Ocean protection expert to give Keeley Lecture on Environmental Policy

Amber Mace works to ensure resource management decisions are informed with sound science

Amber Mace has explored the shore and depths of the California coast, including a stint piloting a one-person submersible vessel off the Farallon Islands.
Mace is executive director of the California Ocean Protection Council and Assistant Secretary for Coastal Matters.

Amber Mace, a leading expert on ocean protection policy, will present the fifth Fred Keeley Lecture on Environmental Policy Wednesday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the UC Santa Cruz Music Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Mace, who serves as executive director of the California Ocean Protection Council and assistant secretary for coastal matters, grew up along the California coast. She has spent many years exploring the coast's shores and depths, including diving for a sunken Spanish galleon off Point Reyes and piloting a one-person submersible near the Farallon Islands.

Understanding the value of a coastal economy to all Californians, Mace is dedicated to ensuring resource management decisions are informed with sound science, are outcome driven, and cost effective.

Her lecture is titled "The Future of Our Oceans: The Time is Now." Mace will discuss the state of the oceans and the importance of science in decision making as well as some highlights from the "California and the World Ocean 2010 Conference" held last month in San Francisco.

Mace holds a doctorate in ecology from UC Davis and relies on her background in marine ecology and ocean policy to guide the state in developing policies that promote the sustainable use of California’s ocean ecosystem. She is a former executive director of the California Ocean Science Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing objective, high-quality science to decision makers.

She also served as science advisor to the Ocean Protection Council created as part of the California Ocean Protection Act and signed into law in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the federal level, Mace worked as a Knauss marine policy fellow for the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and at the state level as a California Sea Grant fellow at the California Natural Resources Agency.

The Keeley Lecture series is named in honor of Fred Keeley, a Santa Cruz County civic leader and former member of the State Assembly, who for many years has helped shape environmental policy in California. It aims to foster discussion and awareness of major environmental challenges and the role of environmental policy in reaching solutions.

"Amber Mace continues in the tradition of previous presenters," Keeley said. "A tradition of outstanding thinkers and practitioners who are leading positive change in state and national policy regarding the multiple challenges to our natural environment.  It is an honor to have her present this year's lecture."

Previous speakers have been former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt; Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb; climate expert Benjamin Santer; and Jane Lubchenco, now administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Mace earned a bachelor's degree in geography from UC Berkeley. Before graduate school at UC Davis and the Bodega Marine Laboratory, she took part as an archeological research diver in a NOAA and National Parks Service-led search for the wreck of the San Agustin – a Spanish galleon that sank off Point Reyes in 1595. She also was trained to pilot a one-person submersible through a NOAA/National Geographic Sustainable Seas Expedition to explore the depths of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Parking is available at the Performing Arts parking lot for $3.