Coastal Watershed Council Staff

Get to know the Coastal Watershed Council staff and contact us today! Read below for staff bios, email addresses and phone numbers.

Laurie Egan

Laurie Egan

Executive Director

Laurie leads the Coastal Watershed Council to transform the lower San Lorenzo River into a thriving urban riverfront where all Santa Cruzans can connect to nature in their daily lives. Since joining the team in 2013, Laurie has shaped CWC’s strategy, launched trademark programs, forged deep relationships with funders and decision-makers, led staff through significant challenges, and fundraised some of the most transformational investments in CWC’s work to date. Prior to joining CWC, Laurie worked on statewide campaigns to reduce ineffective toxic chemicals in consumer products with Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles and the Center for Environmental Health. Laurie serves on the City of Santa Cruz Climate Action Task Force, the Board of Directors at United Way of Santa Cruz County, and was recognized as Santa Cruz County’s 2016 Emerging Leader of the Year. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Analysis from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.

Contact: legan@coastal-watershed.org, (831) 464-9200

Sam Adelson

Sam Adelson

Education Coordinator

Since joining CWC in 2018, Sam has worked with Santa Cruz County schools and community organizations to educate youth on water conservation, nature exploration, stormwater management, pollution prevention and water quality. Sam supports the development of the CWC Watershed Rangers education curriculum. He leads in-class lessons, field trips, after-school activities and summer environmental education programs. After graduating from California State University, Monterey Bay with a degree in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy, Sam has worked to implement salmon education, habitat restoration and population monitoring projects along California’s Lost Coast region and as a naturalist and science educator with an outdoor science school based in Santa Cruz County.
 

Contact: sadelson@coastal-watershed.org, (831) 464-9200

Blessing Chirimbani

Blessing Chirimbani

Development Associate

Blessing oversees donor relations and supports fundraising efforts and grants management for CWC, as well as stewardship of our Salesforce database. She has a background in the college affordability sector and a commitment to civil rights initiatives. Prior to joining CWC, Blessing contributed to donor relations, donation management, and fundraising at organizations such as Moneythink and Rising Worldwide. Originally from Zimbabwe, Blessing completed the International Baccalaureate program with United World Colleges (UWC) in Norway, and holds degrees in International Studies and Public & Non-Profit Administration from the University of Oklahoma – experiences that have enriched her global perspective. Her deep connection to nature, cultivated through her upbringing and travels, also enhances her role at CWC.

Contact: bchirimbani@coastal-watershed.org

Kaiya Giuliano-Monroy

Kaiya Giuliano-Monroy

River Ecologist

Kaiya works to revitalize and connect the community to the San Lorenzo River. She leads volunteer events, outreach and education, planting new native plants, removing invasive species and increasing biodiversity and habitat complexity along the Santa Cruz Riverwalk. Kaiya’s connection to nature began in the San Lorenzo River watershed in childhood, growing up in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Beach Flats communities, and was carried into her career after graduating from Humboldt State with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology. Kaiya’s work has included conducting bird surveys in Nevada’s sagebrush, monitoring avian survival in Humboldt’s redwood forests, managing volunteer habitat restoration activities at The Presidio Native Plant Nursery, and teaching students to identify, love, and appreciate nature through NatureBridge programs near Washington D.C., Yosemite and Marin counties.

Contact: kgiuliano@coastal-watershed.org, (831) 464-9200

Erin Loury

Erin Loury

Communications Manager

Erin helps tell the stories of the San Lorenzo River and the people who interact with it. She leads the development of CWC’s communication materials and strategy, facilitates engagement with diverse audiences, and oversees collaborations with partners such as CWC’s Artists In Residence. Prior to joining CWC, Erin worked for ten years as the communications director and a fish biologist for the fisheries consulting company FISHBIO, where part of her work focused on establishing freshwater fish conservation zones with communities in Southeast Asia’s Mekong River. Erin holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis; an M.S. in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories via San Jose State University; and a graduate certificate in Science Communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Contact: eloury@coastal-watershed.org, (831) 464-9200

Maria Rocha

Maria Rocha

Environmental Educator

Maria leads classroom instruction as part of the Coastal Watershed Council’s Watershed Rangers youth education programs in school classrooms, afterschool programs, and summer camp programs in Santa Cruz County. She collaborates with CWC staff and classroom teachers to teach youth in grades K-5 about the importance of rivers, creeks, and watersheds in our daily lives. Maria’s passion for the conservation of the environment stems from her experience as a Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats participant with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and continued throughout her educational career. She graduated from Cal State Monterey Bay with her B.S. in Marine Science and a minor in Biology.

Contact: mrocha@coastal-watershed.org, (831) 464-9200

 

Julia Sauer

Julia Sauer

Bookkeeper

Julia has served as CWC’s bookkeeper since 2010. Her role includes overseeing financial transactions and payroll for the organization in addition to processing donations. She also facilitates expense tracking for grant reporting, which has allowed CWC to expand the size and number of grants that support our mission. Julia previously worked for the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum prior to moving to California. She also coordinated the Santa Cruz Museum Association for seven years before starting her full-time bookkeeping business, which provides nonprofit bookkeeping services for organizations in the Santa Cruz area. Julia graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Contact: finance@coastal-watershed.org, (831) 464-9200

Augie WK and Jessica Carmen

Augie WK and Jessica Carmen

Artists in Residence

Augie WK and Jessica Carmen are the Coastal Watershed Council’s Artists in Residence for 2023–2024, and collectively make up the muralist duo “The Jams.” Their art is often inspired by music, or “the jams,” that they would listen to growing up Chicano in California, along with other parts of their Chicano culture and individual experiences. The Jams’ goal with murals is to leave behind interesting art that makes communities brighter and fosters pride of place. Their work in creating community events focuses on prioritizing culture, representation, and inclusivity for historically overlooked communities. The Jams are working with CWC and community partners to co-develop an art, outreach, and community engagement initiative around the San Lorenzo River, with special attention to climate change and flooding. Their residency is supported by a grant from the Central Coast Creative Corps. Learn more about their work at https://www.thejamsbrand.com/.

Contact: thejamsbrand@gmail.com

Coastal Watershed Council Board of Directors

Click the plus sign (+) next to each Board of Directors member’s name to read their bio!

Eva Salas
Eva Salas, Chair

Eva is a Costa Rican biologist who moved to Santa Cruz in 2011. She spent many years working in marine ecosystems and has witnessed firsthand the critical influence that rivers have on the ocean. She feels lucky to be living in Monterey Bay, a very unique place in the Pacific Ocean with a deep underwater canyon and lush kelp forests, and she knows that it is fundamental to take care of watersheds to keep that beauty going. Eva joined the CWC board because she believes in the importance of involving herself and local river neighbors in the vision for our San Lorenzo River.

Eva feels privileged to live with her husband and son right next to the Santa Cruz Riverwalk, which serves as a place to meditate, walk, admire nature, and as her main biking route to get anywhere in this amazing community. She particularly loves to see the changing faces of the San Lorenzo River throughout the year. Eva has a PhD in ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz. She works as the Coral Restoration Project Director for the Nature Conservancy and loves mountain biking, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and hanging out with friends and family.

Megan Goddard
Megan Goddard, Secretary

Megan is a long-time resident of Santa Cruz County – she grew up in Aptos and currently lives in the City of Santa Cruz. Megan has always had a passion for water issues, and brings her background in water resources, watershed science, and GIS mapping to the CWC Board. She obtained a Masters and PhD from Clemson University with research specifically examining the impacts of land use change on water quality in small urban watersheds. She also has a BS from UC Davis in Environmental Resources with an emphasis on freshwater aquatic chemistry.

Megan brings years of work experience as a mapping expert and program manager to the CWC. She has been an employee of Google since 2006, with roles ranging from GIS mapping to creating accessible products for people with disabilities. She currently is a program manager for Google Maps.

Megan is a lifelong explorer and has traveled to 60+ countries for work, tourism, and scuba diving. She has lived and worked in Europe and Africa as an environmental consultant to water projects. Megan also graduated from the Leadership Santa Cruz County program in 2022 as part of class 35.

Drew Meyer
Drew Meyer

Drew leads cloud storage product marketing for Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that makes cloud computing services. An Idaho native and former professional whitewater guide in the US, Central and South America, Drew has lived firsthand the impacts of ecotourism, resource extraction and seen the delicate balance between use and abuse of river communities. He was appointed to two terms on the Santa Cruz Historic Preservation Commission, where he advised on the controversial La Bahia project, numerous private development projects and advocated the City adopt a Mills Act ordinance.

Drew holds a BA in Political Science with minors in French and English from the University of Puget Sound, and lives in a historic house with his wife (wedding confection artist Edith Meyer) and their twin boys in Santa Cruz, California.

Drew Meyer
Emily Chung, Vice Chair

Emily is a proud resident of the Lower Ocean neighborhood. She truly embraces her love of the San Lorenzo River – you’ll find her walking, running, or skateboarding the Riverwalk with her dog nearly every day. She earned her Master in Public Health at UCLA and undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley. Emily brings to the CWC Board nearly a decade of experience working for government health agencies, promoting public and population health. She shares her breadth of experience working for and supporting non-profits through grant-writing, policy advocacy, fundraising, and community organizing. She currently works for the County of Santa Cruz, Health Services Agency. Emily is passionate about contributing positively to this community that she’s proud to call “home”. She has a great love of nature and outdoor adventures, from local hikes to backpacking mountains and jungles of foreign countries. Serving on the CWC Board is a culmination of her commitment to service and the environment.

Hilary Bryant
Richard Beach

Richard, a resident of Santa Cruz County for 45 years, has worked in Silicon Valley startups, multinational companies and local real estate, utilizing his knowledge and experience in engineering, marketing and sales, finance and business management. He holds a BS in Engineering from SF State University, MSEE and MBA from Stanford University. Now mostly retired, Richard enjoys time focusing on his interests in environment, education and water projects and “paying it forward” to the next generation as they embark on their careers. CWC combines these interests and as a Board member, Richard uses his business background and love of community to sustain and grow the organization as it works to transform the lower San Lorenzo River. Richard also serves as the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee for the Santa Cruz Rotary and supports projects with Cabrillo College through the Presidents Circle and the Engineering Abroad Programs, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance and water and educational projects in Uganda.

Jim Sandoval
Jim Sandoval

Jim Sandoval recently retired as the City of Los Altos Public Works Director & City Engineer. During his 33-year civil engineering career, he worked with communities in the U.S. and abroad to develop, rebuild, and maintain infrastructure and sustainably manage renewable resources, including projects and programs in water resources and protection, waste management, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, energy generation and distribution, and transportation. Jim’s role on the CWC board taps into his passion for environmental protection and sustainability, and his experience allows him to further CWC’s mission to protect and enhance the lower San Lorenzo River by partnering with the Santa Cruz community.

Jim is a licensed civil engineer in California and holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University. He has lived in Santa Cruz since 1995, residing most of that time on Beach Hill near the San Lorenzo River. He enjoys all that Santa Cruz has to offer with cultural and outdoor activities around town, at the beach, on the bay, in the redwoods, and along the river.

Stuart White
Stuart White, Treasurer

Stuart is an active Certified Public Accountant licensed in California with over 25 years of experience in the areas of corporate treasury and tax. Stuart is eager to help revitalize the San Lorenzo River in an effort to increase its use for recreation and public education, as well as improve the quality of the main water source for the city of Santa Cruz. He holds a Master in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas in Austin and Bachelor’s Degree from Rice University. Stuart lives in the Happy Valley area of Santa Cruz with his wife and two children. One of his favorite activities is to go for a run along the Riverwalk.

Linda Cover
Linda Cover

Artist, Educator, Community organizer, Environmentalist and Friend of the river Linda Cover lives and works at the Tannery Arts Center, located on the banks of the San Lorenzo River. She is a photographer/artist focused on community and the natural world. At the Tannery, she is a board member of ARTU the tenant’s union. She is the founder of Camp Tannery Arts, a summer camp for young artists and Art Outside, a nature-based summer camp. Linda is a SPECTRA teaching artist, through the Arts Council Santa Cruz County, teaching “Watershed Art” in schools throughout the county. As a city of Santa Cruz Arts Commissioner, she is honored to serve both the city and artist communities. Linda has organized clean-ups with kids and families in Watsonville & Santa Cruz for 20 years. You may see Linda on her yellow bike riding on the river walkway where she socializes with folks along the way, photographs the ever-changing landscape, and creates “sand doodles” and mandalas at the river mouth beach.

Linda Cover
Emma Ussat

As a seasoned community engagement leader and driver of impactful change, Emma is honored to serve as a board member for the Coastal Watershed Council. With a background in environmental stewardship and a passion for fostering collaboration, she brings expertise in public programs, fundraising, and relationship building to the table. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion, combined with her ongoing education in leadership and environmental studies, enables her to contribute meaningfully to the Coastal Watershed Council’s mission of preserving and enhancing our coastal watershed for future generations.

As the Senior Community Engagement Manager at Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, Emma will draw on her experience to inform CWC’s efforts to engage community members in habitat restoration and stewardship of the San Lorenzo River and Riverwalk. She loves going to Science on Tap talks, running in the redwoods, reading on the beach, and spending time with loved ones.

Eva Salas
Eva Salas, Chair

Eva is a Costa Rican biologist that moved to Santa Cruz around 2011. She spent many years working in marine ecosystems and has witnessed firsthand the critical influence that rivers have on the ocean. She feels lucky to be living in Monterey Bay, a very unique place in the Pacific Ocean with a deep underwater canyon and lush kelp forests, and she knows that it is fundamental to take care of watersheds to keep that beauty going. She joined the CWC board because she believes in the importance of involving herself and the local neighbors in the vision for our San Lorenzo River.

She feels quite privileged to live right next to the Santa Cruz Riverwalk, a place to meditate, walk, admire nature, and her main biking route to get anywhere in this amazing community. She particularly loves to see the changing faces of the San Lorenzo River throughout the year.

She has a PhD in ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz, is married, and has one child. Works at FISHBIO doing research and monitoring of fish in California, SE Asia, and Costa Rica. Loves mountain biking, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and hanging out with friends and family.

Drew Meyer
Emily Chung, Vice Chair

Emily is a proud resident of the Lower Ocean neighborhood. She truly embraces her love of the San Lorenzo River – you’ll find her walking, running, or skateboarding the Riverwalk with her dog nearly every day. She earned her Master in Public Health at UCLA and undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley. Emily brings to the CWC Board nearly a decade of experience working for government health agencies, promoting public and population health. She shares her breadth of experience working for and supporting non-profits through grant-writing, policy advocacy, fundraising, and community organizing. She currently works for the County of Santa Cruz, Health Services Agency. Emily is passionate about contributing positively to this community that she’s proud to call “home”. She has a great love of nature and outdoor adventures, from local hikes to backpacking mountains and jungles of foreign countries. Serving on the CWC Board is a culmination of her commitment to service and the environment.

Stuart White
Stuart White, Treasurer

Stuart is an active Certified Public Accountant licensed in California with over 25 years of experience in the areas of corporate treasury and tax. Stuart is eager to help revitalize the San Lorenzo River in an effort to increase its use for recreation and public education, as well as improve the quality of the main water source for the city of Santa Cruz. He holds a Master in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas in Austin and Bachelor’s Degree from Rice University. Stuart lives in the Happy Valley area of Santa Cruz with his wife and two children. One of his favorite activities is to go for a run along the Riverwalk.

Megan Goddard
Megan Goddard, Secretary

Megan is a long time resident of Santa Cruz County and she grew up in Aptos and currently lives in the City of Santa Cruz. Megan has always had a passion for water resources. She has an educational background of Water Resources, Watershed Science and GIS mapping to the CWC Board. She obtained a Masters and PhD from Clemson University with research specifically examining the impacts of land use change on water quality in small urban watersheds. She also has a BS from UC Davis in Environmental Resources with an emphasis on freshwater aquatic chemistry.

Megan brings years of work experience as a mapping expert and program manager to the CWC. She has been an employee of Google since 2006 with roles ranging from GIS mapping, Accessibility and creating accessible products for people with disabilities. She currently is a program manager for Google Maps.

Megan is a lifelong explorer and has traveled to 60+ countries for work, tourism, and scuba diving. She has lived and worked in Europe and Africa as an environmental consultant to water projects. Megan also graduated from the Leadership Santa Cruz County program in 2022 as part of class 35.

Hilary Bryant
Richard Beach

Richard, a resident of Santa Cruz County for 45 years, has worked in Silicon Valley startups, multinational companies and local real estate, utilizing his knowledge and experience in engineering, marketing and sales, finance and business management. He holds a BS in Engineering from SF State University, MSEE and MBA from Stanford University. Now mostly retired, Richard enjoys time focusing on his interests in environment, education and water projects and “paying it forward” to the next generation as they embark on their careers. CWC combines these interests and as a Board member, Richard uses his business background and love of community to sustain and grow the organization as it works to transform the lower San Lorenzo River. Richard also serves as the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee for the Santa Cruz Rotary and supports projects with Cabrillo College through the Presidents Circle and the Engineering Abroad Programs, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance and water and educational projects in Uganda.

Linda Cover
Linda Cover

Artist, Educator, Community organizer, Environmentalist and Friend of the river Linda Cover lives and works at the Tannery Arts Center, located on the banks of the San Lorenzo River. She is a photographer/artist focused on community and the natural world. At the Tannery, she is a board member of ARTU the tenant’s union. She is the founder of Camp Tannery Arts, a summer camp for young artists and Art Outside, a nature-based summer camp. Linda is a SPECTRA teaching artist, through the Arts Council Santa Cruz County, teaching “Watershed Art” in schools throughout the county. As a city of Santa Cruz Arts Commissioner, she is honored to serve both the city and artist communities. Linda has organized clean-ups with kids and families in Watsonville & Santa Cruz for 20 years. You may see Linda on her yellow bike riding on the river walkway where she socializes with folks along the way, photographs the ever-changing landscape, and creates “sand doodles” and mandalas at the river mouth beach.

Drew Meyer
Drew Meyer

Drew leads cloud storage product marketing for Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that makes cloud computing services. An Idaho native and former professional whitewater guide in the US, Central and South America, Drew has lived firsthand the impacts of ecotourism, resource extraction and seen the delicate balance between use and abuse of river communities. He was appointed to two terms on the Santa Cruz Historic Preservation Commission, where he advised on the controversial La Bahia project, numerous private development projects and advocated the City adopt a Mills Act ordinance.

Drew holds a BA in Political Science with minors in French and English from the University of Puget Sound, and lives in a historic house with his wife (wedding confection artist Edith Meyer) and their twin boys in Santa Cruz, California.

Jim Sandoval
Jim Sandoval

Jim Sandoval recently retired as the City of Los Altos Public Works Director & City Engineer. During his 33-year civil engineering career, he worked with communities in the U.S. and abroad to develop, rebuild, and maintain infrastructure and sustainably manage renewable resources, including projects and programs in water resources and protection, waste management, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, energy generation and distribution, and transportation. Jim’s role on the CWC board taps into his passion for environmental protection and sustainability, and his experience allows him to further CWC’s mission to protect and enhance the lower San Lorenzo River by partnering with the Santa Cruz community.

Jim is a licensed civil engineer in California and holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University. He has lived in Santa Cruz since 1995, residing most of that time on Beach Hill near the San Lorenzo River. He enjoys all that Santa Cruz has to offer with cultural and outdoor activities around town, at the beach, on the bay, in the redwoods, and along the river. 

Jim Sandoval
Emma Ussat

As a seasoned community engagement leader and driver of impactful change, Emma is honored to serve as a board member for the Coastal Watershed Council. With a background in environmental stewardship and a passion for fostering collaboration, she brings expertise in public programs, fundraising, and relationship building to the table. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion, combined with her ongoing education in leadership and environmental studies, enables her to contribute meaningfully to the Coastal Watershed Council’s mission of preserving and enhancing our coastal watershed for future generations.

As the Senior Community Engagement Manager at Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, Emma will draw on her experience to inform CWC’s efforts to engage community members in habitat restoration and stewardship of the San Lorenzo River and Riverwalk. She loves going to Science on Tap talks, running in the redwoods, reading on the beach, and spending time with loved ones.