External Advisory Committee


EAC member Peter Buck

Peter Buck

Senior Consultant--Natural Resources Planning and Ecosystem Restoration, GEI Consultants

Peter Buck is a senior environmental Professional with over 30 years of experience in planning, designing and implementing natural resource programs and projects across a variety of landscape types, scale and jurisdictions. He is a subject matter expert and strategic advisor in environmental/natural resources policy, landscape level conservation planning, ecosystem restoration and related science programs, and has led the successful implementation of habitat enhancements and resource protections into the execution of complex, large scale multi-benefit flood system improvement programs. Prior to joining GEI, Peter served as the Director of Natural Resources for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA). He holds a B.Sc. in Forestry from the University of Toronto. 



Environmental Policy & Management EAC member Ashley Conrad-Saydah of CalEPAAshley Conrad-Saydah

Deputy Secretary for Climate, California Environmental Protection Agency

Ashley Conrad-Saydah has served as Deputy Secretary for Climate Policy at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) since 2012. She works on issues from land use to vehicle emissions to community engagement to help improve public and natural resource health while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to joining CalEPA, Ashley served as California’s Renewable Energy Program Manager for the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, beginning her tenure as a Presidential Management Fellow.  Ashley received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her master’s degree from the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she was a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow.


Environmental Policy & Management EAC member Jenn Eckerle of the Ocean Protection CouncilJenn Eckerle

Deputy Director, Ocean Protection Council

 Jenn Eckerle joined OPC in December 2016. As OPC’s Deputy Director, she is responsible for supervising staff and helping set the strategic priorities for coast and ocean policy in California. Before joining OPC, Jenn spent eight years as an ocean policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she conducted technical analysis and developed policy recommendations to advance ocean conservation. Prior to that, she was a coastal program analyst for the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.  Jenn earned an M.S. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Vermont.



Environmental Policy & Management EAC member Ellen Hanak of PPICEllen Hanak

Senior Fellow and Director, Public Policy Institute of California's Water Policy Center

Ellen Hanak is director of the PPIC Water Policy Center and a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, where she holds the Ellen Hanak Chair in Water Policy. She has authored dozens of reports, articles, and books on water policy, including Managing California’s Water. Her research is frequently profiled in the national media, and she participates in briefings, conferences, and interviews throughout the nation and around the world. Her other areas of expertise include climate change and infrastructure finance. Previously, she served as research director at PPIC. Before joining PPIC, she held positions with the French agricultural research system, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and the World Bank. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Maryland.



Environmental Policy & Management EAC member Doug Ito of the CA Air Resources BoardDoug Ito

California Public Utilities Commission

Doug Ito is the Director of the Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission. Mr. Ito has over 18 years of experience in transportation and air quality issues. He has a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning and an M.S. in Transportation Technology and Policy, both from UC Davis.



Environmental Policy & Management EAC member Chris Larsen of New Island CapitalChris Larsen

President, New Island Capital

Chris is the President and Chief Executive Officer of New Island Capital. In this capacity, Chris directs New Island’s investment program including portfolio strategy, asset allocation and risk management. Previously, Chris worked as an independent farmland investment and conservation finance consultant. Chris completed a BS at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and an MBA at the Yale School of Management. Marin County focused on organic vegetable and fruit production. 


Environmental Policy & Management EAC member Felicia Marcus, formerly of the State Water Resources BoardFelicia Marcus

Chair (2012-Feb. 2019), State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia was appointed in 2012 to serve as the Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board until February 2019. Before her appointment to the Water Board, Marcus served in positions in government, the non-profit world, and the private sector. She currently serves or has served in the past on many non-profit boards and Advisory Councils including the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council, Sustainable Conservation, USC-Kesten Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. Additionally, she was an Obama Administration appointee to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation-Joint Public Advisory Council (US, Mexico, Canada) and was a Schwarzenegger Administration appointee to the Delta Stewardship Council prior to being appointed to the Water Board.


Environmental Policy and Management EAC member Lois Wolk, former CA State Senator

Lois Wolk

State Senator (2008-2012), California State Senate

 Lois Walk represented California’s 3rd Senate District, which encompasses Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region and portions of the North Bay Area from 2008-2016. Before she was a member of the Senate, she served in the California State Assembly. Wolk was the first woman to chair the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and authored the Wild and Scenic Protection Act for Cache Creek. She is also a former member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and the Davis City Council. In 2016, she served as the Governance Fellow for the UC Center Sacramento program. She received her B.A. from Antioch College and an M.A. from Johns Hopskins School of Advanced International Studies.