About Deanna

Assignment: Deanna is currently working with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to facilitate the update of the Oregon State Rocky Shores Management Strategy. This strategy is a subsection of the Territorial Sea Plan that is responsible for the management of rocky area resources along the Oregon Coast. During this process, she is working with a multitude of agency, government, and private stakeholders that have a vested interest in coastal resources. Additionally, Deanna is responsible for assuring transparency and active engagement of this process with the public. Education: Deanna completed a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the State University of New York at Oneonta in 2014 where she focused on aquatic invasive species research. She recently completed her M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University where she researched community resilience in relation to the commercial fishing industry.

The Quickest Year on Record

The realization that my fellowship is coming to an end has not yet completely hit me yet.

In a way, this year will go on record as the quickest year I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve had the opportunity to gain more hands on experience in my field (Marine Resource Management) than during any other chapter of my life and it has been an absolute honor to work alongside the amazing staff at the Oregon Coastal Management Program.  So in wrap up, and for my final Oregon Sea Grant blog post I thought it was only fitting to share just a tidbit of what I have learned, things I have discovered about myself along the way, and what I see in my future.

BUT FIRST:  It goes without saying, but I couldn’t have come this far in such a short year without the opportunity to be an Oregon Sea Grant Natural Resource Policy Fellow.  The OSG team is a well oiled machine that does the work of an office twice their size.  It’s not often that you find such a supportive and knowledgeable group of individuals.  I’m truly grateful for this experience and I only hope the end of my fellowship is not a goodbye, but rather a see you soon to the Sea Grant family that has embraced this loud and salty New Yorker for 2 years of graduate research and 1 year of professional development.

Image may contain: Deanna Ester Caracciolo, smiling, outdoor and nature

That’s a Wrap

I know..how cliche, but I’ve truly learned more about myself as a professional and the field of resource management in the last 12 months than I have throughout my 6 years of environmental higher education.  For full transparency, I wrote this post partially outlining what I have experienced and learned, but have also somewhat directed it to myself a year ago-

Start things off right:  All mentor-fellow relationships are different, but starting off on the right foot can ease any early concerns.  Sit down and discuss your expectations of one another.  Coming directly from grad school can cause you to accept one-sided interactions (your adviser asks you to do something and you stop the rotation of Earth on it’s axis to make it happen).  Fellowships maybe a step in between school and a permanent position, but communicating clear expectations and realism will be necessary long after the fellowship has ended.  So don’t be afraid to go home at the end of the work day and do something for yourself without feeling guilty.  Your tasks will still be there tomorrow and your boss should understand.  That brings me to the next point-

Work-Life Balance is real!:  For those that knew me in throughout my college career – sorry if you just had a mild aneurysm hearing that come from me.  This realization was one of the hardest for me to come to.  As a certified “yes-girl” I thrived on calendar filling, blood-shot eye causing, CV building experiences.  Yet this fellowship has taught me that although those experiences helped me to get where I am today, sometimes being a “maybe-girl” or a “I’d rather stay in and watch every 2-star romcom on Netflix with my dog that day-girl” is completely acceptable.  Every hour of your day doesn’t have to be optimized for professional development.  At a point, your mental health and relaxation is worth more than trying to teach yourself a new skill at 10pm on youtube because a professor back in freshman year statistics said it was a great way to get a job one day (true story).  Although I never did full grasp that specific skill, this year was still filled with new personal and professional development – I’ve learned how to sew my own cloths, weave a basket, and have even spent some time reading FUN BOOKS!  Overall, it’s great to be thirsty for professional development and bettering your career path, but no candle can burn at both ends forever – so treat yourself!

Don’t hesitate to ask:  Slightly contradictory to my last bullet, but still important.  I began my fellowship expecting to work on the Territorial Sea Plan – Rocky Shores Management Strategy, and I have, but I knew I wanted to do more with my time at the Department of land Conservation and Development.  Luckily my mentor is a super busy guy, so he was more than open to letting me help on a multitude of other projects.  This has allowed me to further work on skills like meeting facilitation, internship supervision, group logistics, grant writing, web development, tribal relations, policy drafting, commission briefings, and so much more.  At the same time I have also started work on an evaluative component to Sea Grant scholar opportunities.  Moral of the story – want experience doing something? Just ask! Most of the time somebody wants help doing something too!

Looking toward the future 

My long and short-term goals have definitely evolved and grown throughout my education and fellowship.  If you would have told me as a brash young undergrad with my sights set on a PhD, 1,000 publications, and a life filled with chaining myself to trees, that I would be working in government and facilitating policy writing surrounding coastal management I would have laughed and gone back to reading Silent Spring (nerd alert).  But overall, here is where I stand today-

  • Short-Term Goals:  I was honored to partner with the Coastal program to apply for and receive a NOAA Project of Special Merit grant ($225k) to continue the work on the TSP.  I’m now actively competing for the position that was written into that grant which will extend my position for another 18 months. – Fingered crossed!  Additionally, I’d like to go back to school part time and obtain my project management certificate.
  • Long-Term Goals:  Although I haven’t completely ruled out a life filled with chaining myself to trees, I hope to also continue building my skills as a facilitator and project manager while aim to pursue a law degree part time along the way.   I like the idea of working for state government or a non-profit like the Nature Conservancy as a marine projects/policy coordinator.  In a perfect world I would find a home with Sea Grant as an extension agent, project/division coordinator/etc, but regardless of my position title, wherever I end up, I’d like to be in a supervisory role filled with learning and logistics (who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet?).

Lastly, wherever I go and whatever I do, I’m thankful to have the best support system a girl could ask for <3  I can’t thank my amazing friends and family, as well as Jake and Timber for always having my back through one adventure after the next.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: Deanna Ester Caracciolo and Brittany Harrington, people smiling, sky, ocean, outdoor, water and nature   Image may contain: Julianna Pronesti, Deanna Ester Caracciolo, Corin Harmon and Dan Yell, people smiling, people standing, night and indoor

Love & Waves,





The Hustle and Bustle of Ocean Resource Management

I’ve been extremely busy since my last check-in, which is exactly how I love to work.  Remember, diamonds are made under pressure! 

I’ve learned a lot since publishing my last post –

  1. Creating and supporting ocean policy can be a difficult hands on process of legality, long timelines, and networking.
  2. Engaging the public is necessary at all stages of a policy process, and even though you pride yourself on opening new doors to make it easier to engage, you may not always like what you hear.
  3. Sometimes you have to be comfortable throwing away a meeting agenda while facilitating a large group.
  4. Not every hotel offers complimentary hair conditioner...

The Rocky Shore Road Show

Presenting some background on the TSP Part 3 to some community members in Brookings, OR.

Since we last spoke I have been involved with creating, distributing, and managing a public scoping process to make sure all voices are heard in the Territorial Sea Plan – Part 3 update.  Oregon’s 1st Land Use Planning Goal focuses on public engagement, and as an over controlling, too connected to communication outlets, millennial, I was pretty excited to dive right into doing my best to make sure we explored every way of engaging rocky shore lovers.  This included creating online and printed outreach material, 2 online questionnaires, partnering with organizations who can promote on social media, and hosting 9 public scoping workshops all over the Oregon Coast and Willamette Valley (hence the hair conditioner revelation).

Naturally, lots of pit stops were made during the Rocky Shores Road Show. My mentor Andy Lanier thought it would be fun to document my nearly getting blown off Cape Blanco while trying to take a photo down the South Coast. Update – I did survive these Gail force winds, but my scarf sadly did not.

Some exciting news came recently!  The NOAA Project of Special Merit that I applied for in January has been accepted (based on federal funding of course).  This is by far the largest grant I have ever applied to, let alone gotten!  It will provide nearly $250,000 to support the continuation of the Rocky Shores Management Strategy update process and will also fund the creation of a communications plan to help engage and educate the many people that love and use Oregon’s rocky coast!  Stay tuned, more information is set to be coming in soon!


There are some perks to your mentor doubling as a photographer =]

Some Other Thoughts

In addition to the rocky shores process, I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to aid in other capacities around DLCD and with it’s partners!  Being able to expand into other projects has really opened my eyes to the multitude of things that Oregon’s Coastal Program is really involved in.  It’s astounding that the amazing people here are able to do so much with such a limited staff and a 30% funding cut.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like with full funding.

Reminded myself that I’m still afraid of heights at Blacklock Point!

Here are some of the other aspects of coastal management that I have been thrilled to be involved with – just to name a few

  1. Helping to staff another exciting Ocean Policy Advisory Council Meeting – and creating briefing materials to update the council on the Rocky Shores Process.
  2. Lead the efforts in promoting tribal nations correspondence for the Rocky Shores process and the Coastal Program as a whole.
  3. Learning about the many aspects of federal consistency and enforceable policies and bringing those into the Rocky Shores Process.
  4. Too many presentations to count!
  5. GIS – turns out I’m not naturally gifted at using ArcGIS…go figure…but I’m still working along to gain those skills!  Thank goodness for a patient mentor =]
  6. Gaining experience reviewing participant and company applications for different RFP’s and positions

I figured I should mix it up for once and show one of the amazing terrestrial things I’ve gotten to enjoy as a part of all of my travels. During one of our first trips to the south coast we got the most spectacular glimpse of a heard of elk in the Umpqua River Valley. The whole heard was grazing on the juicy grasses supported by the estuary. As we stood there the heard moved closer and closer until they were only tens of feet from us! Being an east coaster I couldn’t help but stand in aw of these vegetarian beasts and jokingly think “that’s the biggest white tailed deer I’ve ever seen!”

Finally, and somewhat non-related:  My possible over-use of #ILoveMyJob on Instagram has now become the butt of all my friends jokes…but what can I say… #ILoveMyJob and I don’t care who knows it!

Being welcomed into a new workplace

Over the first few months of my fellowship I have been overwhelmed with welcoming gestures.  It wasn’t until a tiny hamburger sticker came my way that I actually stopped to think about it…

The first day of a position normally starts with an introduction to your work space and people you will be working with, and I did get those introductions…along with introductions to every single person in the Salem DLCD office.  Patty Snow, the director of the Oregon Coastal Program personally introduced me to every person in the office and showed me all of the good spots!  I was blown away that a program director would take the time out of her busy day just to show a fellow around (seriously!  She does a tone.  If you don’t believe me take a look at her desk!).  Andy Lanier, my mentor and the Marine Affairs Coordinator for the Coastal Program , then sat down with me during my first week and straight out asked me “what do you want from this fellowship?” He explained it was his goal to make sure I get the experience that I was hoping for.

My desk is right near some of the Geo spacial Team desks.  All of the “GIS” people as I like to call them.  ell the GIS people all have wooden letters symbolizing the first letter of their names hanging on the front of their work space. I was truly touched when Cy, the Geo spacial team leader (from what I understand) also got me one of these letters!  I have never felt so welcomed into a work space.

It really shows that small gestures go a long way.

I’ve thought long and hard about how I want to use this blog space and I’ve decided photos are much more fun than words.  So instead of describing all of my experiences, here are some photos from them!

As part of my introduction into this project, Andy and I have been making some pit stops along the coast while on our way to other meetings.  This spot is Sea Rock!
 Far from rocky, but still beautiful – Florence Dunes
 Cape Perpetua
 Yaquina Head – What you can’t see in this photo are the 3 whales swimming around within this cove.  The wave climate was intense this day and wave sets were coming in that I couldn’t believe.  Yet the whales were not phased at all and moved around the jagged rocks like dancers.

DLCD Month #1

What a whirlwind of month!  Things have been very busy with exciting new personal and professional experiences!  From crab fishing to preparing for the first Territorial Sea Plan Rocky Shores working group meeting.  Traveling with the Coastal Program has been eye opening.  Even though I have been in Oregon for 2 years, there is still so much to learn about marine policy.  It has really made me appreciate the work that the coastal program does.

In preparation for the first TSPRS Working Group Andy put me to work on the OregonOcean.info website as well as the Citizens Guide to the Amendment Process and a needs survey.  Since, the website has been published along with the document.  Check it out at the link above!

We have also been traveling a bunch for different conferences spanning from Portland to Florence with many more to come!

Week 1 – OWET Conference in Portland.  Pictured is a marine cable cross section.


Week 2 (I think) – Coastal Staff Meeting in Newport, OR.  We also walked the evacuation route and tried to figure out how many fellows/past fellows we could fit in a photo!


Week 2 – My dogter, Timber, Mananita State Park after my first morning crabbing!


Week 4 – Florence Oregon for the Symposium by the Sea Conference