Project Management Team Biographies

Executive Project Manager

John Bourgeois

Executive Project Manager, CA Coastal Conservancy

John Bourgeois has served as Executive Project Manager for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project since 2009. He has over 18 years of experience working on large-scale wetland restoration projects, including working as a restoration ecologist with the Bay Area ecological consulting firm H.T. Harvey and Associates. Before becoming Executive Project Manager, John worked with the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project beginning in 2004 on the initial planning, design and permitting phases of the restoration, as well as other related projects including the Bair Island Restoration Plan. Prior to coming to California, John worked at the National Wetlands Research Center, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resoruces, and the Institute of Pacific Island Forestry. He has an M.S. in biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a B.S. in biology from Tulane University.

State Coastal Conservancy

Matt Gerhart

Program Manager, SF Bay Area Conservancy Program, California Coastal Conservancy

In his role as Program Manager, Matt Gerhart helps to protect and enhance regional natural resources, improve public access to our open spaces and shorelines, reinvigorate our waterfronts, enhance resiliency to climate change, and protect bay area working lands.

A geographer by training, Mr. Gerhart has over 15 years of experience in land conservation planning, coastal management, public access development, climate change policy and science. He is an agency lead for Bay Area climate change and sea level rise efforts, including the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Update, the Resilient Shorelines Partnership, and the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium. He also serves as an advisor to the Bay Area Open Space Council, the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and San Francisco Joint Venture and sits on the Bay Area’s Integrated Regional Water Management group.

Brenda Buxton

Deputy Program Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program

Brenda Buxton has over 26 years of experience working at the Conservancy on coastal trail and beach access, parkland acquisitions and planning, environmental education and wetland restoration projects. Currently Ms. Buxton is the Conservancy’s lead for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project and the associated South Bay Shoreline Study – a partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Santa Clara Valley Water District to provide flood protection, wetland restoration, and public recreation along the Santa Clara County shoreline. Ms. Buxton has a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Anne Morkill

Refuge Complex Manager, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Anne Morkill joined the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex as Project Leader in October 2012. She comes to the Bay Area from Florida, where she has served for the last six years as Project Leader of the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Originally from Miami, Anne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and a Master of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Wyoming. Anne’s recent work focus has been on establishing a science-based adaptive management program and fostering partnerships with the research and conservation communities to restore and conserve imperiled wildlife and their habitats on National Wildlife Refuges in the face of many challenges ranging from habitat fragmentation, development, invasive exotic species, and climate change. She has served as Deputy Refuge Manager for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Assistant Refuge Manager for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and as a Refuge Biologist in Colorado in the early 1990s. She has also worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, serving in the mid-1990s in Alaska as a Wildlife Biologist for the BLM’s Northern District Office.

Chris Barr

Deputy Complex Manager, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Greg Martinelli

Wildlife Program Manager, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Greg manages the entire DFW Wildlife and Lands Program in the Bay Delta region. He has been with DWF since 2001, working as a water conservation supervisor and on water, environmental review and streambed alteration programs. Previously, he worked for the United States Geological Survey, coordinating all phases of the Napa-Sonoma salt pond project. As district biologist for the Suisun Resource Conservation District in the 1990s, he developed a wetland management plan for 52,000 acres of the Suisun Marsh.

John Krause

Associate Wildlife Biologist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

John Krause is the Department’s unit biologist for Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties. He is the manager of the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and operates the salt pond complex according to the Initial Stewardship Plan. He performs various wildlife management activities for the Department including rare species and game species monitoring, managing other State-owned properties such as the on-going wetland restoration at the original 835-acre Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (also known as the Baumberg tract) and works in a trustee and regulatory role for the Department to ensure sensitive resources are conserved. He also serves as a technical advisor on federal, state, municipal and private wetland resource management projects. John’s background includes earning a Bachelor of Science degree at U.C. Davis in ecology and conservation, and prior to working for the Department, his positions included District Biologist for the Caltrans Oakland office, as well as working as a scientific aid with Department, as a crew leader for the Marin County Open Space District trails program and as an assistant to UC Davis researchers studying Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe Basin old growth forests.

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Rechelle Blank

Engineering Unit Manager, Santa Clara Valley Water District

Rechelle represents the Santa Clara Valley Water District on the Project Management Team. She has been with the Water District since 1992, and has worked on numerous flood protection and restoration type projects that require close multi-agency coordination and regular interaction with various community groups. Rechelle has been involved with the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study since 2010, and is responsible for oversight of the Water District’s Shoreline Study efforts for the entire Santa Clara County shoreline area. Rechelle has a professional Civil Engineering license and graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Bill DeJager


Bill DeJager has served as environmental coordinator for the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study/Project since 2006. He has 24 years' experience in ecosystem restoration and flood risk management studies and projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District. His work has included environmental inventories, biological studies, impact analyses, NEPA and regulatory compliance, ecosystem restoration benefit assessment, and restoration design. He has worked on the Sonoma Baylands, Napa Salt Marsh, Hamilton Wetlands, and South Bay Salt Ponds restoration projects, among others.

Bill's graduate studies focused on late-Quaternary plant geography in the western U.S., and led to an M.A. in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles. His undergraduate studies included a broad study of environmental law, administration, and policy, and supporting disciplines, leading to a B.S. in Conservation of Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.

Center for Collaborative Policy

Ariel Ambruster

Associate Facilitator/Mediator

The Center for Collaborative Policy provides support to the Project on collaborative public outreach and engagement. Ariel Ambruster has seven years of experience in environmental policy and planning process and communication, and 14 years of experience in print journalism. She has facilitated policy and scientific stakeholder processes for state, federal and local agencies, and developed and implemented outreach and stewardship plans. Ms. Ambruster received a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning, with a concentration in Environmental Planning, from the University of California at Berkeley. She also has specialized training in mediation, consensus-building and interest-based negotiation.

Management Structure

Management Structure
Figure: Management Structure