Ariel Ambruster, lead facilitator/mediator, joined the Center in 2007. She couples her background in environmental, natural resources, urban policy, and planning facilitation with extensive experience in communication and outreach. She is a former journalist now handling public outreach for the largest wetlands restoration project on the West Coast, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. As a facilitator and project manager, she has worked for state, federal and local agency clients, helping scientists think through thorny conservation matters, resource managers develop statewide strategic plans, and town members agree on community improvements. In the area of outreach and communication planning and implementation, she has developed a recreation education and stewardship plan, drafted a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers model risk communication and involvement plan around safety at a Los Angeles County dam, and helped write a State mental health anti-discrimination plan. Other clients have included the State Coastal Conservancy, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the Delta Protection Commission, the Sonoma County Water Agency and Alameda County.
Ms. Ambruster produced the Center’s working paper “Collaborative Versus Technocratic Policymaking: California's Statewide Water Plan" as her U.C. Berkeley Master’s thesis in City and Regional Planning, concentrating in Environmental Planning. The paper compares the outcomes of the first collaborative California Water Plan process to the prior traditional agency-driven process. She has presented her research findings at national conferences hosted by the American Political Science Association and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the California State conference of the American Planning Association. Ariel has fourteen years of experience as a newspaper reporter covering county, city and regional land-use and governance issues. She completed coursework at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism after earning a B.A. with highest honors in Political Science at California State University Long Beach.