Our Team

Bruce Reznik, Executive Director
Michael Quill, Marine Programs Director
Arthur PugsleySenior Attorney
Melissa KellyStaff Attorney
Ian Jacobson, Dive Program Manager
Melissa von MayrhauserWatershed Programs Manager
Sharon Soormaghen (Licht), Communications Manager
Rebecca Light, Office Manager
Geraldine Burrola, Development Manager
Mithsy Hernandez, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Hannah Sands, Climate Corps AmeriCorps Fellow
Michelle Lin, Climate Corps AmeriCorps Fellow

Our Stories

_9M27513-1Bruce Reznik – Executive Director

Bruce Reznik took the helm of LA Waterkeeper (LAW) in September 2015, where he directs the organization’s advocacy and programmatic work. Reznik previously spent eleven years running San Diego Coastkeeper, where- under his direction- the organization grew into the region’s most effective voice for clean water and helped dramatically reduce sewage, stormwater and industrial pollution of area waterways and educated and engaged tens of thousands of San Diegans in clean water efforts.

Immediately prior to joining LAW, Bruce served as Executive Director for San Diego Housing Federation, where he promoted affordable housing and sustainable community development to ensure all San Diegans could afford a safe and stable place to call home. He also has led the Sacramento-based Planning Conservation League, where he directed the organization’s efforts to promote sustainable water, land-use and transportation policies for California, as well as the Sustainable San Diego collaborative dedicated to ensuring the long-term vitality of the San Diego/Tijuana region’s communities, environment, and economy by strengthening and integrating regional planning. Bruce also worked to promote sustainable land-use and transportation planning for the LA based consulting firm Gladstein, Neandross & Associates.

A California-licensed attorney, Reznik holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and his law degree from the University of San Diego.

Reznik has served as an Alternate on the California Coastal Commission, and has sat on numerous local, state and national boards and commissions, including the international Waterkeeper Alliance for six years. After too many years away from Los Angeles, Bruce is thrilled to be back home with his rescue dogs, Sasha and Bandit.


captn quill 3-9-14Michael Quill – Marine Programs Director

Michael Quill is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute where he holds a MA in the field with a focus in Community, Liberation and Ecopsychology. He also holds a BA in Urban Community Environment & Psychology from Antioch University.

Michael is leading the expansion of LA Waterkeeper’s Community Programs, which are focused on building bridges of dialogue between diverse community stakeholders through various outreach, education and interactive, environmental advocacy activities in, on, and around the waters of Los Angeles County.

Michael began as a LA Waterkeeper volunteer diver in 2008, and later joined the staff in 2012 both as Marine Protected Areas Watch Program Manager, and as a Dive Team Leader for the world renowned Kelp Restoration Project.


Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.29.29 PMArthur Pugsley – Senior Attorney

A long-time California transplant from Boston, Arthur Pugsley comes to LAW with extensive experience with environmental issues as both an attorney and as a government environmental administrator. Prior to law school, Arthur worked in both local and state environmental agencies in Massachusetts, including several years as Executive Secretary of the agency charged with implementing wetlands, tidelands, and water quality laws in Boston. After being admitted to the California bar, Arthur worked in private practice representing and litigating on behalf of plaintiffs/petitioners under various federal and state laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and the California Coastal Act. Immediately Prior to joining LAW, Arthur served as Staff Counsel to the California Coastal Commission for the South Central and Central Coastal Districts. His work included advising the Commission on emerging water quality, water supply, and water rights issues, including several novel legal issues given short term urgency by California’s historic drought and long term importance because of climate change.

Arthur holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Environmental Science from Harvard University; a Master of Science Degree in Oceanography from the University of Massachusetts; a Juris Doctor from UCLA with a specialization in Public Interest Law; and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Law (LL.M.) from UC Berkeley.

Arthur has published several peer reviewed articles on environmental topics including CEQA, the federal Clean Water Act, and the federal Clean Air Act, as well as an article exploring environmental issues facing California winegrowers. Arthur is an avid hiker and also enjoys exploring the many off-the-beaten-track attractions afforded by living in Los Angeles.


Kelly_HeadshotMelissa Kelly – Staff Attorney

Prior to joining LAW, Melissa served as the Environmental and Land Use Fellow for the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources (CLEANR). As the CLEANR fellow, Melissa conducted policy-relevant legal research and writing on emerging environmental issues to develop CLEANR’s research and public engagement programming. She co-authored publications on habitat conservation planning under federal and state endangered species law and permitting for endangered species and aquatic resources under environmental statutes, including the federal Clean Water Act.

Melissa earned her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Irvine in 2014, graduating cum laude with multiple Faculty Awards. During law school, Melissa completed an externship with Orange County Coastkeeper, where she was first introduced to the Waterkeeper movement.

Prior to law school, Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics and Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Having grown up in Los Angeles, Melissa is thrilled to be working to protect the waterways in the place she calls home.


IMG_3579Ian Jacobson – Dive Program Manager

Born and raised in San Pedro, he spent his youth exploring the tide pools along the Palos Verdes Coastline and volunteering as a docent for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. He earned his B.A. in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz where he tracked Sea Otters in Big Sur as a volunteer and spent three months working with a team of divers surveying seagrass beds in the Philippines. Ian also had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia where he spent time at the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef.

Before joining LAW, Ian worked as an observer for the National Marine Fisheries Service aboard commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea.

Upon moving back to Southern California, he had been a passionate volunteer for the Kelp Project restoring kelp forests along the same coastline where he grew up. He is dedicated to providing volunteers with the unique opportunity and experience to give back to the community by enhancing nearshore ecosystem health and protecting Southern California’s marine resources.


Picture for BioMelissa von Mayrhauser – Watershed Programs Manager

Melissa is a strong believer in the importance of increasing access to healthier waterways and she is an avid water mapper and monitor. Melissa previously worked at an environmental design firm in Brooklyn, New York as a water education project manager and at Columbia University’s Earth Institute as a communications intern. During college, she enthusiastically served as the President of the Aquanauts, the student water club, bringing together a diverse group of students to research water challenges.

Melissa previously conducted hydrological fieldwork in Jordan, Morocco and India. Most recently in India, she researched the interconnections between saline intrusion and mangrove reforestation, canoeing around the Ashtamudi Lake to test water quality. She also previously volunteered as a Hudson Riverkeeper ambassador, leading coastal clean-ups and taking water samples under the Manhattan Bridge. She is excited to continue as part of the Keeper family in Los Angeles and to work with a new group of volunteers!

She holds an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford and a B.A. in Sustainable Development and French Studies from Columbia University.


photo-2Sharon Soormaghen – Communications Manager

Raised in Huntington Beach, Sharon is a lifelong ocean lover and passionate conservationist. Her interest in environmental communication developed over a long academic voyage into science and policy, and a subsequent resolve to improve public access to—and understanding of—environmental policy.  Prior to joining LA Waterkeeper, Sharon worked on communications and event planning at a nonprofit organization that advocates for organic and sustainable family farmers throughout California. She is a big fan of composting, permaculture and vegan baked goods.

Sharon holds a B.S. in Conservation & Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, where she focused on agricultural ecology and conducted her thesis research on the bioremediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals. She is humbled to contribute to an organization that carries out such vital work to conserve and protect our waterways.


RLcropRebecca Light – Office Manager

Rebecca joins LAW with nearly a decade of experience in non-profit administration, beginning at the administrative offices of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. She has worked for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Foundation in operations and donor services, and is a company member of Theatre of NOTE where she served as Co-president of the Artistic & Management Committee and now volunteers as chair of the Marketing Committee spearheading their social media campaigns. Most recently Rebecca worked as Program Administrator and eventually Operations Manager for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company. In her time there she focused on strengthening the organization’s best practices in areas of human resources and finance, aiding a 100% growth of the organization over a five year period.

She holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University and can occasionally be seen performing in theatre throughout Los Angeles. Rebecca grew up in Sacramento, travelling west to visit the sea as often as possible. As a newly-certified diver with a passion for the California coastline, Rebecca is honored to support the pivotal work of LAW.



Geraldine Burrola – Development Manager

Originally raised in California’s Central Valley, Geraldine has always been well aware of water resource politics within the state. Her passions for environmental justice and representation stem from her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained both a BS and BA in Society & Environment and Geography. While at Berkeley, her research centered on natural resource valuation in developing regions as well as political economic theory. She spent much of her time volunteering at environmental organizations, working with human trafficking survivors, and teaching community-based environmental justice courses in the surrounding area.

Prior to working with LA Waterkeeper, Geraldine worked in operations for a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the foster care system for youth throughout the United States. As a result of her experiences in the nonprofit sector, she has become passionate about fundraising, grant writing, and colorful spreadsheets. In her down time she enjoys eco-friendly beach bonfires and sampling any sort of dish containing avocado.

Geraldine has always dreamed of residing near, and advocating for, California waterways and is extremely excited to be a part of the LA Waterkeeper team.



Mithsy Hernandez – Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

A Los Angeles native, Mithsy grew up with the hustle and bustle of the city.  Despite the traffic and urban pollution, she often found herself biking to the beach or making her way to the nearest hiking trails. Her love for the great outdoors developed into a passion for environmental conservation and preservation. Her desire to pursue a career in the environmental field led Mithsy to graduate from the University of San Diego with a BA in Environmental Studies and minor in Sociology. During this time, she participated in research studies surveying local coastal ecology and geology, and interned with the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department. Her interest in environmental justice and public health encouraged her to work with her local communities toward creating an equitable and healthy environment.

Prior to joining LA Waterkeeper, Mithsy worked as the Administrative Assistant with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in Seattle, Washington. She is excited to continue with the Waterkeeper family and protect the waterways of her native city.


Hannah Sands – Climate Corps AmeriCorps Fellow

A recent graduate of Scripps College, Hannah is passionate about environmental justice and communities’ access to food and water. She majored in Environmental Sustainability with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Hannah completed her thesis based on independent research in Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, looking at community-based tourism development in the region and its impacts on the environmental and cultural fabric of the indigenous Aymara peoples. While studying abroad in Bocas del Toro, Panama, Hannah embarked on scientific research on marine and rainforest ecology, and worked on a waste management project specific to small islands. She also worked on a composting project for her college and the city, conducted independent research on accessibility on the Metro in Medellin, Colombia, and worked at an educational non-profit for indigenous girls in the Sacred Valley in Peru.

In her free time, Hannah plays rugby, and enjoys spending time by the ocean and hiking. She is thrilled to be working with LAW, to be a part of the incredible environmental work they have been doing and is excited to learn so much from incredible people.


Michelle Lin – Climate Corps AmeriCorps Fellow

Born and raised in Cerritos, Michelle has always been passionate for the environment. She earned her B.S in Biological Sciences from University of California, Irvine and conducted her Excellence in Research in understanding the effects of climate change on an endemic cushion that had never before been studied. Before joining LAW, she was involved with the Center for Environmental Biology at UCI, where she collected research data on both terrestrial and marine areas. Michelle was also able to intern with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to eradicate and map invasive species in wildlife habitats.

In her free time, Michelle enjoys exploring tidepools, snorkeling, and birding! She’s excited to be a part of LAW, to not only develop herself as a scientist, but to also be part of a purposeful organization.


Contact Us

LA Waterkeeper
120 Broadway, Suite 105
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: 310-394-6162
Fax: 310-394-6178

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