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Santa Monica-based Heal The Bay Marks Turning Point  
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By Jorge Casuso

May 12, 2017 -- Heal the Bay marked what will likely be a turning point this week when Dr. Shelley Luce took the reins after a nationwide search led to the Santa Monica-based non-profit's own backyard.

A staunch advocate of reshaping non-profits to meet future challenges, Luce -- who headed Environment Now based in Santa Monica -- has been tasked with re-envisioning the scope of the organization's "advocacy and education programs," officials said.

The hiring marks a transition for the grassroots all-volunteer organization formed three decades ago to lead the fight to keep Hyperion from dumping sewage into Santa Monica Bay, officials said.

Shelley Luce and the Stream Team Waders
Shelley Luce (Photo courtesy of Heal the Bay)

“The environmental landscape in greater L.A. is changing dramatically, and so Heal the Bay must transform,” said Craig Perkins, Heal the Bay's board chairman and a former Public Works director for the City of Santa Monica.

“As a trusted partner in the community, people are counting on us to provide leadership locally to help solve problems that are increasingly national and global in scope.”

The problems, Heal the Bay officials said, include threats posed to the region -- from global warming to an uncertain water supply.

"While focused on the core mission of clean water and healthy watersheds, (Luce)will implement strategies to better engage Southern California in battling the broader, intertwined environmental risks facing our region," Heal the Bay officials said when she was hired last month.

The post she assumed on Monday marks a homecoming for Luce, who holds a Doctorate of Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA and served as a staff scientist for Heal the Bay from 2001 to 2005.

She spearheaded the successful fight to implement the state’s first zero-trash policy in L.A. River before going on to hold director positions at the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and its nonprofit partner, The Bay Foundation.

The work of those organizations meshes with Heal the Bay’s mission, said Luce.

“Protecting our water and our larger environment is more important -- and challenging -- than ever," Luce said when she was hired to replaced interim president Stephanie Medina, a longtime board member who had served since July.

"I’m confident we’ll find innovative ways to get the job done, bringing in new practices and new partners.”

The board, organization officials said, "has given Luce a mandate to re-examine policy priorities, form smart strategic alliances, and grow public participation across the entire swath of greater Los Angeles."

A native of Canada, Luce is an avid surfer whose favorite memory of the sea was "being startled, and then thrilled, and then mesmerized by a whale surfacing just a few feet away from me in Santa Monica Bay."


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