State of the Watershed Spotlight | Towards Creating Healthier Communities

September 19, 2018

 On September 27th, the Council for Watershed Health and LA Sanitation will host the 2018 State of the LA River Watershed Symposium, convening diverse stakeholders and expert panelists to identify actionable next steps for creating a healthy and resilient watershed. CWH will share a decade of LA River monitoring data and the comprehensive story of the river’s condition, which includes water quality, habitat assessment and aquatic health.


The second panel, "Towards Creating Healthier Communities" will explore the connections between ecological and community health and identify opportunities to improve community well-being in an heavily urbanized watershed. Read on to learn more about our distinguished panelists who will guide the discussion.


Moderator – Pauline Louie,  Former Watershed Ambassador, Urban Waters Federal Partnership

Pauline Louie served as the Watershed Ambassador for the Los Angeles River from 2012-2016 as part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a national program started in 2011 to coordinate and accelerate a variety of sustainability, economic and community development projects connecting communities with their urban waterways.  


Ms. Louie has coordinated local and federal engagement for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development for nearly 20 years on issues of sustainability, housing, economic development and community resiliency.  Ms. Louie has managed projects involving Federal Empowerment Zones, Brownfields Redevelopment, Homelessness, farmworker housing, and grant-writing training. She is recognized as one of HUD’s key field staff in disaster recovery, having coordinated long term recovery planning, and served as the lead Housing official in FEMA long-term community recovery efforts following devastating events in Florida and California.


Before coming to HUD, Ms. Louie worked for Keyser Marston Associates, Inc., where she consulted on redevelopment and BRAC reuse issues to cities and developers in California and Nevada.  Prior to that, she was a Contracts and Grants Administrator for the University of California during which she coordinated several job retraining grants and fundraising efforts.


Ms. Louie attended UCLA where she earned Bachelor's degrees in Political Science, and in Geography/ Environmental Studies.  Also from UCLA, she completed her Master's degree in Urban Planning, with a focus on environmental and transportation policy and planning.  She has also completed an executive program in Community Building at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Both Pauline and her husband Tim have fond memories of being raised near the Los Angeles River; they continue to make their home in the area.


Green Infrastructure as a Community Enhancement – Belinda Faustinos, Nature for All

Ms. Faustinos is the Executive Director of Nature for All, a coalition of 12 organizations that work to build a diverse base of support for ensuring that everyone in the Los Angeles area – no matter where they live – has equitable access to the wide range of benefits that nature can provide. Prior to this position she served as the Executive Officer of the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) for 10 years and as Deputy Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for over 17 years. She retired in May of 2011 after 40 years as a California State employee. In September of 2016 Assembly Speaker Rendon appointed her to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and she is an alternate California Coastal Commissioner appointed by Pro Tem Steinberg. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar appointed her to the National Park System Advisory Board in 2010 and she was re-appointed in 2014 by Secretary Jewell. As a member of the NPS Advisory Board she Co-Chaired the American Latino Heritage Experts Panel and the Urban Committee. She also serves on two local advisory committees as Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Solis’s appointee and on the board of the Council for Watershed Health and Robert Redford Conservancy.

 How One Water Builds Resilience, Health, Jobs, and Equity – Traci Minamide, LASAN

Traci serves as Chief Operating Officer for the City of Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment Department, a department of over 3,000 employees with an annual revenue of $1 billion.  She has been with the City for over 30 years serving in many capacities, including water planning, industrial pretreatment, environmental regulations, wastewater treatment, biosolids, and water reclamation.

Traci holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Loyola Marymount University, and certification in Executive Management for State and Local Government from Harvard University. She is also a licensed professional Civil Engineer in the State of California and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. She serves as President for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) and was a member of the State of California’s Advisory Panel on Direct Potable Reuse.