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Stakeholder Network Members

John Badger

Local Resident

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Andy Baldwin

Project Advisor/ University of Maryland Department of Environmental Science and Technology (

Andy Baldwin is a Professor of Wetland Ecology and serves as Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Environmental Science and Technology Department at University of Maryland. He teaches wetland ecology and wetland restoration courses and mentors graduate and undergraduate students. His research focuses on wetland ecology and wetland restoration, with emphases on plant ecology, nutrient cycling, and global change factors. He is past- President of the Society of Wetland Scientists and previously served SWS as President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, Chair of the Awards Committee, and Associate Editor of Wetlands.


Elizabeth (Liz) Brightman

Local Resident, Realtor

I am a local Realtor and small farmer with my husband. We live nearby and attend church regularly in Oriole at St. Peters United Methodist Church. Through that connection, we have gotten to know the local people. As a Realtor, I am concerned about the impact of the rising waters in our area related to property values, tourism and general growth. We need to find a way to improve the local economy. It is important to know the critical issues influencing the economy in order to find the best resources for improvement.

Chuck Collier

Local Resident/ Skipjack Heritage Inc.

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Eileen Cross

Local Resident/ Deal Island-Chance Lion's Club

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David Curson

Audubon Maryland-DC (

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Thomas Dietz

Local Resident/ Skipjack Heritage, Inc.

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Jennifer Dindinger

My name is Jen Dindinger and I work for University of Maryland Extension as part of the Sea Grant Watershed Protection and Restoration team. I moved to Maryland in 1998 and have been working for Extension since 2009. I serve the towns and neighborhoods of Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. My role in Extension is to help communities improve their local water quality. I do this by teaching workshops about small-scale landscape practices; working with local decision makers to identify suitable restoration project areas; and providing people with information about grants and technical resources. I am also very interested in helping communities decide what they want to “look like” in the future, which is why I’m involved in the Deal Island Peninsula Project. The stakeholder network has been very welcoming and has a lot of energy and ideas about how to ensure that Deal Island remains the special place they all love; I am looking forward to working with everyone to help achieve that vision. 

Steve Dawson

Maryland Department of the Environment (

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Emerson Davis

Local Resident/ Deal Island - Chance Lion's Club

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Donald Ford

Local Resident/ Fire Chief Chance-Deal Island

I am a true “Native Son of Somerset County”, born and raised in Dames Quarters, and I have lived my life next to and on the marsh. I grew up hunting, trapping and playing in the marsh. Often I spent all day out there between Dames Quarters and St. Stephens. I have served my community for 36 years in the Deal Island Chance Volunteer Fire Company and am currently Chief of the company. I am also Supervisor of the Somerset County Animal Control (that’s the local dog catcher to you, the public).

I first heard about the Deal Island Peninsula Project (DIPP) at the Fire Hall and participated as a local stakeholder during the first meetings about the marsh.  It’s shrinking and it's not as I knew it as a boy. I have a lot of knowledge of the history of the area, opinions about what needs to happen to restore the marsh health to near its former state. I stay involved and active because I am one of only a few who remember what the marshes were -- families worked and were fed by the marshes, and a good living was able to be had. Trucks could drive across the marsh, something that certainly cannot happen now. I’m looking forward to the next stages of the DIPP and working with everyone to reach our goals.

Roy Ford

Local Resident/ Waterman/ Deal Island - Chance Lion's Club

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Nancy Goldsmith

Local Resident/ Deal Island - Chance Lion's Club

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Sarah Hilderbrand

Biologist, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake & Coastal Service (

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T. Aaron Horner

Local Resident/ Genealogist and Historian/ Skipjack Heritage, Inc.

My name is T. Aaron Horner and I am a local genealogist and historian. I have spent my entire life growing up in the Deal Island area. When I was younger, my brother and I worked with our father during the summer months harvesting crabs. My interest in history and geography started as early as middle school; in 1996, I received my bachelor degrees in both studies from Salisbury University. Since 2001, I have been working at the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University as the research assistant. My participation in DIPP is to ensure that the history and culture of the Deal Island area is well-documented and preserved. My father's family has resided in this area for many generations, dating back to the 1670's when the first permanent English settlers arrived. Even in my lifetime have I seen significant changes to the Deal Island area, such as continued decline in local population, particularly among African-Americans, shoreline erosion, disappearing islands, encroaching marshes and invasive plants, like phragmites.

David Horseman

Local Resident/ Waterman/ Skipjack Heritage Inc.

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Klaus Hubacek

DIPP Coordinating Team Member/ Professor, University of Maryland Department of Geography (

Klaus Hubacek is an ecological economist by training and professor in the department of geographical sciences. His research focuses on conceptualizing and modeling the interaction between human and environmental systems and developing and modeling scenarios of future change. Klaus has worked extensively with stakeholders in participatory research projects and led large interdisciplinary research teams. He has published more than 200 articles in journals, books and research reports on topics such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, participatory modelling, management of ecosystems services, land use change and governance.

Roman Jesien

Maryland Coastal Bays Program (

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Katherine Johnson

DIPP Director/ Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Maryland Department of Anthropology (

Katherine Johnson (also known as Jo) is a recent Ph.D. graduate of the University of Maryland (UMD) and is working as a post-doctoral researcher through UMD. She is also Director of the Deal Island Marsh and Community Project, an ongoing collaborative effort to build resilience to community and environmental change in a rural coastal Maryland community. Her research is focused on vulnerability and resilience as understood and experienced by a diverse stakeholder network representing a rural coastal system impacted by climate change. She is interested in vulnerability and resilience on the local level, and in collaboratively using individual and community knowledge to leverage adaptive planning outcomes. She prioritizes interdisciplinary and collaborative work to create outcomes suitable to wide range of needs and interests across the social-ecological system. Please see Jo's dissertation summary here. The conclusions of this work help inform our ongoing efforts on the Deal Island Peninsula Project and especially the work of the MD Sea Grant funded Integrated Coastal Resiliency Assessment.

Kym Kudla

Somerset County Planning & Zoning Department

I have been a Planner with Somerset County Planning & Zoning Department since July of 2014. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis & Planning from Frostburg State University and my Master’s degree in Environmental Management from University of Maryland. I also became a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) in September of 2016. As a Somerset County resident and a frequent visitor to the Deal Island Peninsula, I look forward to working together to protect the area so current and future residents and visitors can enjoy the beauty and heritage rooted in the Deal Island Community.

Keith Lackie

Maryland Department of Planning (

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Sasha Land

Project Coordinating Team Member/ Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake Bay National Estauarine Research Reserve (

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Paul Leisnham

Project Advisor/ UMD Dept of Environmental Science and Technology (

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Anna McMurray

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Jake McPherson

Ducks Unlimited (

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Brian Needelman

DIPP Coordinating Team Member/ Professor, University of Maryland Department of Environmental Science and Technology (

Dr. Brian Needelman is an Associate Professor of Soil Science at the University of Maryland in the Department of Environmental Science & Technology. He teaches and performs research in the fields of soil science, pedology, coastal wetlands, and coastal resiliency. His coastal wetland research focuses on management and restoration practices to increase tidal marsh sustainability, including studies on prescribed burns, accretion, and the restoration of ditch-drained marshes. He also conducts research on how wetland restoration and conservation can be used to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. His coastal resiliency research focuses on the integration of natural and social science approaches to better understand and increase the resilience of coastal socio-ecological systems.


In addition to serving on the Project Coordinating Team, Dr. Needelman is the lead scientist on the Deal Island Peninsula Project ecological research that focuses on restoring the hydrological dynamics of ditch-drained marshes as part of the NOAA Science Collaborative efforts. Ditching of the marshes in the Deal Island Peninsula area began in the 1930s primarily to reduce mosquito populations. However, it is thought to have also reduced habitat quality and made the marshes more vulnerable to flooding and erosion impacts. The research carried out by Dr. Needelman and colleagues is determining whether restoration of natural dynamics of these marsh systems will enhance their resilience. 

Alane Ortega

Local Resident/Artist

For 30 years Alane Ortega has lived on Monie Bay. As a small business owner, located on her property, she has watched first-hand the changes to the land. Between sea-level rises, the land sinking and natural erosion at least a quarter of the marsh fronting her property has disappeared. This is a major concern of hers.


Alane has developed deep ties to the area over the years. Her move to Dames Quarter was a conscience decision, drawn to area by its unique environment and rural lifestyle. While this was the first draw it’s the friends and neighbors that keeps her rooted here.


It is the future that concerns her. The changes to the land are only going to worsen as climate change takes its toll. Through natural plantings and thoughtful actions her property's marsh erosion is manageable. Out of her control is property access on the county's roads where flooding one or two times a year 30 years ago has turned into an almost monthly occurrence. It almost seems like the tide tables need to be checked every time a trip to town is planned. This is what got her involved in the Deal Island Peninsula Project.

Michael Paolisso

DIPP Coordinating Team Member/ Professor, University of Maryland Department of Anthropology (

Michael Paolisso is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park.  He completed his PhD training in anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  He has conducted short- and long-term fieldwork in the areas of environment and development in Venezuela, Honduras, Ecuador, Kenya and Nepal.  For the past 18 years he has focused his research on the human dimensions of a range of environmental issues confronting the Chesapeake Bay, including management of natural resources, particularly fisheries and agricultural lands, water pollution, restoration, social justice, socio-ecological resilience and climate change. His Chesapeake research seeks to demonstrate how cultural models of the environment have a direct bearing on the use and management of natural resources, and how cultural models can be used to improve intra- and inter-stakeholder understanding, dialogue and collaboration in addressing environmental issues.  He teaches courses on environmental anthropology, anthropological theory and research methods, and
the Chesapeake Bay.

Christina Prell

DIPP Coordinating Team Member/ Professor, University of Maryland Department of Geography (

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Lucinda Power

EPA Chesapeake Bay Program (

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Gary Pusey

Somerset County Government (

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Jennifer Raulin

Maryland Department of Natural Resources - National Estaurine Research Reserve (

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Shawn Ryan

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (

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Bob Shores

Local Resident/ Skipjack Heritage Inc.

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Mike Slattery

US Fish and Wildlife Service (

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Bhaskar Subramanian

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (

Dr. Bhaskaran Subramanian is from India. He received his BS (Chemistry) and MS (Environmental Chemistry), from India. He came to the United States in 2000 for his Ph.D. in the Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His dissertation was on heavy metal remediation, a topic that is completely unrelated to what he is working on now!

After he graduated, in an effort to earn his stripes, Bhaskar worked as an intern researching shoreline projects and practices that are effective in shoreline protection and erosion control. He visited over 200 living shoreline projects in Maryland and compiled an assessment of the performance and conditions of these projects. He has presented his findings and shared the lessons learned in numerous platforms- panels, meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.

Currently, Bhaskar heads the Shoreline Conservation Service for MD Department of Natural Resources. In his current position, he works with various stakeholders (federal, state, local governments, private sector, and citizens) providing technical assistance for habitat creation/restoration projects. In addition to the technical assistance, Bhaskar also administers Maryland’s zero-interest loan program to implement shoreline restoration projects for private and public projects. He is also assisting Maryland Department of the Environment (State’s regulatory authority) in implementing Maryland's Living Shorelines Law. Bhaskar is constantly working on opportunities to push the envelope on implementing innovative living shoreline projects in Maryland and likes to come up with interesting names for the techniques! In recognizing the crucial role that outreach programs plays in filling the knowledge gap, Bhaskar conducts workshops on living shorelines for various stakeholders to enable and enhance communication between different groups. He also conducts workshops exclusively for the living shoreline professionals (marine contractors, engineers, etc.), who play a pivotal role in implementing environmentally-sensitive projects. 

Bill Wheatley

Local Resident/ Skipjack Heritage Inc.

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Dan Schamberger

Maryland Department of Agriculture (

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Chris Snow

Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - Maryland (

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Rebecca Swerida

Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Habitat Restoration and Conservation Biologist (

Becky Swerida became the new Research and Stewardship Assistant for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland as of the end of November 2016. Her role will include field and laboratory support of Reserve research initiatives as well as data analysis and community outreach efforts.

Becky grew up on the New Jersey shore, where her interest in marine and environmental science began and where she attended high school at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (located in an excellent example of estuarine habitat!). She moved on to study environmental studies, specifically marine and aquatic ecology, and biology at Gettysburg College. Later, she earned a Master’s of Science in the Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science (MEES) graduate program through the University of Maryland. Becky’s research experience interests are centered on estuarine ecology, ecosystem based management, wetland restoration and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) restoration science. Before transferring to the CBNERR program, Becky was a part of the Shoreline Conservation Service group within MD DNR working with Living Shorelines and wetland restoration projects where she first became a part of the DIPP network. Now, she brings years of environmental research and management experience as well as great enthusiasm and creativity to the CBNERR program. She hopes to benefit DIPP with her expertise in wetland and shoreline ecology and restoration. Outside of her environmental work, Becky can be found hiking or singing and dancing in community theater.

Elizabeth Van Dolah

DIPP Coordinating Team Member/ PhD Student, University of Maryland Department of Anthropology (

I am a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at UMD-College Park. I am also a Maryland SeaGrant Research Fellow for the Deal Island Peninsula Project, and as such I assist with managing DIPP and collecting and analyzing data as part of the Integrated Coastal Resiliency Assessment (ICRA). I am originally from Charleston, SC, and moved to Maryland in 2006. Since being here, I've become quite attached to the Chesapeake Bay area and way of life, and am excited to get to work with such an great group of people involved in DIPP. As an environmental anthropologist, I am interested in understanding cultural differences and the range human experiences that inform how people think about and understand social and environmental change. I hope to contribute to DIPP's ongoing efforts through my PhD research, which will look at the different ways that heritage is used to inform the ICRA process and decisions about ongoing and future changes in the Deal Island Peninsula area. Through this research, I hope to provide insights about how heritage can be used as a tool to define future visions that support the area's ongoing resilience.

Lisa Wainger

Economist, University of Maryland Center for Environnmental Science

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Andrew Webster

Local Resident/ Scientist

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Dave Webster

Local Resident/ Pastor/ Waterman

My name is David Webster, better known as “Dave-Dave”, or “Pastor Dave-Dave.” I have been a life-long waterman (commercial fisherman) in the Deal Island Peninsula area. I am a lifelong resident of Dames Quarter, Maryland. I am currently the bi-vocational pastor of three small United Methodist churches in the Deal Island area, and am the father of five children and grandfather of 12. I also operate my own boat, the Kristy Sue, with a crew of two, and fish for crabs and oysters in the Tangier Sound. I am a 37 year member and Chaplin of the Deal Island/Chance Fire Department, as well as the Chaplin of the Skipjack Heritage Organization. I have been participating in the DIPP Stakeholders program from its beginning, focusing on the history and heritage of our local area. 

Don Webster

MD DNR – Wildlife and Heritage Service (

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Matt Whitbeck

US Fish and Wildlife Service (

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