Senior Marine Mammal Biologist, HDR EOC
April 2009 - present
Prepared marine mammal section for environmental impact statement for Safe Harbor LNG deepwater port project. Worked on marine mammal take permit application and Biological Assessment for the Cook Inlet beluga whale for the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority’s (KABATA) proposed Knik Arm Crossing in upper Cook Inlet. Part of team to conduct acoustic monitoring of ambient noise in upper Cook Inlet for KABATA. Conducted an assessment for ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. (CPAI) regarding the NMFS’ proposed designation of critical habitat for the beluga whale. The focus of the work was evaluation of NMFS’ habitat delineation; beluga occurrence in CPAI’s operating area within Cook Inlet; as well as CPAI’s current best management practices for the beluga whales. Similar work prepared for CPAI relative to proposed critical habitat designation for the polar bear on the North Slope.
Consultant, Ziphius EcoServices
December 2007 - March 2009
Senior Staff Consulting Professional with engineering-environmental Management, Inc. (e2M) – prepared marine mammal sections for environmental impact statement for Port Dolphin LNG deepwater port. Author's assistant to Dr. William E. Evans for his memoirs.
Senior Environmental Scientist, Geo-Marine, Inc., Plano, TX
August 2000 - December 2007
Served as lead marine protected species expert and as the senior marine mammal biologist for the company. She prepared marine resources assessments (MRAs) and NEPA and related documents (e.g., EIS, EA, BA, EFH Assessment, IHA/LOA) for protected and commercial marine resources in naval operating areas (OPAREAs). Tasks included reviewing and summarizing marine protected species survey and stranding data and literature to determine the occurrence patterns of these species in the area of interest. Information on the status, habitat preferences, distribution, behavior and life history, and acoustics and hearing information was provided for these species. MRAs essentially serve as descriptions of the affected environment, which are used by the Navy and their contractors for environmental planning purposes, as well as to address environmental stewardship goals. Served as co-project manager for three MRAs and three NEPA projects.
Marine Resources Assessments
Data Interpretation and Report Preparation
Mariana Islands Sea Turtle Cetacean Survey (MISTCS)
Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Density Estimation for the GOMEX OPAREAs/Testing and Training Areas
Navy OPAREA Density Estimates (NODEs) for the Southeast Operational Region
Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Density Estimation (NODEs) for the Northeast OPAREAs
Vieques Island Baseline Survey, Naval Station (NAVSTA) Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
Environmental Assessment to Conduct Explosive Charge Detonations Associated with Mine Warfare Training in the Panama City/Pensacola Naval Operating Areas
Environmental Assessment of Increased Explosive Charges Associated with Mine Warfare Training in the Corpus Christi Naval At-Sea Operating Areas (Corpus Christi OPAREAS)
Environmental Documentation for Installation and Use of the Fixed Naval Gunfire Scoring System (FNGSS)
Updated Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
Assessment for Virtual At-Sea Training/Integrated Maritime Portable Acoustic Scoring & Simulator (VAST/IMPASS) System
Vieques Island Baseline Surveys—Subtask: Seagrass Bed Damage Assessment, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
Essential Fish Habitat Assessment for Puerto Rico Ports Authority Mosquito Pier Ferry Terminal Facilities, Airport Pier and Rescue Boat Ramp, Isabel Segunda Ferry Terminal Demolition and New Pier Construction, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
Marine Habitat Mapping for Development of Geographic Mitigation Measures
Investment and Mitigation Analysis for Marine Species
Biologist, Minerals Management Service (MMS), New Orleans, LA
April 1995 - August 2000
Responsible for the preparation of NEPA documents in the areas of marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds relative to oil and gas exploration and development activities in the Gulf of Mexico. Provided support to the Environmental Studies Program with expert biological input toward planning, procurement, and management of MMS-funded environmental studies in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GulfCet I, GulfCet II). Facilitator and session chairperson at MMS professional meetings and workshops, including conception and coordination of a Marine Protected Species Workshop held in June 1999 by the agency. Received the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Unsung Hero Award during the 150th anniversary celebration of the DOI in 1999 for her public outreach efforts about marine mammals. She was also selected to speak on behalf of all the awardees at this celebration in the presence of President Bill Clinton and Secretary Bruce Babbitt.
Coordinator of University Research, Texas A&M University, Galveston, TX
1994 - 1995
Responsible for research proposal routing and disseminating grant information to principal investigators. Worked with university professors to review their completed grant proposals (verifying accurate completion of requested items and reviewing numbers) before submitting to the university's research foundation.
Biologist, National Marine Fisheries Service
1990 - 1992
Contracted to determine the extent of the association of bottlenose dolphins with the shrimp fishery in Galveston Bay, by conducting behavioral observations and photo-identifying individual dolphins to determine usage of this food resource by individual dolphins and occupancy of the area by the dolphins.
Ancillary NMFS-SEFSC projects included assisting with live captures and radio-tracking of bottlenose dolphins in Matagorda Bay, TX. Served as a marine mammal observer during aerial surveys.
Additional Marine Mammal Experience
August 2022 - July 2023
Ms. Fertl has over 15 years of experience in marine mammal research, with both free-ranging and captive animals. She has been involved in shipboard and aerial surveys for cetaceans along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastlines, as well as photo-identification surveys and live-captures of dolphins. She received the John G. Shedd Aquarium Outstanding Student Award at the 10th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in 1993 for an oral presentation on her graduate research. Ms. Fertl has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles on marine mammals.
Visual Observer. Shipboard and Aerial Surveys in Various Locales
1991 - 2000
Cetacean surveys piggybacked onto NMFS ichthyoplankton cruises
Ship-based cetacean surveys as part of GulfCet cruises funded by the MMS and U.S. Geological Survey
NMFS aerial survey to determine distribution and abundance of bottlenose dolphins in response to a die-off in Texas waters
New England Aquarium aerial survey to locate and report northern right whale sightings off northern Florida/southern Georgia for ship avoidance
Received UFWFS-approved training from Florida Marine Research Institute for spotting manatees and sea turtles during aerial surveys
Miscellaneous Marine Mammal Projects
January 2025 - March 2028
Research Assistant. Long-term monitoring of bottlenose dolphins. Marine Mammal Research Program, Texas A&M University at Galveston and National Marine Fisheries Service. (January 1991-February 1996)
Research Assistant. Live captures and radio-tracking of bottlenose dolphins in Matagorda Bay. Marine Mammal Research Program, Texas A&M University at Galveston and National Marine Fisheries Service (July 1992)
Research Assistant. Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas. Oceanic Society Expeditions. (July 1992)
Researcher/Instructor, School for Field Studies, Beverly, MA (July - Aug 1990): Biology and Behavior of Bottlenose Dolphins, Beaufort, NC: Photo-identification, behavioral data collection, and boat operation; lectures on science and marine mammal biology