Project Management Team Biographies

Executive Project Manager

Dave Halsing

Executive Project Manager, California State Coastal Conservancy

[email protected], (650) 814-0588

Dave Halsing brings more than 11 years of experience in environmental consulting to the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. At firms including Environmental Science Associates, AECOM, and URS, he has worked on or managed environmental and infrastructure management, restoration, and enhancement projects in and around San Francisco Bay. In seven of those years, he worked on various aspects of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, including its Phase 2 alternatives development, design, environmental analysis documents, and permitting. In the last two years, he worked as a deputy to his predecessor, John Bourgeois, helping to keep all the Project’s pieces in motion while collaborating with the Project Management Team and project partners. Other project work relevant to the Restoration Project involved San Francisco Bay habitat restoration or enhancement, public infrastructure, regulatory processes, alternatives development, and stakeholder or public engagement.

Prior to his consulting career, Dave was a research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. His work focused on integrating economics, spatial data, and decision sciences into the natural and physical sciences that were the USGS’ primary focus. Dave has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He brings a strong project management background and a multidisciplinary approach to this challenging, multi-objective, multi-stakeholder project.  

California State Coastal Conservancy

Evyan Borgnis Sloane

Deputy Regional Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program

Evyan is the Conservancy’s lead for the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project – a flood risk management and salt pond restoration project in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Santa Clara Valley Water District – and helps manage the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. She is generally interested in the ecology and restoration of estuarine ecosystems, spanning from tidal wetlands to aquatic plants and shellfish in inter- and subtidal areas, and outer coast ecosystems like dunes and kelp forests. With the Coastal Conservancy, she specializes in developing and managing innovative coastal and estuarine restoration projects founded in science and resilient to global climate change. Previously at the Conservancy, she managed the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, a group of 18 state and federal agencies working together to implement successful, sustainable, and coordinated wetland restoration projects.

Laura Cholodenko

Project Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program

Laura joined the Coastal Conservancy in 2015 where she works on planning, implementation, and monitoring of tidal wetland restoration projects along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. She also administers grants to non-profit organizations and public agencies implementing urban greening and environmental education programs in communities around the Bay Area. Prior to coming to the Conservancy, she worked at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife where she participated in conservation and restoration planning efforts for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

Shalini Kannan

Project Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Conservancy Program

At the Conservancy, Shalini manages projects and grants around the Bay shoreline involving planning and implementation of marsh and riparian restoration, trails, public access and education, and fire prevention. She’s on the project management teams for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project as well as the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project. Shalini is an active member of the Conservancy’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, and works toward improving public access to outdoor spaces as well as accessibility and inclusivity within other realms of the Conservancy’s work.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Matt Brown

Refuge Complex Manager, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Matthew (Matt) Brown is the Project Leader for the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, overseeing the 7 National Wildlife Refuges in the Bay Area.  Matt served as the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge Manager from 2019-2021.  Prior to joining the SF Bay team, Matt spent the majority of his career focused on conserving the natural and cultural resources of the Pacific while working for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.  Living and working on Guam, Midway Atoll, Maui and Oahu instilled Matt with a deep respect for the diversity of cultures, ecosystems and wildlife found throughout the world. Matt believes that strong partnerships and collaboration are the key to successful conservation, and strives to develop a multi-agency/organization approach to tackle most issues.

Chris Barr

Deputy Complex Manager, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Chris Barr has more than 27 years of experience working on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges, with wide-ranging experiences working to recover threatened and endangered species within refuges and in partnership with others across a larger landscape. Chris devoted more than 10 years of his career to working on the California Condor Recovery Program and has helped to establish new national wildlife refuges. He values working on landscape-level restoration efforts in partnership with states and community organizations. Chris previously worked for the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex from 1997-2000 and returned to the Bay Area in 2015 because of his interest in being a part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. Prior to 2015, Chris managed five national wildlife refuges within the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Ann (Garrett) Spainhower

Refuge Manager, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Ann is joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the new Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge Manager and is super excited to join the National Wildlife Refuge team.  Ann has spent more than 20 years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service where she has focused the bulk of her career implementing the Endangered Species Act. Ann started with NOAA in Seattle, Washington DC, Arcata, and Honolulu and has been a supervisor in NOAA for about 12 years. She has a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College.  While her studies and early career were focused on salmon, Ann has spent more than half of her career conducting risk assessments on a wide variety of protected species from blue whales and leatherback turtles to chambered nautilus and Indo-Pacific corals. As a result, Ann considers herself more of generalist than a species specialist.  

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Greg Martinelli

Wildlife Program Manager

Greg manages the entire Department of Fish and Wildlife Wildlife and Lands Program in the Bay Delta region. He has been with the Department since 2001, working as a water conservation supervisor and on water, environmental review and streambed alteration programs. Previously, he worked for the United States Geological Survey, coordinating all phases of the Napa-Sonoma salt pond project. As district biologist for the Suisun Resource Conservation District in the 1990s, he developed a wetland management plan for 52,000 acres of the Suisun Marsh.

John Krause

Senior Wildlife Supervisor

John Krause is the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor (Wildlife & Unstaffed Lands) for the Bay Delta Region. He managed the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and operated the salt pond complex for over 20 years, including implementing the original Baumberg Tract Restoration Project (the original Ecological Reserve) beginning in 1999. He was involved at the Restoration Project's inception back in 2002 with development of its Initial Stewardship Plan after acquistion and beyond. John now helps guide all unit wildlife biologist staff, staff for other various wildlife management activities for the Department including rare species and game species monitoring, managing other State-owned properties and works in a trustee role for sensitive wildlife resources and conservation projects. He continues to serve as a technical advisor on federal, state, municipal and private wetland resource management projects. John’s background includes earning a Bachelor of Science degree at U.C. Davis in ecology and conservation. Prior to working full-time for the Department, his positions included District Biologist for the Caltrans Oakland office, as well as working as a Department scientific aide, as a crew leader for the Marin County Open Space District trails program, and as an assistant to UC Davis researchers studying Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe Basin old growth forests.

Garrett Allen

Wildlife Biologist, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Garrett is the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Unit Wildlife Biologist for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and the manager for Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward. In this role, Garrett oversees day-to-day operations and maintenance at the Reserve, as well as conducting other monitoring and management duties for threatened and endangered species, tule elk, game species, and human-wildlife-conflict throughout the Bay Delta region. He has worked for the Department's wildlife program since 2021, where he has led a Bay Area deer abundance study. Garrett joined the Department in 2015, and has surveyed wildlife, managed lands, assisted a waterfowl hunting program, responded to conflicts between humans and wildlife, and prepared permits and impact analyses and assessments.

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Judy Nam

Senior Water Resources Specialist

Judy serves as the Valley Water liaison to the Restoration Project.  She also manages the Calabazas Creek and San Tomas Creek Realignment Project and other environmental restoration oriented projects.  She has over 20 years of private and public experience in environmental compliance, pipeline design, water supply planning and operations, and flood protection projects.  She is a licensed civil engineer with an undergraduate degree in civil engineering and a master’s in environmental engineering from UC Berkeley.  

Sunshine Julian

Capital Engineering Manager

Sunshine has been with Valley Water since 1999. She has worked in various functions at Valley Water including community projects review and permit issuance, asset management, and planning, design, and construction of water utility and watershed capital improvement projects.  She currently oversees projects in the watershed design and construction division which includes the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline efforts, partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State Coastal Conservancy to provide flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, and recreation opportunities. She is a licensed civil engineer in the State of California and Project and Program Management Professional certified. 

Roxanne Grillo

Associate Civil Engineer 

Roxanne has over 10 years of experience as a civil engineer and project manager supporting capital improvement projects and joined Valley Water’s watersheds design and construction division in 2019. She serves as a project manager focusing on planning, design, and construction of flood protection and environmental stewardship projects including the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Phase II Feasibility Study in Palo Alto and Mountain View. Prior to joining Valley Water, Roxanne worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Sacramento and San Francisco and the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility Capital Improvement Program. She is a licensed civil engineer in the State of California and holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Neil Hedgecock

Project Manager, San Francisco District

Neil is the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Program Manager and Phase I Project Manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) San Francisco District. The Phase I project is a complex multi-purpose project in San Jose, CA that will deliver substantial flood risk management, ecosystem, and recreation benefits. The project is being implemented in partnership with Valley Water, the California State Coastal Conservancy and USFWS. Neil has worked for USACE for over 20 years in a variety of functions. Prior to his current position, he served as the San Francisco District’s Interagency and Civil Works Branch Chief for over 3 years, overseeing a wide variety of Civil Works projects and significant growth in the portfolio of projects supporting other federal agencies, including VA, DOE, NPS, and EPA. Prior to this, he served as a Project Manager for 10 years at the San Francisco and Europe Districts, managing a wide variety of Civil Works projects (flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, and navigation) and vertical construction projects for DOD and VA. He also previously served for 5 years as an Environmental Manager at the San Francisco District. Neil has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, with a minor in Business Administration. He is a certified Project Management Professional.

Lead Scientist

Donna Ball

Senior Scientist, San Francisco Estuary Institute

[email protected], (510) 746-7346

Donna has worked as a restoration ecologist with more than 15 years of experience in restoring San Francisco Bay's marshes and estuaries.  As a strong conservation leader, scientist, collaborator, and mentor, she has been an important contributor to many important Bay Area projects, including the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Update, the Wetland Regional Monitoring Program, the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project, and others. She most recently served as the Habitat Restoration Director for Save The Bay, where she led a community-based restoration and education program engaged in wetland restoration, and led projects to respond to sea level rise and climate change.  During her time at H.T. Harvey & Associates, Donna helped develop the Restoration Project’s initial restoration plans and science program, as well as working on a wide range of restoration projects throughout California. She graduated with a M.S. degree in Environmental Science with a focus on marine and estuary systems from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.

Through a partnership between the Restoration Project and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), Donna works half-time running the Restoration Project’s Science Program and half-time on other SFEI projects.

CSU Sacramento

Ariel Ambruster

Lead Facilitator/Mediator

CSU Sacramento, via its College of Continuing Education, (formerly the Center for Collaborative Policy) provides support to the Project on collaborative public outreach and engagement. Ariel has more than 14 years of experience in environmental policy and planning facilitation and communication, and 14 years of experience in print journalism. She has facilitated policy and scientific stakeholder processes for state, federal and local agencies, and developed and implemented outreach and stewardship plans. Ariel received a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning, with a concentration in Environmental Planning, from the University of California at Berkeley. She also has specialized training in mediation, consensus-building, and interest-based negotiation.


Management Structure

Management Structure
Figure: Management Structure