Lia Protopapadakis Flynn

PhD (D.ENV) Student

IOES Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE)

Personal Website

Lia Protopapadakis F. is in residency with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Regulatory Division, Los Angeles District. The Corps Regulatory Division has arguably the broadest authority of any federal agency to regulate private activities in ocean waters. However, this authority is often overshadowed by the Corps’ permitting program for discharges of dredged or fill material in wetlands. As a result, very little is known about the impacts permitted activities have on marine habitats, whether compensatory mitigation is occurring and is successful, or even the basic patterns of permitting in marine habitats. Lia’s dissertation seeks to answer these questions at three levels: 1) nationwide in comparison to the Corps permitting in wetlands and freshwater systems, 2) for eelgrass in the Southern California Bight, and 3) California-wide in relation to the California Coastal Commission’s recent sea level rise adaptation policy. As a surfer, SCUBA diver, kayaker, and stand up paddleboarder, Lia is an all around waterwoman, with a passion for the ocean and facing challenges head-on. Prior to starting her doctoral degree, Lia obtained a B.S. in Biology from USC (but don’t hold that against her), an M.E.M. in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University, and worked for over eight years in the ocean and coastal management relm, developing ocean policy and legislation as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow with the U.S. Congress, restoring kelp forests, developing local sustainable seafood, participating in MPA planning, and conducting research underwater, in the air, and at sea in the tropical Pacific, tropical Atlantic, California, and Antarctica. She came to the ESE program to enhance her analytical and technical skills and to forward a career reducing risks for coastal habitat and infrastructure by applying sof engineering solutions.