Meet our newest Board members
By Chris Lim
“The only constant is change.” ~ Heraclitus
The above sentence rings true for us today, especially when it comes to our Board of Directors. We recently added two new members to the Board and we’re excited to have them on the team.
Katie Keefe is the Stormwater Program Manager for the City of Santa Maria. She strives to facilitate water quality improvement, implement public education programs, and promote water resource stewardship. She loves seeing our new watershed model in action.
Louis Lefebvre is currently in the private sector working with public agencies to meet their water quality needs through reclamation and reuse. As a Central Coast native, he is enthusiastic to serve on the Board for the health of our watersheds.
I asked them both a few questions about their themselves and their newly found interconnectedness with Central Coast Salmon Enhancement.
What was the first thing about Central Coast Salmon Enhancement that caught your interest?
Katie: The same watershed based approach the organization takes to protecting and conserving aquatic species and essential habitat is used as a framework for its approach to community education and engagement.
Louis: The fact that CCSE is an organization based in SLO County focusing on all watersheds for all users. Not just one watershed, river, creek or stretch nor just for one species or use but that it's about all Central Coast watersheds for all.
What excites you most about CCSE’s programming?
Katie: I love the watershed model and how it’s used to teach kids about the different roles and impacts humans have in their ecological neighborhood and how they can take simple steps to protect water quality. Then on the other side of the equation, there is Trout in the Classroom and citizen science programs of soon-to-be Crowd Hydrology and DIG! Pismo Clams, that help foster environmental stewardship and community engagement in environmental conservation efforts.
Louis: The multi-pronged approach. Restoration, conservation, education.
How do some of your personal interests overlap with the mission of the organization?
Katie: The nexus between water quality, ecosystem health, and human health has been a passion of mine since I graduated college in the environmental science field 20 years ago. It continues to drive my academic, professional, and personal pursuits. Humans are a vital and essential component of the watershed ecosystem and we cannot thrive without a healthy and vibrant aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem, which in turn cannot thrive under impaired or degraded conditions. I think my interests in water quality, watershed health, and human health align with the organization’s mission and objectives.
Louis: I am not unique in this aspect, everyone's interests overlap with the mission. I rely on clean water to drink and sustainable agriculture to eat and prosper, it just so happens that I also love fishing!
We understand you just started, but where do you see yourself fitting in with the Board and organization?
Katie: Learning more about how the Board functions, provides guidance, and assistance to the ED and staff will help me find ways in which I can lead staff in their work to fulfill the organization’s mission. Long-range planning and funding support are, at this initial stage, key areas that really interest me.
Louis: I see myself first and foremost as an ambassador for the organization and secondly I want to help the Board acts as an asset, advancing the organization’s vision.
Where would you like to see the organization in 10 years?
Katie: The collaborative efforts I see CCSE undertaking to address regional watershed and habitat issues is incredibly impressive. I’d like to see the organization in a place where there’s enough secure funding to support more full-time staff and, to that end, strong, positive and instant name recognition among the Central Coast community.
Louis: I would like to see the Organization be the name in advocacy for California's Central Coast Watersheds.
What’s one thing you would like to tell others that may be interested in joining our Board or any Board?
Katie: There is so much more to what CCSE does than one might initially think - from hydrological monitoring and data collection, to habitat restoration, citizen science programs, community involvement, collaborative scientific studies, and educational programs. The organization has created a framework where work in all of these focus areas supports its overall mission. The organization continues to develop and grow in its work to create healthy watersheds along the Central Coast and being part of the Board affords one the opportunity to help ensure the realization of that vision.
Louis: If you have passion for the organization's vision/mission, JOIN!