About Us

Coastal Conservation’s mission is to remove introduced invasive vertebrate species from islands to encourage the natural recovery of the ecosystem including seabird colonies and native plants (restoring the balance). We work closely with government conservation agencies and non-governmental organizations in Canada and globally in order to achieve this goal.

Coastal Conservation’s team is comprised of staff and technical advisors with significant expertise in biological systems and invasive species eradications. Our capabilities include:

  • Invasive species detection and eradication including design, planning, and implementation;
  • Ecosystem monitoring to assess project outcomes;
  • Addressing political, regulatory, and logistical complexities that are inherent to invasive species management;
  • Development of Best Management Practices and Standard Operating procedures for aerial broadcast baiting, eradication trials, biomarker trials, and biosecurity planning
  • Providing expert opinion on international invasive species projects, including but not limited to:
    • non-target (native species) risk assessments for islands in the South Pacific and French Polynesia on behalf of Island Conservation (www.islandconservation.org)
    • reviewing project feasibility plans for the US Fish and Wildlife Service
    • reviewing invasive species proposals for US and international projects on behalf of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
    • Reviewing the cause of eradication failures
  • Prioritization of islands for restoration including data collection and analyses; and
  • Developing invasive species curriculums for school children to support the establishment of long-term invasive species early detection and prevention programs

Staff, Associates and Technical Advisors

Chris Gill, MSc

Program Director

Chris Gill has 20 years of experience in applied conservation biology with a primary focus on protecting rare and endangered species. In 2010 Chris founded Coastal Conservation, an organization whose mission is to restore island ecosystems in Canada and internationally that have been impacted by invasive vertebrate species.

Currently, Chris is working with the Canadian government to undertake invasive vertebrate eradications on Haida Gwaii and on islands off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia to restore habitat for seabirds and rare plant communities. Chris has also applied his background in ecotoxicology, planning, impact assessments, and diplomacy for other island restoration projects in the Central Pacific, California, and US Caribbean.

In 2014 Chris received the prestigious Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence for the Night Birds Returning program (invasive rat eradication on four seabird islands in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site). The CEO Award of Excellence is presented annually and celebrates the outstanding achievements of employees and project partners as they work to fulfill Parks Canada’s mandate, vision and goals.

Pete McClelland,

Project Manager and Technical Advisor

Pete McClelland has over 15 years of introduced species eradication from islands. He has successfully managed rodent eradications on 5 islands including 122ha Putauhinu Island, 86 ha Rarotoka Island in 1996; 1896ha Whenua Hou /Codfish Island in 1997, and lead the project to eradicate Norway rats from 11,300ha subantarctic Campbell Island in 2001, the world’s largest rodent eradication undertaken to date.

Following the Campbell Island project Pete was asked to provide advice on a wide range of other eradications both in New Zealand and overseas ranging from the Tropical Pacific to the Azores to South Georgia (which when completed this project will be the largest rodent eradication at over 50,000ha). More recently he lead the successful eradication of rats from 4 privately owned (Tribal land) islands off Stewart Island and spent 3 months on Macquarie Island as the technical advisor.

Mr. McClelland is currently actively involved in the planning for eradications on South Georgia, Gough Island and many smaller projects in New Zealand and the South Pacific. He also acted as a technical advisor for phase 2 of the Gwaii Haanas Night Birds Returning project.

Gregg Howald,

Technical Advisor

Gregg Howald is one of the world’s foremost experts in island restoration – over the past 15 years he has directed, consulted, advised, participated in and/or managed rodent eradication projects on more than 20 islands in 5 countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, and Micronesia.

Gregg has been directly involved with the development, planning, managing and/or directing island rodent eradication projects in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska (Rat Island; Bay of Islands – Adak); Haida Gwaii (Langara, Lucy, Cox); Channel Islands, California (Anacapa Island; Farallon Islands; San Miguel Island; Alcatraz Island); Gulf of California, Mexico (San Pedro Martir, San Jorge, Farrallon de San Ignacio, Isabel); Caribbean (Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico; Banco Chinchorros, Mexico); Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (Rabida Island); Hawaiian Islands (Lehua Island; Wake Island); Line Islands (Palmyra Atoll); Caroline Islands, Micronesia (Ant Atoll, Pohnpei State Islands; Fanna Island, Palau; Yap). He has also been involved with and participated in the design of a strategic approach to rodent eradications in the Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska, USA; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; and Micronesia (including Palau).

Gregg has expertise in ecotoxicology, environmental compliance, and project management, has published six peer-reviewed articles, and has given over 30 presentations to the scientific and conservation communities.

Gregg’s direct contribution to the field of rodent eradication includes guiding private industry to develop three specific bait products (two for aerial broadcast, one for bait station) for conservation purposes. He also worked with regulatory agencies (USEPA and USDA) to register (permit) the use of these baits in four countries (United States, Mexico, Ecuador and Micronesia) with reviews underway in Canada and Chile.

Gregg has extensive experience in working with government agencies based in North America to conduct environmental assessments and to design research protocols and implement field studies to carry out data collection in support of environmental assessments and/or decision making process (permitting) for rodent eradications (California, Hawaii, Alaska, Line Islands, Haida Gwaii).

Tony DeNicola, PhD

Technical Advisor

Dr. DeNicola is the president and founder of White Buffalo, Inc. a non-profit organization whose mandate is to conserve native species and ecosystems through the control or eradication of introduced ungulate species. Dr. DeNicola received a MS from Yale School of Forestry and a PhD in wildlife ecology and management from Purdue University.

In addition to being recognized as a Certified Wildlife Biologist by the Wildlife Society, he holds research affiliate positions with the University of Georgia and the Denver Zoological Society. Dr. DeNicola has worked on hundreds of field projects, produced more than 30 publications in reputable scientific journals, and presented at numerous professional conferences.

Moretta Shuert, BSc

Project Coordinator

Moretta Shuert completed her BSc in Biology at the University of Victoria and spent several years managing specimen collections at the Royal BC Museum before joining Coastal Conservation. She has used her training and experience in public education and technical writing to develop invasive species curriculum material for elementary school student as well as preparing technical documents required for invasive species projects, including biosecurity plans, feasibility studies, operational plans, and environmental impact assessments.