Board of Directors


Taya Lazootin, President
Taya Lazootin San Diego Coastkeeper Board Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Being active in our waterways makes me appreciate the beauty and value of our coastline. Coastkeeper strengthens my role as a successful steward for my community.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper has a hand in every aspect of protecting fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters– beach cleanups, community engagement, children’s education, information for policymakers, water quality monitoring and more.

Cherishable: Swimming, surfing, boating, biking, and all the other best parts about living in San Diego, require clean water. Let’s keep it fun, San Diego.

Read Taya’s bio.

Jack Brown, Vice President
Jack Brown San Diego Coastkeeper Board Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? For 33 years I have lived less than a mile from the ocean. This time taught me the importance of protecting our fragile and ever-changing water resources.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? We protect inland waters and coastal waters: either both are healthy or neither is.

Hikeable: The health of our waters directly impacts the quality of flora and fauna on hiking trails across San Diego.

Read Jack’s bio.

Stewart Halpern, Treasurer/CFO
Stewart Halpern San Diego Coastkeeper Board Treasurer Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Water is the most fundamental element of life on our planet–protecting it is of the utmost importance to our environment.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper is less talk, more action—using its water quality monitoring and Waterkeeper to uncover problems and seek remedies.

Cherishable: I cherish the beauty of San Diego every day, of which its marine environment is a vital part.

Read Stewart’s bio.

Catherine Stiefel, Secretary
Catherine Stiefel San Diego Coastkeeper Board Secretary Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? There are few things more important to sustaining our quality of life than having sufficient, clean water.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coaskteeper? A San Diego without the work of Coastkeeper would be unrecognizable when compared to the aquatic playground we have the privilege of living with today.

Creditable: San Diego’s leaders and everyone in San Diego who protects our waters deserve the credit for the excellent water quality we enjoy today.

Read Catherine’s bio.

Everett DeLano
Everett DeLano, San Diego Coastkeeper Board of Directors Vice President Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper is one of the best at using limited resources to do great and important things.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper is the only organization in San Diego focused solely on protecting one of our city’s most precious resources – its beaches, bays, estuaries, rivers and creeks.

Loveable: I want our waters to be healthy so my kids and their kids can play in them and witness the amazing life forms they have to offer.

Read Everett’s bio.

Mark Laska
Jack Brown San Diego Coastkeeper Board Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper’s work recognizes that water runs through every part of life. Its thoughtful approach improves whole systems, bringing all entities together to maintain clean water, suitable habitat and healthy ecosystems.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? The amount of impact Coastkeeper makes with each dollar donated is nothing short of incredible.

Enjoyable: After moving to San Diego from New York, my family and I fell in love with San Diego’s outdoors. We enjoy everything from hiking to walking on the beach.

Read Mark’s bio.

Lani Lutar
Lani Lutar San Diego Coastkeeper Board Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Water is one of San Diego’s greatest assets, and no organization works harder to protect and restore that asset than Coastkeeper.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? By protecting clean water, Coastkeeper protects San Diego’s enviable quality of life. That quality of life is what attracts the most talented people in the world to our city.

Shareable: We share our waters with people around the world.  Nearly 34 million tourists come to San Diego annually to enjoy our gorgeous beaches and bays.

Read Lani’s bio.

Samantha Murray
Samantha Murray San Diego Coastkeeper Board Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper knows that what happens on land matters to the ocean. By protecting and restoring our water, they take our fate into their own hands.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? People-power and science run the show here. We manage California’s largest volunteer-powered water quality monitoring program and are the only Waterkeeper organization in the state with our own lab.

Inextricable: Even our bodies recognize our deep connection to water. Research shows that time spent in, or even just near, the water can reduce blood pressure and improve our mood.

Read Samantha’s bio.

Mark Reynolds
Mark Reynolds San Diego Coastkeeper Board Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? I was born in Ocean Beach, grew up on the water and started sailing here. Coastkeeper is solely dedicated to protecting and restoring this wonderful playground.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? I have seen water quality improve in San Diego because of regulations and organizations like San Diego Coastkeeper.

Sailable: Coastkeeper combines my love of sailing with protections that improve our waters for everyone.

Read Mark’s bio.

Glen Schmidt
Glen Schmidt San Diego Coastkeeper Board Vice President Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? I volunteer because water is the most important issue of our region.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coaskteeper? There is literally another world below the surface just a few yards off of the shoreline. Everyone should take the time to visit and discover that wonderful place and learn about the work Coastkeeper does to protect it.

Survivable: Maintaining healthy waters is critical to our region’s economy, quality of life, environmental stewardship, and our survival.

Read Glen’s bio.

Marie Tahan Daniels
untitled-design-19 Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? One of San Diego’s most under-appreciated resources is water. Coastkeeper’s monitoring of projects related to the region’s water is crucial for all San Diegans.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper’s water-based education programs, like Project SWELL, are a vital part to teaching San Diego’s youth about the importance of water conservation.

Teachable: Many of Coastkeeper’s initiatives teach the community about better ways to conserve and care for our local environment.

Read Marie’s bio.

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor Board Pic Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper consistently has the strongest voice for developing a robust network of marine protected areas in our region.

What do you wish everyone knew about Coaskteeper? The broad and significant impact of Coastkeeper on a shoestring budget.

Restorable: As the ocean goes, so goes life on this planet. Our actions in the next ten years are critical to restore our ocean so that all life on Earth can thrive.

Read Elizabeth’s bio.


Taya Lazootin, President
Master’s Degree in Watershed Science Candidate, San Diego State University

Taya is currently working on her thesis at San Diego State University in order to obtain a Master’s in Watershed Science. By focusing her research on nutrient pollution in the Escondido Creek watershed, she hopes to identify which types of land use contribute to or mitigate nutrient pollution, specifically forms of nitrogen and phosphorus. Taya’s goal is to apply her experiences as an educator, a manager and a scientist to a career dedicated to improving the management and overall health of San Diego’s coastal habitats.

An ecologist at heart, she is an active volunteer and participates in various committees and programs with San Diego Coastkeeper, WiLDCOAST, American Cetacean Society, San Diego Humane Society and Surfrider Foundation. A California native, Taya earned a bachelors degree in Psychology at San Diego State University, a teaching credential at CSU San Marcos and worked as a teacher and administrator in the Perris School District in Perris, Riverside for 10 years. (Return to top)

Jack Brown, Vice President
Jack was a government law attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office for 34 years before he joined Chatten-Brown & Carstens part time as special counsel. For 17 years, Jack specialized in land use and the California Environmental Quality Act, both in the main office and as an attorney with the Department of Water & Power. For seven years he worked in the city attorney’s Appellate Section, where he eventually became supervising attorney. Here he drafted, reviewed, and argued a multitude of cases before state and federal appellate courts. Jack obtained a bachelors of arts from UC Berkeley, a master of science in industrial management from MIT, and in 1974 his juris doctorate from USC School of Law. (Return to top)

Catherine Stiefel, Secretary
Catherine is a CPA with 20 years of business experience, primarily in accounting and finance. Cathy joined Deloitte & Touche in 1992, where she served a broad range of clients in the real estate and energy industries, among others. In 2001, Cathy joined Science Applications International Corporation as director of corporate accounting for acquisitions, divestitures and investments, and she became a vice president while serving in this role for five years. Cathy left SAIC in 2006 to take the assistant controller position at Petco. In 2007, Cathy left Petco to pursue other business and personal interests.

Cathy served from 2006 to 2009 on the board of directors of Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., a global pharmaceutical company and leader in dermatology research. She served on the board of directors of Freedom Meditech, Inc. from 2008 to 2014. Freedom Meditech is an early stage company focused on improving the detection and management of diseases, such as diabetes. Cathy also serves on the audit committee for the County of San Diego. Cathy graduated summa cum laude from San Diego State University in 1992 with a B.S. in business administration, emphasis in accounting. She is a certified public accountant in California and maintains her license in active status. Cathy is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and CalCPA. (Return to top)

Stewart Halpern, Treasurer
Senior Advisor, Roovy

Stewart has a broad business background with over 30 years of experience as the senior financial executive of companies such as San Diego-based Mad Catz Interactive, videogame publisher Rock Star Games, and entertainment entrepreneur Russell Simmons’ Rush Communications, along with extensive Wall Street experience as a sell side equity analyst and investment banker.

Since stepping down as CFO from Mad Catz in late 2010, he has been independently advising a number of private companies on strategic, financial and operational matters while also serving as the treasurer on the board of Free Flight, a nonprofit exotic bird sanctuary in Del Mar.

Stewart earned a Bachelor of Sciences degree from Yale College and a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Management. He currently resides in La Jolla. (Return to top)

Everett L. DeLano III
Attorney, DeLano & DeLano

Everett is an attorney who specializes in land use and environmental law, with a commitment to preserving and protecting communities and the natural environment.

With expertise encompassing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Clean Water Act, Everett represents homeowners’ associations, non-profit organizations, and neighborhood groups and individuals. Earlier in his career, he worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in Denver, and the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado.

Everett graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of San Diego in 1989. He attended law school at USC, where he served on the Interdisciplinary Law Journal and Major Tax Journal, served as an extern to the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was the sole recipient of the U.S. Law Week Award. Everett lives in Valley Center and his firm, DeLano & DeLano, is based in Escondido. (Return to top)

Mark Laska
Dr. Mark Laska is the Founder and President of Great Ecology, a San Diego-based ecological consulting firm focused on the restoration, planning, and design of urban and natural environments through sustainable solutions. Established in 2001, Great Ecology also has offices in New York and Colorado.  Dr. Laska is also the founder of Tellurium Partners a habitat mitigation banking company operating throughout the US.

Dr. Laska has more than 25 years of experience working as an ecologist, focusing on wetland and habitat restoration, habitat and species assessments, ecological planning and design, and Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Assessments and Planning. He also serves on the board of the National Mitigation Banking Association, I Love a Clean San Diego, and Scripps Hospital Citizens Advisory Committee. Dr. Laska holds a PhD in Ecology from Rutgers University, a MS from Fordham University, and a BS from the University of Colorado. (Return to top)

Lani Lutar
President, Responsible Solutions, LLC

Lani Lutar is president of Responsible Solutions, LLC, a public affairs firm specializing in coalition building, government relations and community engagement. She has more than a decade of experience in strategic marketing, public policy analysis, business development and media relations. Lani serves as Special Advisor for the Equinox Center, providing support in the areas of public policy research and advocacy, development and special projects. She earned a Master of Pacific International Affairs degree from the University of California, San Diego and graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with a BA in Psychology. (Return to top)

Samantha Murray
Executive Director, Master of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Samantha Murray is the Executive Director of the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has more than 15 years of experience in conservation and has directed ocean and water programs at Ocean Conservancy, the Audubon Society and Oregon Environmental Council. Samantha played a key role in the design and implementation of California’s network of Marine Protected Areas, which now covers 16 percent of state waters.

More recently, Samantha founded an ocean consulting business, where she worked with clients on issues related to water quality, ocean acidification, habitat protection and climate change. She blended this work with a commitment to diversity and inclusion and an eye toward more equitable impacts of public policy.

Samantha has spoken at conferences around the world about conservation best practices and holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, where she was awarded a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law. (Return to top)

Micah Mitrosky
Environmental Organizer – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569
In her role as an Environmental Organizer with IBEW Local 569, Micah is working to ensure San Diego and Imperial County’s green economy creates good, middle-class jobs that are sustainable for local workers and for the environment. She is also engaging environmental partners to build blue-green alliances around climate change, clean air and water and other environmental issues affecting working people. Prior to joining IBEW Local 569, Micah was a Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club’s San Diego Smart Energy Solutions campaign. An east coast transplant and now a resident of Pacific Beach, Micah has spent a lifetime enjoying the ocean and beaches of both coasts.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Duke University and a Master’s in Sociology from San Diego State University.

Mark Reynolds
Competitive Sailor

When Mark Reynolds walked into Opening Ceremonies at Sydney’s Olympic Games, he made U.S. Olympic Yachting history as a four-time consecutive Olympic representative in the same event. Well-known as the “Star of the Star class,” Reynolds has the resume to back up the well-deserved nickname: two world championship titles (’00, ’95) and three Olympic medals (1992 Gold,1988 Silver, 2000 Gold) in arguably the most competitive one-design class in the world. Reynolds was introduced to the sport at age four by his father, Jim Reynolds, himself the 1971 Star World Champion (as crew for Dennis Conner). As a sophomore in college, Mark was All American on the San Diego State University sailing team in 1974. Mark led the team to a 2nd place finish both in 1974 and 1975 in the North American Dinghy Championships. A protégé of Conner’s, Mark started his first Olympic campaign in the Flying Dutchman class. Sailing with Miami’s Augie Diaz, Reynolds’ Olympic dreams were sidelined when the US boycotted the 1980 Games. A Star campaign, founded in 1986 with Hal Haenel (Los Angeles, Calif.), earned him four trips to the Olympics.

Mark was born in Ocean Beach and currently lives in Loma Portal. He graduated from San Diego State University and has a honorary doctorate from Piedmont College. He’s on the San Diego Yacht Club’s green sub committee and is a co-liaison for the Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regatta certification program. (Return to top)

Glen Schmidt
President, Schmidt Design Group, Inc.

Glen is President of the Schmidt Design Group, Inc. a San Diego based landscape architecture and planning firm that specializes in both artful and environmentally sustainable solutions in their work.

Established in 1983, Glen’s firm has won more than 100 local state and national awards for design excellence, including 10 local Orchid awards. In 2005 Glen was inducted as a Fellow in The American Society of Landscape Architects for “Significant Works of Landscape Architecture”.

Glen has been active in lending his expertise toward responsible water policy in our region. He is past Vice-Chair of the Public Utilities Advisory Commission for the City of San Diego, has twice served on advisory committees for the Long Range Water Resource Plan for the City, and is past Vice-Chair of the San Diego Water Policy Implementation Task Force.

Glen holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning and Management from UC Davis. He is a San Diego native, an avid surfer, and a resident of Bay Park in San Diego. (Return to top)

Marie Tahan Daniels
President, Caelum Marketing, LLC

Marie Tahan Daniels is the owner of a local public relations and marketing company, Caelum Marketing, where she creates content and opportunities for clients in the hospitality and nonprofit sector. With a longtime passion for food, Marie actively works in the culinary community throughout California and Baja California through her online media outlet, Her community involvement has spanned the gamut in San Diego as chair, committee member or board member of several of San Diego’s prominent organizations like Kids Korps USA, The New Children’s Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum and United Cerebral Palsy’s Beach & Country Guild. (Return to top)

Elizabeth Taylor
Staff Attorney, UC Irvine School of Law’s Center for Land, Environment and Natural Resources

Elizabeth is the staff attorney for UC Irvine School of Law’s Center for Land, Environment and Natural Resources. Prior to joining the Center, she worked in private practice as an environmental attorney representing California public entities as well as nonprofit organizations on a variety of environmental issues.

Liz began her legal career as a Knauss Sea Grant fellow with the United States Marine Mammal Commission where she worked on domestic and international marine policy issues. She has served as Chair of the City of Encinitas Environmental Commission and has taught an undergraduate course on environmental law and policy. She also serves on the board of directors of San Diego League of Conservation Voters and the Encinitas Community Garden.

Prior to law school she worked on a Leatherback sea turtle conservation project for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Earthwatch Institute in the Caribbean and for Pacific Whale Foundation in Hawaii. She graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution and received her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law. (Return to top)