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Beth C.
Affiliate Assistant Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs


  • J.D. with honors, 1999, University of Washington
  • M.M.A., 1994, School of Marine Affairs
  • B.S., 1989, Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, U.C. Davis

Areas of Expertise

  • Ocean and coastal law and policy
  • Environmental regulatory compliance and permitting
  • Integration of law, science, and policy in natural resource management
  • Policy analysis
  • Organizational behavior
  • Coastal management 
  • Effective cross-disciplinary communication
  • Legal and regulatory aspects of alternative energy development
  • National Environmental Policy Act 
  • Endangered species law and policy 


Beth knew she wanted an ocean-related career following a fourth-grade field trip on an educational research vessel on San Francisco Bay.  In 1989 she graduated from U.C. Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis, with emphasis in fisheries biology.  After spending a year working as an aquaculture technician at a remote salmon hatchery in Prince William Sound, Alaska, she moved to Seattle and obtained an M.M.A. from the University of Washington School of Marine Affairs in 1994.  She then enjoyed teaching English in Japan and traveling in Asia and Europe before returning to Seattle and obtaining a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law in 1999.  During law school she served as a legal intern at American Rivers and Washington State Senate Committee Services.  Beth then served as a judicial clerk at the Washington State Court of Appeals, where she researched cases and drafted judicial opinions on a wide variety of subjects, before returning to the UW School of Marine Affairs in 2002 as a research associate.  
From 2002-2008, Beth managed the NEPA Compliance Project at SMA.  Her research examined how NOAA Fisheries scientists responded to the challenge of managing North Pacific living marine resources within a complex multi-statutory regulatory regime and during a time of increasing litigation pressure.  She also organized and gave presentations on the interface of law and science at symposiums and workshops.  
Currently, as an affiliate assistant professor, Beth continues to teach two popular courses, Introduction to Environmental Law and Process and Ocean and Coastal Law.   Beth is associate editor of Coastal Management Journal and a member of the Washington State Bar Association (#29525).   She enjoys hiking, cycling, swimming and camping with her family.  

Courses Taught 

  • SMEA/ENVIR 476, Environmental Law and Process 

  • SMEA 550B, Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy 

Editorial Services

  • Associate Editor, Coastal Management (2003 - present)

  • Articles Editor, Washington Law Review (1998-1999)

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • "Adapting to Uncertainty: Law, Science, and Management in the Steller Sea Lion Controversy."  28 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 171 (2009).

  • "NEPA Compliance in Fisheries Management: The Programmatic Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Alaskan Groundfish Fisheries and Implications for NEPA Reform."  30 Harvard Environmental Law Review 441 (2006).

  • "Why 'Separating Science and Management' Confuses the Debate over Management Reform in U.S. Fisheries."  Fisheries (31):127-129 (2006). (co-authored with Dan Huppert)

  • "Forensic Fisheries Science: Literature Review and Suggestions for Future Research."  Marine Fisheries Review 66(1) (2005).

  • "FERC's Dam Decommissioning Authority Under the Federal Power Act."  74 Washington Law Review 95 (1999).

  • "The Regional Marine Research Program (RMRP): A New Approach to Marine Research Planning."  Coastal Management 21(4): 327-332 (1993).

Selected Presentations

  • Panel Moderator and Speaker, “Measuring the Incalculable: Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” University of Washington School of Law (2011). 

  • Guest Lecturer, GTTL 502, “Marine Renewable Energy: Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities,” University of Washington (2011). 

  • “Extending Lessons from the Steller Sea Lion Controversy: Getting Ahead of the Northern Fur Seal Curve.”  Presentation materials created for North Pacific Research Board Annual Meeting, Anchorage, Alaska (2008). 

  • Faculty Seminar, “The Interface of Science and Law in Natural Resource Regulation," University of Washington School of Marine Affairs (2007).

  • Speaker, National Research Council, Committee on Mitigating Shoreline Erosion along Sheltered Coasts, Seattle, Washington (2005).

  • Speaker, Shoreline & Coastal Planners Group Meeting: “Best Available Science in Fisheries Management,” Lacey, Washington (2005).

  • Symposium Organizer and Speaker, “The Steller Sea Lion Dispute: Lessons from the Interface of Science and Law in Fisheries Management,” American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. (2005).

  • Speaker and Member of Symposium Organizing Committee: “Towards Improving Fisheries Management: Melding Science and Governance,” University of Washington (2004).

  • Speaker and Workshop Organizer, “The Law-Science Culture Clash and Its Effect on NMFS Scientists,” Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington (2004).