Sikich Promoted to Vice President of Heal the Bay

Nov. 4, 2014 — We’ve got some exciting news to share: Veteran environmental advocate Sarah Abramson Sikich has been promoted to vice president of Heal the Bay.

Sikich, who most recently served as our Director of Science and Policy for Coastal Resources, will now focus on broadening Heal the Bay’s partnerships with diverse stakeholders to improve water quality and ocean health throughout Southern California. As a longtime marine scientist, she will be charged with broadening applied research to better inform our numerous policy efforts.

The promotion completes a recent management restructuring, which saw Alix Hobbs appointed president and CEO in September.

“Sarah brings scientific credibility, years of institutional knowledge and tireless passion to all that Heal the Bay does,” Hobbs said. “She will be a great partner as we embark on our next 10-year strategic plan.” 

Sikich, who joined Heal the Bay in 2005, has led several successful campaigns for Heal the Bay during her tenure. She worked with the state to design and implement a network of Marine Protected Areas in Southern California; advanced a policy to phase out harmful once-through cooling technology at coastal power plants in California; and successfully advocated for policies preventing plastic pollution, such as the recent statewide plastic bag ban.

“It’s an exciting time for Heal the Bay,” said Sikich, “With our 30th anniversary in 2015, we have the opportunity to reflect on the major water quality and ocean health improvements that have been made in the Santa Monica Bay over the past few decades, while charting a new course to address emerging challenges and threats.”

Heal the Bay’s Science and Policy Department has led several water quality improvement efforts over the past five years, including the adoption of landmark regional water quality regulations, predictive modeling research for beach water quality, and measures to advance low impact development in the Los Angeles County area, which will clean up local waters and enhance local water supply.

In the coming year, we’ll address a number of growing threats to our local environment, including a need for integrated water management to improve water quality and local water supply, fighting to keep oil drilling out of Hermosa Beach, and research and planning efforts to help local communities adapt to climate change.

As a result of the promotion, Heal the Bay is in the process of hiring a Science and Policy Director to oversee the department’s advocacy, policy and government relations.  The position will report to Sikich.

 Sikich has a master’s degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB and a bachelor’s degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of New Hampshire. Before joining Heal the Bay, she worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and Catalina Island Marine Institute. 

                     Sikich, right, helped lead Heal the Bay’s successful push to implement plastic bag ban in L.A.