The Barnegat Bay Partnership is a department of Ocean County College.
For Information and General Questions: (732) 255-0472 • fax: (732) 255-0358
Barnegat Bay Partnership Staff
Stanton Hales, Jr., Ph.D.
Dr. Stan Hales brought a diverse background and wealth of experience in education, research, and management when he was hired as the BBP Director on July 1, 2007. Before joining the BBP, Dr. Hales was a Senior Fish and Wildlife Biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s New Jersey Field Office, where he coordinated planning and other activities and authored The Hackensack Meadowlands Initiative: Preliminary Conservation Planning. Previously, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the Coastal Conservation Research Program (CCRP) at Richard Stockton College. The CCRP was a collaborative student-based research program supported by many organizations, including the Wetlands Institute, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Hales has overseen the tremendous increase in the capacity and expertise of the BBP staff. From 2014 through 2018, he also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association of National Estuary Programs, which coordinates and communicates outreach and other efforts by all 28 National Estuary Programs.
Dr. Hales’ research activities have focused on growth, mortality, and movements of estuarine fishes, but also include published studies on ecotoxicology, population genetics, reproductive ecology, zooarchaeology, and other topics. He received his B.S. from Davidson College, his M.S. from the College of Charleston, and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.
Since joining the BBP in 2011, Karen has been managing the communication initiatives and educational programs of the Barnegat Bay Partnership. In addition to maintaining this website, she created and now manages the content for the BBP’s Jersey-Friendly Yards website (JerseyYards.org), an easy-to-use online guide to landscaping for clean water and a healthy environment in New Jersey.
Karen received a B.S. in Biology from Bucknell University. She began her career working for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as an Environmental Specialist. Her experience included enforcement of coastal land use laws and assessment of the environmental impacts of projects. She also monitored water quality for the Monmouth County Health Department as an Environmental Health Specialist, and worked for the New Jersey Forest Resource Education Center as a Seasonal Naturalist. In 2007-2008, Karen served in an AmeriCorps program as the New Jersey Watershed Ambassador for the Barnegat Bay watershed, coordinating public outreach efforts and presenting educational programs throughout the watershed.
Karen is an active participant in community outreach as a long-time volunteer for two local organizations, the Ocean County Master Gardeners and Jackson Pathfinders. She is also one of the co-leaders of the Jersey Shore chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and exploring local trails.
Jim Vasslides, Ph.D., CFP
Jim came to the BBP with a wide range of terrestrial, estuarine, and marine research and management experience. Before joining the BBP, he was a member of the Rutgers University Marine Field Station, where he conducted research on New Jersey’s marine resources, primarily on the Barnegat Bay and near-shore coastal waters. Prior to that Jim worked as a Fishery Biologist II for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries in the Pamlico Sound, overseeing studies of the Sound’s juvenile and adult fish populations, as well as state-wide management of American eel and Atlantic Croaker. Before focusing on marine and estuarine issues, Jim was involved with wetland restoration and enhancement projects, threatened and endangered species surveys, and project planning and permitting.
Jim received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and has published papers on fish community assemblages, feeding interactions, early life history movements, as well as ecosystem modelling. His research interests include the role of estuaries as nurseries, the restoration of shallow water habitats, and climate change effects on species distributions and assemblages.
Water Quality Specialist
After graduating from Stockton University with a B.S. in Environmental Science, Nicole began her career working with the NJDEP as a biological technician and went on to gain years of water quality experience overseeing treatment and laboratory operations at major surface water treatment plants and well systems. Nicole joined the BBP staff as a field and lab technician in 2015 where she worked on a range of projects including diadromous fish surveys, wetland monitoring, and seagrass monitoring. It was here that her love of field work and research to improve and protect our natural resources and environment was reinvigorated.
Nicole’s experience was instrumental in launching the BBP’s Continuous Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Barnegat Bay and earning NJDEP certification for the BBP lab. As the Water Quality Specialist, she enjoys administering the continuous monitoring program and supporting other BBP projects that involve water quality. She is excited to continue and expand upon our water quality monitoring to aid in research and regulatory processes.
Wetlands and Watershed Coordinator
Ceili has over 10 years of environmental science experience working in a variety of different ecosystems. She received her B.S. in Biology from Stockton University, where she gained experience working with Diamondback Terrapins in coastal salt marshes. From there, she took her foundations in biology and chemistry to obtain a Master’s degree in Ecology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Her thesis research focused on water level regulation and its effect on water quality and plankton communities in coastal freshwater wetlands of the Upper St. Lawrence River.
Ceili started working for the BBP in early 2015 as a field and lab technician. She worked on variety of projects throughout the watershed, including wetlands assessments, water quality monitoring, fisheries monitoring, and outreach programs. Her strong leadership skills lead her to accept a position at Rutgers University where she coordinated instructional laboratory operations for the Department of Life Sciences. Ceili’s passion for environmental science and coastal sciences lead her to her current role at the BBP as the Wetlands and Watershed Coordinator. Here she works as the project coordinator in the effort to develop and implement watershed-based management plans for several sub-watersheds within the larger Barnegat Bay watershed.
John (JJ) Egan
JJ Egan has been a lifelong Jersey Shore resident, and has spent most of his time on or in the ocean and estuaries around New Jersey. This passion has lead him to pursue a career in Marine Science.
JJ originally joined the Barnegat Bay Partnership as a Field Technician in the Spring of 2022, and worked primarily as the lead on the long-term seining project. This was a perfect fit, considering his long-standing interest in estuarine fishes. He continued to work with the BBP on wetlands projects and the spring eel population study, and eventually stepped into his current role as the Field Specialist.
Before joining the BBP, JJ received his B.S. in Marine Science from Stockton University and his MS in Environmental Studies from The College of Charleston. While in Charleston, he worked at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in the Coastal Reserves and Outreach Division. He undertook a number of tasks, including the day-to-day operation of the Marine Gamefish Tagging Program, which would give birth to his thesis project about the state of catch-and-release fishing in South Carolina. After Graduate School, JJ worked in the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program, where he conducted sampling on gillnet, trawl, clam dredge and high-volume fishing vessels.
Bailey Sanders grew up in Toms River, New Jersey and attended Rowan University, where she studied freshwater zooplankton. After graduating from Rowan University in 2020 with a degree in Biological Sciences, Bailey continued her studies by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she studied benthic macroinvertebrate populations in agricultural drainage ditches. She is slated to graduate with her MS in May, 2023. After returning to New Jersey, she served in the AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador program as the 2022-2023 Barnegat Bay ambassador, who is hosted by the BBP. Bailey fell in love with teaching the public about benthic macroinvertebrates, which started her transition from pursuing a research-based career to becoming an informal educator. Now, she continues on the informal educator path as the new Stewardship Specialist for the Barnegat Bay Partnership.
Wetlands and Watershed Specialist
Sammie started out as a volunteer with the BBP after graduating from Unity College with a B.S. in Marine Biology. After assisting with eel monitoring and juvenile fish sampling, she soon returned to Unity to get her Master’s in Natural Resource Management. She officially joined the BBP team as a Field and Lab Technician in the spring of 2020, and has enjoyed working on a variety of projects, including stream crossing assessments, water-quality monitoring, and wetlands work. Sammie took her knowledge of water-quality instruments to the NJDEP lakes program in 2021, where she performed routine water-quality monitoring and physical habitat assessments. Shortly after returning to the BBP, she transitioned into her current position, where she continues to monitor both coastal and inland habitats as well as run the community science program, Paddle for the Edge.
Barbara E. Spinweber
EPA Region 2 Program Coordinator
AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador
Barnegat Bay Partnership is the Host Agency for the NJ Watershed Ambassador for the Barnegat Bay watershed (WMA13). The NJ Watershed Ambassador Program is an AmeriCorps program designed to promote watershed stewardship through education and community outreach. AmeriCorps is a national service initiative that engages more than 70,000 Americans each year in volunteer service that benefits education, public safety, health, and the environment. A watershed ambassador is assigned to each of the 20 main watersheds in New Jersey. During their term of service, the ambassadors present programs, monitor streams and rivers, and complete projects designed to benefit their watersheds.
Email the current Barnegat Bay watershed ambassador at email@example.com.