FSO’s 2015 Hero Series
A Behind the Scenes Look at the Individuals Dedicated to the Cause
Friends of the Sea Otter (FSO) is the only organization in the world dedicated to the protection of sea otters on a global scale. We do this through effective advocacy, litigation, public education, and the development of strong alliances and partnerships. We are committed to protecting this threatened species wherever sea otters are found worldwide. Why? Because the health of the nearshore coastal ecosystem is dependent upon their survival. The sea otter is a keystone species, meaning what happens to the sea otter, happens to the ecosystem. It is our duty to protect this marine mammal. But who exactly is behind the scenes fighting for this keystone species? Meet Friends of the Sea Otter’s feature Hero of 2015: Don Baur.
Ranked as one of “America’s Leading Environmental Lawyers” and a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie, LLP, Don Baur is an integral part of Friends of the Sea Otter’s success. Close friends with FSO founder, Margaret Owings, Mr. Baur has been advocating for sea otters for over 30 years. One of his most recent and celebrated successes representing FSO is the removal of the 20+ year No Otter Zone that prohibited the free movement of sea otters throughout their natural habitat in Southern California. Don helped spearhead the removal of this impediment to sea otter recovery, a critical decision that will help the threatened species expand its range over time.
It’s no coincidence that Don headlines the FSO Hero Series. Without his guidance, passionate approach, and legal expertise, FSO would not have garnered the triumphant successes that it has had over the past three decades. Don’s input and dedication to protecting the natural environment are instrumental in the success of the organization. His expertise includes extensive experience in all relevant federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and coastal/ocean and public land laws. Previously an attorney for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and General Counsel of the Marine Mammal Commission, Don’s efforts on ocean conservation include his service on the Board of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, his position as a professor of Ocean Law at the Vermont Law School for the last two decades, and as the lead editor and author of legal treatises on both endangered species and ocean law.
Thanks in part to the expertise, leadership, and experience of Don Baur, ocean enthusiasts and sea otter lovers alike can be confident that no rock will be left unturned to ensure protection for these threatened animals. Don Baur states, “The fact that the sea otter species has been able to fight off extinction is due, in no small measure, to the extraordinarily effective conservation program mounted by FSO. This species still remains at great risk, however, and FSO and its supporters have major challenges ahead. The recovery of this species will depend on sustained advocacy for the foreseeable future.” Where there are legal challenges regarding the protection of sea otters, you can be sure that FSO will be there to confront them.