California Water Quality Monitoring Council Members
Council Chair, Karen Mogus, Deputy Director, State Water Board
Karen Mogus is the Deputy Director for the State Water Board’s Division of Water Quality and is responsible for statewide water quality planning, policy development and implementation, statewide permitting, and establishing consistency among the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Prior to joining the Division of Water Quality, Ms. Mogus served as the Assistant Deputy Director of the Division of Drinking Water where she directed the development of a regulatory framework for potable reuse of recycled water, worked to address drinking water quality issues in disadvantaged communities, and led the review of the state’s environmental laboratory accreditation program. She also has served as Director of the State Water Board’s Office of Information Management and Analysis and spent 10 years at the Central Valley Regional Water Board working on a variety of water quality control and assessment programs.
Alternate Council Chair, Greg Gearheart, P.E., Deputy Director, State Water Board
Greg is a Deputy Director at the California State Water Resources Control Board in the Office of Information Management and Analysis. Prior to this appointment about four years ago Greg served as the statewide Storm Water Program Manager for about seven years. In his 25 years at this organization Greg has worked in many different program areas, including wetlands, watershed management, organizational development and enforcement. Greg received a BS in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University and grew up behind the redwood curtain.
Council Chair, Mark Gold, Executive Director, Ocean Protection Council; Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy, California Natural Resources Agency
Mark Gold joined Ocean Protection Council (OPC) in July of 2019. As Executive Director of OPC and the Deputy Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy for the California Natural Resources Agency, Mark serves as a key advisor to Governor and the Secretary of Natural Resources and directs policy, scientific research, and critical partnerships to increase protection of coastal and ocean resources in California. Prior to his appointment, he was the UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability where he led their Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge effort. Prior to UCLA, Mark was the first hire at Heal the Bay, where he served as their President for 18 years. During that time, he worked on ocean and coastal legislation and policy, stormwater, watershed management, and marine conservation and coastal restoration issues, projects and programs. Over the course of his career, his research focused on beach water quality and health risks, as well as sustainable water resources management. Mark received his bachelor’s and master’s in Biology as well as his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering, all from UCLA.
Alternate Council Member, Chad Dibble, representing the California Natural Resources Agency
Chad Dibble started his career with the State of California in 2000 where he worked at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and was responsible for implementing a water quality monitoring program in the San Joaquin River watershed. Since moving over to the Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2007, Chad’s time has included working on complex cross-region programs involving water operations, grant administration, and program development. Chad now serves as the Deputy Director over the Ecosystem Conservation Division where he is responsible for several Departmental Branch functions that involve water policy, conservation engineering, grant administration, environmental review and permitting, and restoration and conservation planning. Chad holds a BS degree in Biological Science from the California State University, Sacramento and has a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with federal, state, and local partners.
Council Member, Andrew Altevogt, P.E., Ph.D., representing the California Drinking Water Program.
Dr. Altevogt is Assistant Deputy Director for the Division of Drinking Water at the State Water Board. Dr. Altevogt oversees the SAFER and Quality Assurances sections of the Division. Prior to joining the Division of Drinking Water, he served as the Assistant Executive Officer at the Central Valley Water Board for 7 years. Dr. Altevogt started his career with the State of California, working on climate change policy in the CalEPA Office of the Secretary. He has research experience in transport in porous media and theoretical fluid dynamics. Dr. Altevogt is a California Registered Civil Engineer. He received undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Environmental Engineering from MIT, and a Ph.D in Hydrologic Sciences from UC Davis.
Christine Sotelo, Manager, California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program.
Christine Sotelo is the Chief of California's Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program and began her career in environmental and public health protection in 1999 when she took on leadership roles at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has expertise in the areas of water quality monitoring and assessment; municipal storm water program permitting and auditing; water quality investigations and multi-agency enforcement actions; CEQA compliance, emergency management, public participation and environmental justice. Prior to taking charge of California ELAP she managed California's Small Municipal Storm Water Program and advanced the state’s regulation of storm water quality by developing rules and policies for protecting California waters. She served as Board of Director for the Laguna Creek Watershed Council and is the current Ex Officio Board of Director for the California Society of Environmental Analysts.
Deputy Director, Mark Starr, Environmental Health California Department of Public Health
Mark Starr was reappointed by Governor Newsom in 2020 as the Deputy Director for Environmental Health in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Since 2012, he has led the Center for Environmental Health and he is the designated State Environmental Health Director. Mark is involved with several water-related programs, such as shellfish safety, recreational water safety, harmful algal blooms, wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2, contaminants of emerging concern, and climate change and health. And he is CDPH’s liaison to various state and local environmental agencies. Previously, he was the Director of Public Health for Placer County for five years; he was with CDPH’s Division of Communicable Disease Control for 12 years, including four years as Division Chief; and he was the Chief Epidemiologist for Sacramento County from 1990-1995. Mark has also served in numerous leadership roles for various organizations in public health, veterinary medicine, and other areas at national, state and local levels. Mark received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) degrees from the University of California, Davis and spent four years in private veterinary practice after graduation before entering public health. He is board certified in both Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, and has taught courses in public health in the School of Medicine at UC Davis and at California State University Sacramento.
Alternate: David Mazzera, Manager, Division of Food and Drug Safety, California Department of Public Health
Dr. Dave Mazzera is the Chief of the Division of Food and Drug Safety with the California Department of Public Health. He has been with Public Health since 2003 and has served in both technical and leadership roles in various programs, including the Emergency Preparedness Office, the Drinking Water Program, and the Food and Drug Branch. He has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Toxicology from UC Davis, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Health from the University Nevada Reno.
Executive Director, Lorien Fono, Regulated Community - Publicly Owned Treatment Works
Dr. Fono is the Executive Director of the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA), a joint powers agency whose members include the many municipalities and special districts that provide sanitary sewer services to more than 7.1 million people. She has more than 15 years of experience in wastewater, recycled water, stormwater regulatory compliance, water resources management, and wastewater treatment planning. Her background also includes research of water and air quality issues, with a focus on the occurrence, fate, and transport of emerging wastewater-derived contaminants. Dr. Fono holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Toronto, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science, both from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a licensed Professional Civil Engineer in California.
Alternate Council Member, Samuel Choi, representing Regulated Wastewater
Samuel Choi is the manager for the Environmental Laboratory and Ocean Monitoring Division at the Orange County Sanitation District. He has been working in the wastewater sector for more than 12 years, previously serving as a microbiologist focusing on both compliance and research related work. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Microbiology from the University of California Irvine, and a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from the California State University Fullerton.
Council Member, Grant Sharp, representing regulated stormwater
Grant Sharp is Manager of the South Orange County Watershed Management Area for Orange County Public Works. Prior to that, he served as Manager of the Environmental Monitoring Division for five years and throughout his career with the County, which began in 2001, he has helped develop, implement, and monitor/measure the effectiveness of programs to improve watershed health and protect beneficial uses of water bodies in Orange County. He is currently serving as Chair of the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition and teaches courses on Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure at Santiago Canyon Community College. Grant holds a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Alternate Council Member, Brian Laurenson, P.E., representing regulated stormwater
Brian Laurenson is an Executive Vice President at Larry Walker Associates supporting development and implementation of surface water quality monitoring programs for municipal stormwater agencies throughout California for the last twenty-five years. He has designed and implemented monitoring programs to evaluate and model urban runoff water quality characterizations and loading assessments, best management practice and low impact development effectiveness evaluations, sources of bacteria and pathogens studies, and aquatic toxicity evaluations. He currently is the CASQA Monitoring and Science Subcommittee Co-Chair and serves on the Delta Regional Monitoring Program Technical Advisory Committee. Brian holds degrees in environmental engineering from the University of California at Davis and University of California at Berkeley.
Council Member, Amrith Gunasekara PhD., representing agriculture
Dr. Gunasekara is Science Advisor to Secretary Ross at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He works on agricultural issues as they relate to the environment and seeks to find proactive, creative, flexible and practical solutions. His focus areas include plant nutrient management, climate change and environmental stewardship. He is the CDFA liaison to the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel which is looking at highlighting the many benefits afforded by agriculture beyond food, fiber, and economic benefits. Dr. Gunasekara received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and completed his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry. He has been in his CDFA position since August 2011.
Alternate Council Member, Mark Cady, representing agriculture
Mark Cady supervises the Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) within the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). FERP coordinates a grant program and an annual conference. which relies on outreach to growers and their consultants, and the research and extension communities. FREP also maintains working relationships with Water Board agricultural programs and consults often with the CDFA executive office about water quality and regulatory issues. Prior to working at CDFA Mark was at the Central Valley Regional Water Board for four years working in the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. Mark also had a career as a sustainable agriculture activist focusing on on-farm practices that improve environmental outcomes in orchard crops. Mark received a MS in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis.
Council Member, Helen Fitanides, representing community monitoring groups
Helen Fitanides works to involve communities in their local watersheds through monitoring creek water quality, benthic macroinvertebrates, and Olympia oysters in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is passionate about both the scientific and educational aspects of these programs, and worked in the scientific research field before joining the Bay Area nonprofit The Watershed Project in 2015. Helen also heads the Contra Costa Watershed Forum’s Creek Monitoring Subcommittee, where she facilitates the exchange of technical expertise and monitoring equipment with community scientists, and coordinates creek monitoring throughout Contra Costa County. She is also an active member of the Citizen Science Association, and a board member of Friend of Five Creeks. Helen’s background is in biology, and she holds a bachelor’s degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
Council Member, Ray Heimstra, representing the public
Ray Hiemstra has spent the last nineteen years at Orange County Coastkeeper working to preserve, protect, and restore coastal and inland water quality and habitat. As Associate Director of Programs his work includes water quality advocacy, policy development, Marine Protected Areas, species and habitat restoration and water and sediment monitoring. Ray is a member of numerous committees and workgroups including the California Water Monitoring Council, Port of LA/Long Beach Harbor Safety Committee and Newport Bay Management Committee. Ray has a B.A. in Geography form California State University Long Beach.
Council Member, Steven B. Weisberg PhD., representing the scientific community – non academic
Dr. Stephen Weisberg is Executive Director of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority, a research consortium formed by 14 California water quality agencies to ensure a solid scientific foundation for their management activities. Dr. Weisberg’s research emphasis is in developing tools to support implementation of, and data interpretation from, environmental monitoring programs. Beyond his research activities, Dr. Weisberg focuses on linking the needs of the management community with science. He serves on numerous advisory committees, including the State of California’s Clean Beach Task Force, the California Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team, and the California Sea Grant Program Advisory Council. Dr. Weisberg received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.
Director, Krista Kamer, California State University COAST, representing the scientific community – academic
Dr. Krista Kamer has led the development of COAST since its inception in 2008 and has served as the program's director since 2011. As the Director, she oversees all of COAST's activities with emphasis on implementing programmatic initiatives to serve CSU faculty members and students, increasing student success, developing strategic partnerships and engaging stakeholders, and pursuing extramural funding. Krista joined the CSU in 2003 and initially helped coordinate two large, multi-year, multimillion-dollar ocean observing programs in California, including statewide high-frequency surface-current mapping efforts. She also conducted data analysis and synthesis for the State Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP). Prior to her work with the CSU, Krista was a project scientist at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project and worked on total maximum daily load (TMDL) and environmental quality issues. Krista has a strong background in marine ecology, field work and experimental design. She earned her PhD in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BA in biology from Connecticut College.
Alternate Council Member, Boykin Witherspoon, representing the scientific community – academic
Mr. Witherspoon's experience includes the administration of all aspects of the management for the Water Resources and Policy Initiatives including: strategic planning and budgeting; promotion with community, universities and industry; liaison with government and advisory boards; program management; development and oversight of contracts and grants; hiring and supervision of staff; and training and publications efforts. Additionally, Mr. Witherspoon’s professional experience includes managing multidisciplinary teams of designers, engineers, scientist and software developers addressing natural resource issues on international projects Mr. Witherspoon is also an accomplished professor in Landscape Architecture with studio teaching experience at both the graduate and undergraduate level as well as a successful director of multiple institutes and centers. Mr. Witherspoon has a proven track record both professionally and in academics of acquiring funding for projects and enabling others to do so.
Council Member Peter S. Vroom PhD., representing the water supply sector
Dr. Peter Vroom is a Deputy Director in the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department and is responsible for oversight of San Diego’s environmental monitoring labs related to drinking water, wastewater, recycled water, receiving waters, and air quality. He has extensive knowledge of water and wastewater regulations, ecosystem monitoring, and laboratory analyses. Dr. Vroom serves as the City of San Diego’s Alternate Commissioner for the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP), sits on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Alliance of POTWs (SCAP), and is a Research Associate at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Before joining the City of San Diego, Dr. Vroom worked as a Principal Investigator and Chief Scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, Hawaii where he designed a marine botany monitoring program that assessed changes to algal community dynamics due to climate change on U.S.-held islands across the tropical Pacific.
Alternate Council Member, Adam Quiñonez, State Relations Director, representing the water supply sector
Adam Quiñonez serves as the State Relations Director at the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) overseeing a team of state legislative and regulatory advocates and analysts as they engage on a broad range of natural resources issues. Adam began his career at ACWA in 2018 as Senior Legislative Advocate working on issues such as state budget, groundwater, water quality, water conservation, and energy. Prior to joining ACWA, Adam served in Governor Brown’s administration as Legislative Director at the Department of Consumer Affairs where he had previously served as Assistant Legislative Director since 2015. At the Department of Consumer Affairs Adam worked on a number of issues related to consumer protection and led in the development of a medical cannabis regulatory framework in California. Adam has over a decade of state legislative experience having worked at several state departments and agencies in his career. Adam received a Bachelor of Arts from U.C. Davis and lives in Sacramento with his wife, Nicole, and two sons Harrison and Beckett.
Council Member (non-voting), Terrence Fleming, representing U.S. EPA
Terry Fleming has worked at the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 in San Francisco since 1991. He did his undergrad from UC Berkeley and received a Master’s in marine ecology from UMass/ Boston. Prior to his work at EPA, he worked for 4 years at the New England Division of the Army Corps of Engineers assessing environmental impacts of Corp projects. Terry has spent most of his career at EPA working with monitoring programs to inform management decisions. In the 1990s he reviewed and assessed large data sets from ocean wastewater monitoring programs to evaluate waivers from secondary treatment. He also played a critical role in the development of the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Programs. He has also worked with the EMAP program and the National Aquatic Resource Surveys. He has been involved with the State Water Board’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program since 2005. Terry is the EPA Region 9 Water Quality Standards Coordinator and oversees California’s 303(d) listing process.