Program leader bids farewell

Photo: Cristen Don speaks with members of the public about Oregon’s marine reserves

The marine reserves team bid farewell to their program leader Cristen Don this past month. Known for her calm demeanor and love of surfing, Cristen shepherded the marine reserves program from its infancy during the planning process through the implementation of all five sites in place today.  Her dedication led to the recruitment of permanent staff positions for the ecological, human dimensions and outreach and community engagement aspects of the program. She worked with local communities and stakeholders to write the first site management plans for Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua, and Redfish Rocks marine reserves. She was our liaison to partners such as Oregon State Police (OSP), Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), and Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) for all marine reserves related issues. She spoke on behalf of the program to legislators, the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC), the Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), as well as academic, conservation, fishermen and community stakeholders. It was her vision that led to the Marine Reserves Program Synthesis Report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the first 10 years of marine reserves implementation.

Cristen spent a total of 18 years with ODFW.  Prior to working on marine reserves, she was instrumental in developing the first version of Oregon’s Nearshore Strategy and worked on reviewing potential environmental impacts of Oregon’s first wave energy project proposals.  She will be missed, and we wish her luck on her future adventures. 

Lindsay Aylesworth, the research project leader for the ecological team, has stepped in to act as interim project leader until a permanent replacement is found.