Surfrider’s California Policy Manager, Jennifer Savage, to ‘Help State’s Marine Protected Areas Go Global’

This is a press release from the Surfrider Foundation:

Long a vanguard for ocean protection, California’s state agencies now seek to add the state’s marine protected area (MPA) network to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List. The Green List serves as a global standard highlighting well-managed protected areas contributing to “sustainable development through the conservation of nature and provision of associated social, economic, cultural and spiritual values.” Given that the state’s MPA network is one of the largest ecologically connected in the world with conservation goals that align with the Green List, inclusion looks to be a natural fit – which is why California’s Natural Resources Agency, Ocean Protection Council and Department of Fish and Wildlife are seeking its addition.

However, achieving inclusion first requires the state evaluate its MPAs against IUCN Green List criteria. That requires the formation of an expert assessment group (EAGL) made up of those knowledgeable about California’s ocean. IUCN has selected Surfrider Foundation’s California Policy Manager Jennifer Savage as an EAGL member – and she’s quite thrilled to be included.

From 2009 to 2012, Savage served on a North Coast stakeholder group tasked with creating the region’s collection of marine protected areas (MPAs), which ultimately became the final segment in California’s coast-wide MPA network. “It is no exaggeration to say that the Marine Life Protection Act implementation process arriving on California’s North Coast changed my life,” Savage noted. She credits her prior MPA experience for providing a fast-tracked education on state policy and ocean science.

“Working with everyone on the stakeholder group also furthered my understanding of tribal traditions and the importance of maintaining them, and provided me a chance to find common ground with neighbors I may never have had the chance to know otherwise,” Savage added. As California policy manager, Savage’s current MPA-related efforts focus on education, enforcement, outreach and supporting the MPA Collaboratives.

California is the first – and currently only – state with an MPA network, boasting over 120 of these special places along the state’s 1,100-mile coast. MPAs work by protecting entire ecosystems instead of only single species, which makes them an especially effective tool when it comes to restoration and resiliency. About this new opportunity, Savage said, “I’m thrilled to be selected for EAGL and look forward to working with scientists, educators, tribal representatives, conservationists, agency staff and the fishing community. I’m grateful that my professional path has aligned with my personal commitment to ensure the most effective management of our MPAs – hopefully on a global scale!”

 Drawn from a pool of extremely qualified applicants, the 17 individuals comprising EAGL represent California ocean stakeholders from a diverse array of sectors. The EAGL will visit and evaluate sites within California’s MPA network using IUCN’s Green List criteria. If all criteria are met, the group will recommend that the network be added to the Green List. The initial evaluation process is anticipated to be completed by early 2019.

Deborah Halberstadt, executive director of California’s Ocean Protection Council, remarked on the announcement of the EAGL list. “We at OPC are very excited about the chance to work with such a diverse group of California’s ocean stakeholders,” she said. “Including voices from the scientific, fishing, tribal, business, recreation, and nongovernmental communities on the Green List Expert Assessment Group will allow for an open and fair evaluation of the state’s marine protected area network against IUCN’s global criteria. We look forward to supporting this newly appointed group in their efforts.”

A longtime resident of Humboldt County and part-time resident of San Francisco, Savage spends much of her time traversing the state in pursuit of greater ocean protection, equitable beach access, the preservation of California’s coast and enjoying the ocean, beaches and waves where- and whenever possible. She can be reached at

Further reading:



  • Just west of where Jennifer calls home, is a property called Rudd, where vegetation was removed so carelessly that the geology failed, the dune blew-out taking with it habitat, wildlife and stability. Killing native, natural progression trees and reversing a westward leading pro-grading forest into a degraded forest wasting to the east.

    Jennifer never reported the damages, frightened by the loss of grants that keep her and others in the fat while that which she pretends to care for is obliterated.

    Let’s be real about MPAs- Ron LeValley (Mad River Biologists), the Co-Chair of the MLPA Initiative “Science Advisory Team” for the North Coast that created the alleged “science- based” marine protected areas, was arrested on a $1 million warrant. The warrant accused him of burglary and embezzlement of Yurok Tribe money and conspiracy to commit a crime in collaboration with Roland Raymond, Yurok Tribe Forestry Chair.

    From the AVA;
    Many North Coast residents believe the charges against LeValley call into question the legitimacy of the “science” used to close vast areas of the North Coast to fishing and gathering under the MLPA Initiative — while doing nothing to stop pollution, fracking, oil drilling, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

    “I would like to know how the state of California is going to revise the science advice LeValley provided for the North Coast MLPA Initiative process, based on him filing false documents,” said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA).

    He suggested forming a “truth and reconciliation commission” to unravel “what really happened” in the MLPA Initiative.

    MLPA Initiative science is ‘incomplete and terminally flawed,’ according to Tribes

    The validity of the science employed by the MLPA Initiative Science Advisory Team under LeValley’s leadership becomes even more suspect when one considers that LeValley and the Team repeatedly and inexplicably refused to allow the Yurok Tribe to present their scientific studies regarding “marine protected areas.”

    Between the phony MLPA’s and the thieving Friends of the Dunes, Jennifer stays mute and is therefore complicit in the damages that are our destroyed wetlands and failed geology has left us on the coast.

    • Alt Right For Life

      Nice post, I’ve never been a fan of the MPA it’s just the state taking land using fake science to rally the neo hippies into doing their bidding at the expense of working people.

  • That pic pf all the seals on the beach is really awesome! Looks almost as crowded as a human infested beach on a holiday! Lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *