Our Central Coast staff based out of Arroyo Grande
Don brings a passion for California's natural heritage, along with a history of building teams to take on big challenges. As a pioneer in the field of human and social resilience, he has helped city and county governments, military personnel, first responders, corporations, universities, and nonprofits to become more resilient. At CCSE, Don works to build and share understanding about the realities of California's Central Coast environment, because communities that are well-adapted to nature are more resilient in every way. Don is a Certified Chaparral Naturalist, and a seasoned volunteer with numerous environmental organizations. He is a lifelong California resident, a waterman, and a relentless student of nature. Don's wife Kim is an integrative healthcare practitioner. They can often be found hiking beloved trails, or looking for steelhead in California creeks.
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.
Tim has B.S. from Cal Poly in environmental management and protection, with a concentration in watershed management and hydrology. He conducts low flow and water quality monitoring in creeks and data management to enhance Steelhead trout habitat. Tim brings hands-on hydrology experience through his rigorous education and experience working for San Luis Obispo County's Water Resources Division. Additionally, Tim works with the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and facilitates cooperative efforts between the two organizations. The beautiful complexity of natural systems is an inspiration for his interest in adaptive, science-based solutions.
Issi is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo studying civil engineering with a minor in geology. This summer, she's collecting flow data from creeks around the Central Coast for the CCSE low flow monitoring project. Issi is excited to pursue a career working with rivers, dams, and the environmental impacts that come along with them. In her free time she loves being outdoors, mountain biking, rock climbing, or skiing.
Claire is currently a fourth year environmental management and protection major with a minor in biology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Claire began interning at CCSE in summer 2018 and so far has been involved with water quality sampling in San Simeon, flow monitoring in creeks throughout SLO county, and wet-dry mapping in Santa Rosa Creek. Claire has a passion for protecting the environment and is excited to gain hands-on experience in her field. On her free time, Claire enjoys hiking, working out at the gym, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends.
Grace in her fourth year at Cal Poly where she studies environmental earth and soil science with a concentration in hydrology. Growing up in Portland Oregon, she was lucky to be constantly surrounded by beautiful rivers and lakes and she believes that good stewardship of our water resources is crucial for a healthy and happy society. Her hobbies include rock climbing, camping, hiking, and reading good books. She very excited to be working in the field this summer and hopes to continue to contribute to projects in the coming months.
Megan is a journalism student at Cal Poly with a double minor in global politics and media, arts, society and technology. Growing up near the rivers of northern California, she is excited to help promote the vision of Central Coast Salmon Enhancement. Her goal is to help tell the story of the nonprofit over the years and develop the voice of the CCSE. In her free time Megan likes to hike, bike, camp, kiteboard, or garden.
Julie is currently continuing her education as a forestry graduate student at Cal Poly, SLO where she is researching the effects of forest harvest practices on hydrology using DHSVM, a distributed hydrologic model. She completed her B.S. at Cal Poly in environmental management & protection with a concentration in hydrology & watershed management and minors in water science and soil science. She previously worked for Santa Clara Valley Water District assessing hazardous trees for the county. In her free time Julie enjoys volunteering, hiking, camping, and rock climbing. She is excited to be working with CCSE to gain experience in the nonprofit world and help protect the beautiful central coast.