Agriculture Law Education Initiative and Maryland Sea Grant College
Elissa Torres-Soto is a recent Environmental and Energy Law LL.M. graduate from Georgetown University Law Center. With the supervision of Nicole Cook from the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI), she is currently working on a legal journal article about the standing requirements to present a protest to a new commercial shellfish aquaculture lease in the State of Maryland. She is also working on a fact sheet about how to transfer a commercial shellfish aquaculture lease in Maryland. Another of Elissa’s projects includes developing a guide for navigating the state and federal permitting processes for nature-based projects on the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
A native from Puerto Rico, Elissa enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and being around nature. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree in 2018 and was admitted to the practice of law in Puerto Rico in 2019. Her career goals are to aid in the strengthening of public policy and administrative processes focused on environmental justice, climate resiliency, and clean water for all.
Elissa completed her fellowship in fall 2021 and is now working as a staff attorney with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington D.C.
Maryland Sea Grant is hiring a Professional Development and Aquaculture Education Coordinator. More details.
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Smithville is a community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on the edge of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. A century ago, Smithville had more than 100 residents. Today, it has four, in two homes: an elderly couple, and one elderly woman and her son, who cares for her.
Shivish Bhandari is a graduate student in the Bioenvironmental Science Ph.D. program at Morgan State University studying environment-genome interaction in Eastern oysters. Outside of his studies, Shivish enjoys traveling, bird watching, and photography.
In the Chesapeake Bay, resource managers are currently struggling with how to develop policy to inform aquaculture (AQ) industry expansion while supporting environmental Bay goals. Specifically, the recent expansion of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) into and near oyster AQ leases is creating tension between definitions of Bay resilience. To inform policy decisions that consider ecosystem service values, I propose applying a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) of in-water and nearshore ecosystem services in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.