Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Local Chumash Chairwoman appointed to Federal Ocean Research Advisory Panel

August 4, 2023


San Luis Obispo, CA – August 1, 2023, Violet Sage Walker, Chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council and nominator of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, was one of only 18 members appointed to the federal Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP). She is joined by representatives from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, ocean industries, state, Tribal, territorial or local governments, and academia.

“I’m honored to be part of such a great team and to represent the California Central Coast in this federal arena. This is a critical time to uplift the importance of the Central Coast’s local voices and ecosystems in global ocean conservation. It is crucial to have our Indigenous voices represented in ocean policy, science, and more. This panel is a reflection of the current administration’s prioritization of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and meaningful Tribal consultation,” said Northern Chumash Tribal Council Chairwoman Violet Sage Walker.

The Ocean Policy Committee (OPC) requested public nominations through a Federal Register Notice summer 2022. Members were appointed August 2023 by the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who co-chair of the interagency OPC.

“The ocean has never been more important – it regulates our climate and provides jobs, nourishment, recreation and respite. These experts will provide the Ocean Policy Committee with the technical and policy advice to support ocean health and a strong blue economy,” said Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and co-chair of the OPC. “Their deep knowledge and diverse backgrounds will be invaluable in advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s ocean priorities.”

“Formation of the Ocean Research Advisory Panel is a major milestone for U.S. ocean science and policy, and reinforces the President’s historic commitments to tackle climate change while creating good jobs, embracing environmental justice and basing action on science and knowledge,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Coming from industry, universities and civil society, the ORAP members bring depth of experience and diversity of perspectives on the ocean from across our nation. ORAP will help guide federal government efforts to tackle some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for our ocean, in conjunction with states, tribes, territories, communities, businesses and the broader marine community.”

The new ORAP members are:

  • Violet Sage Walker, Northern Chumash Tribal Council
  • Claudia Benitez-Nelson, National Academies’ Ocean Studies Board; University of South Carolina 
  • Derek Brockbank, Coastal States Organization
  • Jorge Corredor, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (retired)
  • Danielle Dickson, North Pacific Research Board
  • Tim Gallaudet, Ocean STL Consulting, LLC
  • Mary Glackin, National Academies’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
  • Eunah Hoh, San Diego State University
  • Sandra Knight, Marine Board of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board; WaterWonks LLC
  • Tommy Moore, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
  • Christopher Ostrander, Marine Technology Society 
  • Claire Beatrix Paris-Limouzy, Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric & Earth Science, University of Miami
  • Purnima Ratilal-Makris, Northeastern University
  • Edward Saade, Circum-Pacific Council; EJS Solutions
  • Ana Spalding, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Oregon State University
  • Amy Trice, Northeast Regional Ocean Council
  • Maria Tzortziou, The City College of New York, City University of New York
  • Kawika Winter, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai’i 

“I am pleased to see the new advisory panel in place and ready to start tackling national ocean research priorities and helping improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the ocean sciences,” said Steve Thur, Ph.D., NOAA assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. 

The ORAP’s responsibilities include advising the OPC on:

  • policies and procedures to implement the National Oceanographic Partnership Program
  • matters relating to national oceanographic science, engineering, facilities or resource requirements; 
  • improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the ocean sciences and related fields;
  • national ocean research priorities; and 
  • additional responsibilities that the OPC considers appropriate.

ORAP management falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA Research’s Office of Science Support will support the day-to-day activities of ORAP and will carry out various statutory responsibilities for administration of the panel.

Congress directed the establishment of the ORAP in Section 1055(c) of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Pub. L. 116-283), 10 U.S.C. 8933. The ORAP advises the OPC and provides independent recommendations to the Federal Government on matters of ocean research policy.

The ORAP is governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees. 

Visit the ORAP Webpage to learn more about ORAP and to follow its activities and accomplishments.

Media contacts: 

Gianna Patchen, Campaign Manager, Northern Chumash Tribal Council,

Monica Allen, NOAA Communications,, or call 202-379-6693

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