SPEAKER: Heather Leslie, Director, Darling Marine Center and Libra Associate Professor
Title: Got fish? Reflections on scientists' roles in sustaining small-scale marine fisheries
Sustaining marine fisheries has often been approached as a technical challenge. The thinking is that more
and better knowledge of ecosystem and economic dynamics, and the behavior of fish and fishermen, can
get us closer to sustaining fisheries and the people who are part of these complex systems. However, experience
from sustainability projects on both land and in the sea suggests that how knowledge is generated
and shared can be just as important as how much is known. Drawing on her experience investigating the
social-ecological systems associated with small-scale fisheries in Mexico’s Gulf of California, Leslie will reflect
on the opportunities and challenges for engaged research on the Maine coast.
Heather Leslie is an international leader in marine conservation science. She conducts
research on the ecology, policy, and management of coastal marine ecosystems. She is
interested in understanding the drivers of ecological and social processes in marine
systems, and how to more effectively connect science to marine policy and management.
Specific research areas include coastal marine ecology; human-environment
linkages, particularly those related to coastal areas; and the design and evaluation of
marine management strategies. Leslie’s work has appeared in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, Ecology, Conservation Biology, and Frontiers in Ecology
and the Environment, and has been covered by The New York Times and the Environmental
SPEAKER: Bill Sheehan, Senior Strategic Advisor, UPSTREAM
Title: Competing Visions of Sustainability: Scarcity or Abundance
Sustainability is a master term used by all parties who are concerned with climate change and related global ecological and social “wicked problems.” But sustainability has different historical and cultural meanings that grew out of contrasting worldviews of scarcity and abundance. Applying the frames of scarcity and abundance to the fields of resource conservation and waste management is useful for understanding current efforts and movements to foster sustainable production and consumption. Specifically scarcity and abundance provide a framework for comparing the Circular Economy and New Economy movements, among others. This presentation will examine competing worldviews underlying solutions-oriented approaches to achieving a sustainable materials economy.
Bill Sheehan is a biologist who has focused on environmental policy for the past two decades. He has been at the forefront of two sustainability movements. In the mid-1990s Bill helped launch and lead the civic movement for Zero Waste as co-founder and executive director of the GrassRoots Recycling Network. In 2003 he founded UPSTREAM which led the policy movement for Extended Producer Responsibility in the United States. Bill helped local government officials in eight states form independent Product Stewardship Councils to work for state producer responsibility legislation―councils that played a role in passing many of the 60-plus state EPR laws adopted since 2004. Bill holds a Ph.D. in ecology from Cornell University and held research positions at the University of California at Berkeley and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service before turning to environmental policy.
SPEAKER: Jack C. Schmidt, Professor of Stream Geomorphology, Utah State University
Title: Restoring the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers: The visionary and the practical
The Rio Grande and the Colorado River are the two great rivers of western North America shared by Mexico
and the United States. Both rivers carry snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains across semiarid and arid regions
where water demand is high, and both rivers are fully utilized in places, such that no stream flow remains
in the channel. In the face of declining runoff in a warming climate, the challenges to river
rehabilitation are daunting, yet small successes have occurred in different parts of these watersheds. These
small successes are notable, but a large-scale vision of the opportunities and constraints is needed if the native
ecosystems of these rivers are to be maintained or rehabilitated in the future.
Jack Schmidt is Professor of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University. Jack’s research has focused on describing the century-scale changes to river channel form and the causes of those changes. He has been actively
involved in numerous efforts to rehabilitate large rivers, especially of the Colorado River in Grand
Canyon. He was awarded the 2009 National Park Service Directors Award for Natural Resources Research for
his work throughout the National Park system concerning the management of large regulated rivers. He was
a member of the bi-national team who received a 2013 Partners in Conservation Award from the Secretary
of Interior for their work in implementing the pulse flow release into the delta of the Colorado River. Between
2010 and 2014, Jack served as Chief of the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, the
science arm of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program.