Sarah Lindley Smith

Manager, Northeast Coastal Ecosystems

Areas of expertise: Marine protected areas, marine spatial planning, fishing communities, cooperative management


Sarah joined EDF in 2012 and serves as the Manager of the Northeast Coastal Ecosystems Resiliency project as part of the Diagnostics and Design team. Her work is focused in the Northeastern U.S., where she leads the Fishery Solutions Center's efforts to develop practical and comprehensive solutions that can address a suite of environmental stressors including climate change in coastal and marine ecosystems and human communities. She is also engaged in promoting strategies to rebuild fisheries in this region, including addressing the impacts of climate change on fisheries, better incorporating ecosystem elements in fisheries management and improving habitat protection. Sarah has a background in social science research and prior to joining EDF, she worked on issues related to fishing communities and marine spatial planning in New England. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island studying stakeholder participation in co-management of marine protected areas in the Caribbean. Sarah holds an M.A. in Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a B.A. from Hamilton College. Sarah lives in Rhode Island with her husband and son.


My PhD research was focused on analyzing stakeholder participation in cooperative management of marine protected areas in the Caribbean. Prior to coming to EDF, I conducted research and outreach for the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center related to marine spatial planning, offshore renewable energy, and sustainable seafood, and profiled fishing communities in the Northeast for NOAA.


  • Ph.D., University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI - Marine Affairs
  • Dissertation: An Analysis of Marine Reserve Co–Management within the Caribbean: Factors Influencing Stakeholder Participation
  • M.A., Tufts University, Medford, MA - Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
  • B.A., Hamilton College, Clinton, NY — French (Magna Cum Laude)


Smith, S.L. 2012. Toward inclusive co-management: Factors influencing stakeholder participation. Coastal Management, 40(3): 327-337.

Shumchenia, E., Smith, S., McCann, J., Carnevale, M., Fugate, G., Kenney, R., King, J., Paton, P., Schwartz, M., Spaulding, M., Winiarski, K., 2012. An adaptive framework for selecting environmental monitoring protocols to support ocean renewable energy development, in: Azzellino, A., Conley, D., Vicinanza, D., Kofoed, J. (Eds.), Marine renewable energies: Perspectives and implications for marine ecosystems, Scientific World Journal 2012, Article ID 450685, doi:10.1100/2012/450685.

Smith, S.; Pollnac, R.; Colburn, L.; Olson, J. 2011. Classification of coastal communities reporting commercial fish landings in the U.S. Northeast region: Developing and testing a methodology. Marine Fisheries Review, 73(2): 41-61.

Dalton, T.; Pollnac, R.; Forrester, G.; Smith, S. 2010. Governance factors affecting the ecological performance of marine reserves in the wider Caribbean. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Volume 62.

  • Sarah Lindley Smith

    Sarah Lindley Smith


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