Reserve Directors Support National Policy

Nov 30, 2023

Reserve Directors Kawika Winter (left) and Deanna Erickson (right) bring community-informed knowledge and experience to national advisory groups.


Kudos and deep appreciation to two of our Reserve colleagues, who are supporting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) policy and strategy at the national scale.

“NOAA relies on partners like those in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System to help us set policy and invest in strategies that benefit all coastal communities,” says Jainey Bavishi, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy Administrator for NOAA. 

“We welcome the knowledge and insights that come from decades of working directly with community members on the issues that matter most, including how to build resilience as the impacts of climate change are felt around the coastal United States.”

Kawika Winter, Director of the He‘eia Reserve in Hawai‘i, is serving on NOAA’s Ocean Research Advisory Panel. Winter works to integrate Indigenous knowledge in research, policy, and decision making through collaborative management and research. 

Together with the He‘eia team and their many partners, he is advancing the restoration of Indigenous wetland agro-ecology systems (loʻi kalo) and associated aquaculture systems (loko iʻa) that build cultural identity, connection to place, and food self-sufficiency. He is bringing this much needed perspective to the work of the panel, which advises NOAA’s Ocean Policy Committee and provides independent recommendations to the federal government on matters of ocean policy.

“We need Indigenous Knowledge advocates in decision-making positions to bring the changes that this administration is calling for,” said Winter. “My goal is to use my lived and professional experiences to help the Biden Administration translate Indigenous wisdom into policy.”

Deanna Erickson, Director of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Reserve, is a member of NOAA’s inaugural Marine and Coastal Area-based Management Advisory Committee, which advises agency leadership on science-based approaches to the protection, conservation, restoration, and management of our nation’s coastal areas. 

A founding member of the Reserve team, Deanna’s collaborative approach to place-based, outdoor education has touched the lives of thousands of students. As director of the Reserve since 2020, she has prioritized community engagement and partnership with Ojibwe Tribal Nations and commissions to advance holistic conservation and community resilience in the Lake Superior watershed.

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ReservesHe‘eia, Hawai'iReserve Directors Support National Policy