Noah Valenstein,Chairperson, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. He was appointed Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection by Governor Rick Scott on May 23, 2017 and reappointed by Governor Ron DeSantis on February 15, 2019. He returned to DEP with nearly 15 years of public service experience with governmental agencies and a passion for natural resource protection. Noah previously served as executive director for the Suwannee River Water Management District, the Executive Office of the Governor and Florida House of Representatives, as well as with several of Florida’s leading environmental nonprofit groups. Noah graduated with honors from the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He also holds a law degree from Florida State University.
--Barbara Goodman, Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation, has been designated by Secretary Valenstein to represent the Department of Environmental Protection on ARC and to serve as Chairperson.
Dr. William Palmer, President of the Tall Timbers Research Station, an organization dedicated to wildlife research and conservation activity. He has degrees in zoology and wildlife sciences and has been working to restore grassland habitats on 100,000 acres of public land in Florida. He is the author of many papers on the environment of bobwhite, wild turkeys, and on the effects of prescribed burning for Southern forests.
Eric Sutton, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for the management of the FWC and serves a seven-member Commission. He has over 20 years of professional experience in land and resource management in Florida. Mr. Sutton previously served as FWC's Assistant Executive Director and as the Director of the Habitat and Species Conservation Division. Mr. Sutton holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in zoology from the University of South Florida.
--Dr. Thomas Eason, Assistant Executive Director, has been designated by Director Sutton to represent the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on ARC
Jim Karels, Director of the Florida Forest Service. This position oversees all wildland fire and land management activities within the Florida Forest Service. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management. Jim has more than 27 years’ experience in wildfire response and land management with the U.S. Forest Service and the Florida Forest Service.
Dr. Timothy Parsons is a cultural resources management professional and archaeologist who has worked in the field since 2003. He completed his Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology at Florida State University and received an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology at Millsaps College. Dr. Parsons is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and a member of the Society for American Archaeology and the Southeastern Archaeological Conference. Before his appointment as Division Director and State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), he served as the Division’s Deputy SHPO and Supervisor of Federal and State Compliance and Review. Prior to joining the Division, he spent six years with the National Park Service Southeast Archaeological Center, and previously worked as the cultural and historical programs manager for the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northern Virginia.
Lynetta Usher Griner,Officer of the Usher Land and Timber Company in Chiefland. She has been an attorney for 28 years, leaving private practice to work for her family timber business. She gained valuable experience in land-management issues as a former member of the Governing Board of the Suwannee River Water Management District. She has also worked with Friends of Fanning Springs, a citizen-support organization for Fanning Springs State Park. Plus, she was also a member of the Florida Forever Advisory Council, which evaluated Florida Forever projects when the program was set up as a replacement for Preservation 2000.
Elva Peppers is president of Florida Environmental & Land Services Inc., assisting private clients, municipalities, and agencies to develop permittable and sustainable projects. Ms. Peppers held positions with DEP and two private environmental consulting firms and has 25 years of experience in the environmental field. She graduated from FSU with a degree in biology.
Jack Vogel, President, Natural Resource Planning Services Inc. He started his consulting forestry firm in 1974 and has been working as a forester since receiving a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at the University of Florida in 1969. During his professional career he has served as President of the Florida Forestry Association, Chair of the Pasco County Soil and Water Conservation District, and member of the Withlacoochee River Basin Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. He has worked in all aspects of forestry, including timber inventories, appraisals, acquisition, prescribed burning and forest management.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.