Texas Sea Grant welcomes new Associate Director

October 04, 2016

By Tiffany Evans

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Heather Wade, a former coastal planning specialist for the Texas Sea Grant College Program who most recently was the Coastal State-Federal Relations Coordinator for the State of Oregon, has been named the new Associate Director of Texas Sea Grant.

“I am thrilled that Heather has accepted the Associate Director position to help lead the Texas Sea Grant College Program,” said Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Texas Sea Grant Director. "Her broad and deep knowledge of Texas coastal issues, coupled with her prior experience as a member of our Extension team, will benefit our entire program, Texas and Texans."

Wade will lead the program’s strategic planning, data management and federal reporting efforts, which will include data collection and analysis and database implementation.

“I look forward to working with Texas Sea Grant staff, researchers, and stakeholders to create and implement a strategic plan that works to sustain and enhance the Texas coast, its communities and its precious resources,” she said.

Wade comes to Texas Sea Grant from Salem, Ore., where she worked with the Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP). While there, her job duties included interpreting and explaining the OCMP’s policies and procedures; applying its policies, regulations and standards; and preparing written comments, reports and other documentation of policy decisions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Texas A&M University, and she expects to complete a Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine Systems Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi by 2018.

Prior to her position with the State of Oregon, Wade was Texas’s first coastal planning specialist through a partnership between Texas Sea Grant and the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (MANERR) with funding from a grant provided by NOAA. She worked with local leaders, elected officials and area citizens to help them map out ways for communities in the MANERR area — all or parts of Aransas, Refugio, Nueces, San Patricio and Calhoun counties in the upper coastal bend area centered about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi — to grow in environmentally responsible ways while retaining their coastal charm.

“My experience as Coastal Planning Specialist for Texas Sea Grant from 2011 to 2015 solidified my love for the Texas Coast and my passion for helping create sustainable coastal communities and protect the natural resources they depend on,” Wade said. “I was given a unique opportunity to create a program that addresses social, built and natural environmental issues, and made many personal and professional relationships that I continue to cherish to this day.”

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.