P.O. Box 789, Santa Paula, CA 93061 contact@santaclarariver.org


Shawn Kelly

Shawn Kelly
Acting Executive Director 

After graduating with a B.S. in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University, Shawn worked as a Coastal Engineer for the Gold Coast City Council in Queensland, Australia for a short time.  He subsequently moved to Ventura County and began a career as an Ocean Engineer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center’s Ocean Engineering Department. After 10 years working as an engineer, he returned to graduate school and obtained a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with an emphasis in marine resources. Following graduate school, he worked for a state initiative called the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) in a number of capacities.  The WRP is a partnership of 19 Federal and State public agencies working cooperatively to acquire, restore, and enhance coastal wetlands and watersheds between Point Conception and the border with Mexico. As well as working on a regional strategy for wetland recovery and the policy of wetland restoration project selection and prioritization, Shawn was the Program Manager for the Community Wetland Restoration Grant Program. Shawn’s professional interests broadly include coastal land use policy, coastal streams, rivers, and wetlands, physical oceanography, marine fisheries, ocean engineering, and climate change impacts, particularly sea level rise. Shawn is a passionate environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast, being a former competitive surfer as well as avid mountain biker and snowboarder. He is the father of two boys.


Laura Pavliscak
Restoration Manager

Laura has worked as a field biologist and land manager in the southwestern U.S. and abroad since 2001, specializing in ecological research, restoration, and biological mitigation.  She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Agroecology from the University of California Santa Cruz, and a M.S. in Aridland Ecology and Management from the University of Arizona.


Leslie Magaña 
Education & Outreach Coordinator

Leslie is a graduate from California State University, Channel Islands where she received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management. Her admiration to educate and inspire younger generations led to her internship with the  Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. While working for the National Park Service, she led educational and interpretative programs for groups of various grade levels. Apart from teaching others on the importance of conservation and the health of the environment, Leslie enjoys visiting the beach, hiking, and exploring both National & International Parks. Leslie believes that educating others about the environment is key to achieving positive change in environmental attitudes.


Gus Vankirk

Gus is a graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. Before joining the SCRC team, he performed restoration along the Santa Clara River for UCSB’s RIVRLab and worked as a Peace Corps Agroforestry Volunteer in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa.

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