districts in California.
Master’s Candidates Season Martin comes to the Bren School from the Tamarisk Coalition, where she gained three years of experience in riparian restoration management and led programs, such as the Cross Watershed Initiative, to increase scientific collaboration within and between watersheds. Season has worked as a river guide, and her research on the impacts of grazing on riparian zones has been used to resolve disputes regarding grazing
management in Forest Service allotments in southern Utah. She has worked to understand how river flows and riparian health are affected by climate change and the over-allocation of water resources, and is interested in working on political and economic strategies to value and restore river flows.
Mary Sophia Motlow graduated with honors from UCSB in 2012, with a BA in environmental studies. She wrote her senior thesis on “Methods to Decrease Stress on the Potable Water Supply through Augmentation of Potable and Non-potable Water Resources.” Mary Sophia is the founder of DripScript, an environmental website that increases community awareness of local water issues, and she worked with the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration as an undergraduate. As a water conservation intern with the City of Santa Barbara, she has gained insight
into how price structures, rebates that incentivize water conservation, and user compliance can affect long-term viability of water supplies, conveyance systems, and watershed health.
James (Jim) Bond has more than thirteen years of professional watershed management experience. Since 2005, he has worked as a senior planner with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, collecting data and working with stakeholders to identify water-quality problems and develop management plans across the state. Previously, Jim was a watershed project manager with the Iron County Conservation District in Crystal Falls, Michigan, where he authored the Comprehensive Iron River Watershed Management Plan. His experience in water quality, stream flows, and hydrological modeling will provide valuable information to actors within water markets. Jim has a BA in biology from Augustana College.
Primed to present: Smarty Pants members (from left) Bryan Latchford, Jessica Mkitarian, and Alexander Dragos compete at Harvard University.
see sWM on page 13
13
Jamie Afflerbach Dennis and Jennifer Allen Christopher and Ariana
Arcenas-Utley Andrea Bailey Megan Barker Carey Batha James Benson Elyse Bernstein Tansy and Russell Birchim Jacy Brunkow Megan Byrn Jonathan Chang Xiaoli Chen Kathryn Cole Ashley Conrad-Saydah Philip Curtis Ryan del Rosario Jessi Doerpinghaus Brandon Doheny Rebecca Dorsey Jenna Driscoll Miranda Farley Emma Freeman Jessica Fuller Ryan Gardner Kiya Gornik Cameron Gray Gretchen Grebe Jeremie Hakian Katherine Hentrich Sean Herron Hugo Hoffman Janice Hubbell Naheed Iqbal Jessalyn Ishigo Dane Johnson Elizabeth Killion Kim and Teresa Kimbell Yoel Kirschner Adam Knox Kate Kokosinski Jeff Kubran
Kapil Kulkarni Linda Kwong Bryan Latchford Anastasiya Lazareva Travis Lee Justin Lichter Austin Love Nguy Low Brian Lunardi Kathryn Maher Tracey Mangin Jenny and Patrick Marek Gavin McDonald Michael Merlone Ari Michelson Jessica Mkitarian Renato Molina Dominique Monie Christine Mosiak Shengrong Ng Michael and Elizabeth
Noling Edward Norton Matthew O’Carroll David Parker Amy Parks Claire Phillips Sarah Pierce Lara Polansky Brenda Ponton Lili Prahl Christine Quigley Timothy Robinson Kathleen Rosenthal Jeremy Rude Jake Sahl Briana Seapy Karen Setty Peter Shellenbarger Claudia C. Shohtoku Jota Shohtoku Sanaz Sohrabian Aubrey Spilde
Sarah Stark Aristoteles Stavrinaky John and Suzanne Steed Jacob Sultan Eric Sutherlin Greg and Daphne Tebbe Jack Theimer Stephanie Thornton Kirsten Tilleman Molly Troup Marlene Tyner Michelle Wagner Denise White Dani and Mel Willis Daniel Yocum Philip Zanoni
Corporations & Foundations
Allen Associates Alston & Bird LLP Bank of America Brownstein Hyatt Farber
Schreck Deckers Outdoor
Corporation Dehlsen Associates, LLC EcoMerit Technologies Goldman Sachs Gives Irvine Ranch Conservancy Michael J. Connell Trust Santa Barbara Foundation Santa Ynez Band of
Chumash Indians Schwab Fund for
Charitable Giving The Good Night
Foundation Toyota Motor Sales,
U.S.A., Inc. URS Corporation Walton Family Foundation
Recent Donors The Bren School would like to thank the following for their generosity, expressed in recent gifts of support.
Gift for Fisheries
As a trained molecular-cellular biologist, a longtime professor of genetics at the University of Georgia, and the former director of research in the start-up days at Amgen, Dr. Daniel Vapnek says that he realized long ago “how important it is to the future of science to provide training and practical support for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.”
Recently, after having provided financial support to Bren students for several years, he and his wife, Dianne, contributed a gift of $175,000 to establish the Daniel and Dianne Vapnek Fisheries Management Fellowship. The gift will provide funding for Bren PhD students who are pursuing studies in sustainable fisheries management.
“I’ve always been interested in furthering research in various fields, and supporting grad students is a way of being able to do that,” said the now semi-retired scientist, adding that he chose the Bren School for a couple of reasons.
“During many years of being a fisherman, I’ve seen changes in the ocean,” he says. “I’ve seen species become rare, and I realize the importance of protecting and managing fisheries, so I’m very interested in what [Bren School dean] Steve Gaines and the Sustainable Fisheries Group are doing. With my science background, I see the kind of science that has to be done at a basic level to make things happen in this area, and the group at Bren has done a great job of furthering science and developing sustainable fisheries in many different areas and for many kinds of fish.”
And for the work to continue, he says, “You can’t support too many students. The more trained scientists we have, the faster the area of fisheries conservation will develop.”
Dean Wang has a passion for sustainable water resource management, particularly related to agriculture. Having lived and worked in Las Vegas, Nevada; Austin, Texas; and Australia, Dean understands issues related to freshwater scarcity, as well as the potential for cost- effective technologies to reduce water use. While volunteering at a research farm in Australia, Dean studied how practices such as gray-water use,
rainwater collection, permaculture, and drip irrigation can sustain agricultural production. At Bren, he intends to use his information systems and GIS skillsets to identify obstacles to efficient water use in agriculture and identify factors within water markets that inhibit efficient water use and sustainable water management. Dean has a BBA from the University of Texas, where he studied management science and information systems.
SWM continued from page 12
Dr. Daniel Vapnek is a passionate fly fisherman who is also driven to protect fisheries around the world.
A former professor supports students who study fisheries conservation
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Alumni News
2000 Jill Richardson (MESM) accepted a position as student affairs officer for UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. She also just completed her first year at USC’s Rossier School of Education, where she is working toward an EdD in higher education administration.
2002 Mark Kram (PhD) presented to a delegation of Chinese environmental leaders including General Ling Jiang, Vice Director of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. Mark demonstrated his inventions for automated web-based environmental monitoring and water sustainability. Also, in January, he co-chaired an American Society for Testing and Materials–sponsored international symposium on continuous monitoring for vapor-intrusion risk management.
Ann (Hayden) Peridas (MESM) and her husband,
George, welcomed their first child, a son named Leonidas (Leo), on January 8. Ann is also celebrating eleven years
of working at the Environmental Defense Fund.
2004 Megan (Williams) Schwartz was recently promoted to senior
consultant at Cardno ENTRIX and now manages the Los Angeles office. She also co-authored a peer-reviewed
study titled “Hydraulic Fracturing at the Inglewood Oil Field.” She and her family vacationed in Costa Rica this summer, “staying in a jungle tree house and swimming beneath waterfalls.”
2005 Josh Miller (MESM) is now working in the GIS and Water Resources Division of PACE Engineering Services. Josh works with municipalities and utility districts to help them adhere to stormwater regulations. He and his wife, Katie DeLeuw (MESM 2005), continue to “chase our 2-year-old son, Declan, around Seattle,” and have a second child on the way. Katie continues to work for EnviroIssues, a consulting firm that specializes in public participation, communications, and facilitation.
2007 After working as an energy efficiency manager in Philadelphia, Marie-Claire MacCrory (formerly Munnelly) decided to fulfill her dream and is now pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture at Temple University. She also was married to Thomas MacCrory on May 4. They live in Philadelphia.
2008 Surrounded by friends and family, Jamie Britto (MESM)
married Nick Facciola on April 12 at San Francisco City Hall. The couple resides in Oakland, California.
Steve Choy (MESM) and Breanna Flanagan (MESM) were married on June 22 at
the Estate at Moraine Farm in Beverly, Massachusetts. Twelve
of their fellow Bren alumni traveled there to attend the wedding. Steve, Breanna, and their Boston Terrier, Bailey, currently live
in Madison, Wisconsin, where Steve is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Breanna is an environmental communication specialist with Katz & Associates, Inc.
Max DuBuisson, Jennifer Miller DuBuisson (both MESM), and their son Leo, moved from California to Connecticut, where Jennifer is now senior manager of global sustainability for LEGO. Max is senior policy manager for the Climate Action Reserve.
Emily Frost (MESM) married Matt Dozier on March 23 in Bluemont, Virginia, They live in Washington, D.C., where Emily manages the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal website.
Evan Johnson and Ashley Conrad-Saydah, both MESM, were married in May 2013 in Sacramento, with 18 Bren alumni in attendance. Max DuBuisson (MESM) officiated, and Steve Choy (MESM) played guitar throughout the ceremony.
Kelly Schmandt (MESM) accepted the position of
environmental specialist at the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office. She works to enact energy, waste, water, and other sustainability-focused programs. She joins other Bren alumni Josh Simmons (MESM, 2008), Julie Randall Colbert (MESM, 2009), and Lars Davenport (MESM, 2012).
2009 Alicia Glassco (MESM) married Carlos Alejandro Appel on September 7. Alicia works at the Port of San Diego, where she manages sustainability and stormwater outreach programs, including the port’s Green Business Network, and also assists with toxic cleanup and watershed projects.
2010 In April, LeeAnne French (MESM) took a new position as associate director of UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. She calls it her “dream job.”
James Gibbon (MESM) married Juliana Bonilla in Pasadena, California, on April 27. The couple lives in Washington, D.C.
Andrea Lamartin (MESM) and Adam Carpenter were married August 24 in Annapolis, Maryland. The two met in high school and
reconnected after Andrea moved back to the East Coast, where she supports military environmental programs. Adam is a mechanical
engineer with NASA. They live in Alexandria, Virginia.
2011 Julia Hagan (MESM) was selected as a 2013 Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) finalist and recently accepted a PMF appointment with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in Washington, D.C.
2006 Carissa Klein (MESM) received the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) — and a $25,000 check — on July 1 at a ceremony in Indonesia, for her research in sustainable ocean development. In a release from APEC, which stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Carissa was praised for “uniquely addressing the issue of sustainable ocean development by striking a balance between biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic viability.” She is an Australian Research Council post-doctoral fellow with University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences. More at: www.apec. org/Press/News-Releases/2013/0702_aspire.aspx
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Alumnus Profile
2012 Willow Battista (MESM) is happy to report that the “temporary internship” she signed on for with the Oceans Program at Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco has been repeatedly extended, and that, as of August, she had been there a full year.
Recent PhD graduate Theresa Nogeire (2012; MESM 2006) is lead author on a paper in press at PLOS ONE titled “Carnivore Use of Avocado Orchards Across an Agricultural-Wildland Gradient.” The study demonstrates heavy use of California avocado orchards by such predators as bobcats, gray foxes, and coyotes.
Kimberlyn Way (MESM) was married on September 28 to her longtime boyfriend and fellow UCSB alumnus, Eduardo Velasquez. Kimberlyn also recently joined the board of DC EcoWomen, where she serves on the Professional Development Committee.
2013 Erika Michelotti is the lead author on two recent papers. “Modeling Aeolian Transport of Soil-Bound Plutonium: Considering Infrequent but Normal Environmental Disturbances Is Critical in Estimating Future Dose” appeared in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, while “Validation Test of the Clean Air Act Assessment Package — 1988 (CAP88) Predictions of Oxidized Tritium for Los Alamos National Laboratory” appeared in Operational Radiation Safety, a supplement to Health Physics. She works at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Peter Shellenbarger (MESM) has accepted a job as the Science and Policy Analyst, Water Quality, at Heal the Bay in Santa Monica. Peter says he’s “pretty stoked to be with a great organization that’s also full of Bren graduates.”
Wind in his Sales
It’s hard to overstate the potential value of an internship to a Bren School master’s student. Just ask Matt Riley (MESM 2003).
In February of his second year at Bren, Riley became the first intern for the Clipper Windpower Development Company. Now he is CEO of Infinity Wind, the Santa Barbara-based company he co-founded in 2008.
Clipper has since closed but was doing well when Riley arrived, with several hundred employees, including about a dozen Bren graduates. But renewable energy is an unstable industry in the best of times, and Riley recalls that when a round of layoffs occurred a week after he started his internship, “Right away I was asked to pick up the slack.”
His job involved mapping and GIS work to support the process of “prospecting” — essentially, assessing the viability of — proposed wind farm projects. He was hired full-time after graduating from Bren, and then “systematically moved up,” eventually becoming a manager and originating more than 10,000 Megawatts (MW) of wind projects in North America.
He enjoyed working at Clipper but also saw an opportunity to develop projects his way. He wanted to advocate for land owners — who can
often feel marginalized in the long and complex process of bringing a wind farm into operation on their land — by enhancing communication with them and bringing increased transparency to the development process.
In 2008 Riley and Clipper colleague Derek Harding (CEE) opened the doors at Infinity, just before the economic crisis swept the nation. They survived and are now “as stable as anyone in the renewable energy industry can be,” Riley says with a laugh.
Their portfolio includes two projects in Kansas — one generates 167 MW and the other 104 MW — together representing $450 million of investment by the parties that purchased the project. A third, 74-MW, site is under construction in Nebraska, and Infinity has signed contracts to develop a 250-MW project in New Mexico, which, combined with the operating and planned projects, will bring the company’s total generating capacity to over 4 million MW hours annually, more than the County of Santa Barbara used in 2011.
A lot can get in the way of completing a project, and the key question is always, If you build it, will the utilities come to buy the
see riley on page 16
Matt Riley’s rise from wind-power intern to CEO of his own company
Caption
Matt Riley stands before turbines being built at Vestas Winds Systems in Colorado.
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electricity that is being produced there? “We are prospecting,” says Riley. “We develop a project in a
speculative way and hope we can sell it to a large utility that wants to run a power plant. There is a lot of risk and a lot of money spent on projects that may not happen.”
Riley describes Kansas as “a great state to work in” for several reasons. “It has plentiful wind resources and interested land owners, and is one of the most benign areas in terms of the environmental impacts of wind turbines.”
Even so, Infinity projects incorporate a comprehensive plan to prevent the main negative environmental impact: bird strikes. They conduct extensive environmental impact studies, with particular focus on how birds and bats use the landscape.
“We don’t develop without doing those studies, even if we’ve already built a project a few miles away,” Riley says. “We analyze the risk, and if it’s high, we will walk away from a project unless we can mitigate it in some way.”
In Kansas, where endangered whooping cranes are present, mitigation can include shutting down the turbines within a reasonable radius of a whooping crane sighting, in addition to the usual practice of making power lines visible to birds by stringing brightly colored plastic spheres along them at intervals.
State-of-the-art turbines now spin slower and have three large propellers and hubs 80 to 100 meters off the ground, rather than 65 meters, the norm when Riley started at Clipper. “The manufacturers are constantly improving through blade, gear box, and generator design,” Riley says. “The turbines are now incredibly efficient.”
Having risen from an intern to become the CEO of his own thriving renewable energy company, Riley says, “I owe my career to the Bren School. I put the interdisciplinary skills I learned there to work every day.”
The list of valuable abilities and knowledge he acquired as a Bren MESM student include, of course, learning some basics of renewable energy, which planted the seed for his career. But there was a lot more to it than that.
“It was probably the Group Project that most prepared me for this situation,” he says. “I learned to work in teams to address a problem, come up with solutions, and implement them, and now, almost every meeting I have is with three to six people, and we’re usually addressing a set of issues. In the Group Project, I learned to understand group dynamics and navigate to a successful conclusion by making sure everyone is contributing in the way they feel comfortable. I do that several times every day with different sets of individuals.”
While taking a finance class that, he says now, “I wasn’t sure how I would ever use,” he gained an understanding of the financial analysis of a company and relies heavily on that knowledge, too.
“I also encounter a lot of unknowns every day,” he continues. “It was invaluable at Bren to be constantly learning something I had not previously experienced. Being able to encounter unfamiliar material and ask the right questions to understand it is a skill I use all the time.”
Riley originally came to UCSB as a PhD student in chemistry, but after sitting in on an environmental chemistry class at Bren, he decided to apply to the Bren MESM program.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” he says. “I fell in love with that class, because it showed me that the abstract concepts I was studying could be applied in the real world. And as someone who constantly needs to get my hands dirty and do something relevant to my daily life, I was hooked.”
Science Stories Janet Kayfetz helps students add narrative drive to their presentations.
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Environmental Markets Gary Libecap explains the link between financial gain and conservation goals.
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Fire and Climate Change A new research collaboration targets innovative management solutions.
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Wind in His Sales Alumnus Matt Riley’s rise from intern to CEO of his own company.
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