California Water Quality Monitoring Council Members

Karen Mogus

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.

Greg Gearheart, P.E.

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.

Jenn Ekerle

Council Chair, Executive Director Jenn Ekerle, California Natural Resources Agency

Governor Newsom appointed Jenn Eckerle as Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency on January 11, 2023. In this role, Jenn serves as a key advisor to the Governor and the Secretary for Natural Resources and directs policy, scientific research, and critical partnerships to increase protection of California’s coast and ocean as the Executive Director of the Ocean Protection Council (OPC). Jenn has been the Deputy Director at OPC since 2016, where she helped set strategic priorities for ocean and coastal conservation, led a team of 13 permanent staff, and managed all aspects of operations including organizational and program budgets and workforce planning. She was an Ocean Policy Analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council from 2008 to 2016, Coastal Program Analyst at the California Coastal Commission from 2007 to 2008, and Coastal Program Analyst at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission from 2000 to 2007. She represents OPC on the 30×30 Partnership Coordinating Committee, serves as California’s co-lead for the West Coast Ocean Alliance, and is a Program Advisor of the UC Davis Graduate Program of Environmental Policy and Management. She represents CNRA as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and an alternate on the California Coastal Commission and serves on the Boards of California Sea Grant and California Ocean Science Trust. Eckerle earned a Master of Science degree in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Kaitlyn Kalua, Deputy Director
Ocean Protection Council

Alternate Council Chair, Kaitlyn Kalua, Deputy Director Ocean Protection Council

Kaitlyn Kalua is the Deputy Director of the Ocean Protection Council (OPC). In this role, Kaitlyn is responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programs, and procedures to advance OPC’s strategic priorities across climate, biodiversity, equity, and supporting a sustainable blue economy. Kaitlyn served as OPC’s Water Quality Program Manager from November 2021 to July 2023, where she led policy initiatives and programs to protect and improve coastal and marine water quality, including but not limited to the development and implementation of the Statewide Microplastics Strategy. Kaitlyn came to OPC with experience in water quality regulation and policy, equitable water access, coastal adaptation planning, and federal ocean policy. Prior to joining OPC, Kaitlyn served as Policy Manager for the California Coastkeeper Alliance and previously as a Knauss Sea Grant fellow with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Kaitlyn received her J.D. and Environmental Law certificate from the University of California, Davis School of Law.

Andrew Altevogt, P.E., Ph.D.

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

Christine Sotelo, Alternate Council Member, 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.

Council Member, Division Chief Anthony Chu, California Department of Public Health

Anthony Chu serves as the Chief of the Division of Radiation Safety and Environmental Management in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) since 2017. Anthony 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 has managed CDPH’s drinking water chemistry/radiochemistry laboratory. Previously, he was an environmental program manager for the Department of Water Resources for six years where he managed water and environmental resources for the Division of Operations and Maintenance. From 1997 – 2011, he managed the stormwater and the hazardous materials/waste programs for the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department. Prior to joining Sacramento County, Anthony worked in the environmental engineering industry focusing on the remediation of Department of Defense contaminated sites. Anthony received his undergraduate degrees in Biology and economics and graduate degree in Environmental Management.

Alternate Council Member, 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.

Lorien Fono

Council Member, 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.

Samuel Choi

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.

Grant Sharp

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.

Brian Laurenson

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.

Mark Cady

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.

Helen Fitanides

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.

Ray Heimstra

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.

Fred Birones

Alternate Council Member, Tribal Member Fred Briones, Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians.

Fred Briones age 42 is a Tribal member at the Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians located in Lakeport, CA. He poses a B.A. Chemistry and M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii and practices as a traditional basket weaver for the Mission Roundhouse. With over 10 years of experience as a water & wastewater utilities director in CA, NM and HI. He is currently the CEO of the Native American Fiber Program that is a national non-profit organization that supports traditional fiber art and industrial hemp fiber manufacturing on Indian Lands. His most impactful work includes influencing Fortune 500 companies of the research and development of hemp at the Center of Bio Plastics and Bio Composites. Fred strongly feels his primary goal of being a member of the council is to elevate the scope around microplastics found in the water.

Steven B. Weisberg PhD.

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.

Krista Kamer

Council Member, 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.

Steve Blumenshine

Alternate Council Member, Steve Blumenshine, Executive Director California State University - WATER

Dr. Blumenshine is the Executive Director of CSU-WATER, moving from the Directing the Research & Education Division of the California Water Institute at Fresno State University. CSU-WATER (Water Advocacy for Education and Research) is a rebranding of the WRPI Affinity Group. CSU-WATER develops and strengthens water research and scholarship in the CSU in collaboration with external partners and other water stakeholders. These efforts focus on critical impacts of stressed water resources on agricultural, urban, and environmental water allocations. Blumenshine’s International water research experience includes two U.S. Fulbright Awards, and engagement in China, Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Thailand, Australia, and Spain. His degree trajectory includes a PhD from the University of Notre Dame, MS from George Mason University, and BS at the University of Wisconsin.

Peter S. Vroom PhD

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.

Adam Quinonez

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.