Our Central Coast staff based out of Arroyo Grande
With over 15 years of experience in the environmental field, Chris incorporates his experiences in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors to spark positive environmental change in his community. His most recent program built San Francisco Bay's first community-based native Olympia oyster reef while educating underserved high school students about the wonders of oysters and the Bay. His degree in Integrative Biology with an emphasis in marine biology and oceanography from UC Berkeley combined with his Masters of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco has led him to an exciting moment: the opportunity to lead Central Coast Salmon Enhancement into its new future.
Watershed Projects Manager
Steph has been Central Coast Salmon Enhancement's Watershed Projects Manager since 2003. Her passion is helping CCSE think like a watershed by accomplishing the completion of watershed management plans for Nipomo Creek, Arroyo Grande Creek, Pismo Creek, Santa Rosa Creek, Big Sur River and the San Antonio and Naciemiento Rivers with partner agencies on the Central Coast. When not working at CCSE, Steph is busy with the Carrizo Plain Conservancy and living at Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano. She enjoys hiking, reading, and eating at her favorite restaurant, the Common House at Tierra Nueva.
Watershed Projects Lead Scientist
Aleksandra has a B.S. in hydrology with an emphasis in aquatic biology from UCSB, and a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UW. She has 15 years of private and public sector experience in analyzing, designing, constructing, and monitoring all aspects of stream restoration and river management projects along the west coast of the United States. Aleksandra also has experience conducting and publishing research pertaining to stream and river restoration. When not busily working on CCSE projects, Aleksandra teaches hydrology and geology at California's Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. In her free time Aleksandra loves fly fishing, skiing, hiking, and exploring the natural world with her family and friends.
Watershed Education Coordinator
Tosha Punches is a credentialed K-6 educator and has previously served as the Program Director of a local children's STEM discovery center. She has collaborated with local college, university, and industry professionals to bring STEM education into the lives of local children through formal and informal methods. Tosha is currently working with CCSE through the Trout in the Classroom program. She is a full time mom and co-creator of the STEAM Trunk Initiative. She is passionate about education, loves to explore nature, dance, create art, and read with her little future planet care-taker.
Watershed Education Coordinator
Ellen is currently a fourth year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo studying Environmental Management & Protection with a minor in Statistics. She has previous experience in environmental education, which she hopes to expand on during her time at CCSE. In her free time, Ellen enjoys skateboarding, hiking, reading, and exploring new places. She hopes to continue educating younger generations about environmental science and conservation to work towards building a more sustainable society in the future.
Shane has B.S. from Cal Poly in Environmental Management and Protection, with a concentration in Watershed Management and Hydrology. He conducts low flow monitoring in creeks and data management to enhance Steelhead trout habitat. Shane brings hands-on hydrology experience through his rigorous education and experience working for San Luis Obispo County's Water Resources Division. Additionally, Shane works with the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and is facilitating cooperative efforts between the three organizations. His passion for inciting positive change and his love of the natural world have manifested into a rewarding position with CCSE.
Operations Assistant/Watershed Naturalist
Sierra is a second-year Cuesta College student pursuing a degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation. She has done vegetation monitoring on the Channel Islands as well as assisted with Mexican spotted owl, desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, and California condor surveys in Zion National Park. For the past two summers, Sierra has been working out of Kodiak Island, Alaska on a fishing vessel performing salmon harvest compliance reports. Sierra is looking to acquire more experience in her field and is proud to be a part of the Central Coast Salmon Enhancement team.
CJ is a student in his fourth year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, majoring in Environmental Earth Science, concentrating in Land and Water Resources with a minor in Water Science. CJ is currently helping to collect field data from creeks along the central coast for the low flow monitoring project. He is also assisting with the development of the Crowd Hydrology Project - the first project of its kind to take place in the state of California. He is fascinated by the complex relationship between water and the natural environment and has plans to pursue a masters degree in hydrology. CJ’s hobbies include baseball, basketball, football, disc golf, and enjoying the outdoors.
Watershed Education Intern
Emily is currently a 3rd year at Cal Poly majoring in Environmental Earth Science, as well as a minor in GIS and Anthropology/Geography. Emily started interning with CCSE at the beginning of the year, to expand her experiences in environmental education. She believes that gaining an interconnected relationship with nature and everyday life is an important step towards keeping the environment clean and safe for future generations. Emily also enjoys hiking, biking, dancing, and watercoloring in her free time.
Watershed Projects Intern
Jun graduated from UCSB in 2015 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. His emphasis was in Geography but his main focus is in planning. Through the natural association humans have with the environment he believes our communities may learn to adapt with nature in positive ways. This starts with a passionate connection to the environment and his is snowboarding. His dream is to one day plan mountain resorts so that they may function with fewer impacts, while protecting the snow pack and key watersheds.