BTNEP Staff Bio
Kerry Michael St.Pé
Kerry St. Pé is currently (1997 to Present) the Executive Director of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), a nationally recognized effort dedicated to preserving and restoring the 4.2 million-acre area between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers in Southeast, Louisiana. Before becoming director of BTNEP, he served as the Chair of its Scientific-Technical Committee from 1991 to 1996 and was a member of the BTNEP Management Committee.
Kerry grew up near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Port Sulphur, Louisiana during the ‘50s and ‘60s where the vast coastal marshes surrounding his home inspired him to become a marine biologist. He graduated from Nicholls State University in 1973.
Kerry worked for 23 years as a field biologist and regional coordinator for the Water Pollution Control Division of the Louisiana Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries and Environmental Quality. His work allowed him frequent encounters with the people, marshes, and swamps of the area now known as the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary.
Under the Water Pollution Control Division, he investigated water pollution incidents and conducted studies of shell dredging and other environmental impacts in Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain as well as a major study on the impacts of oilfield brine in coastal La. His oilfield brine study was an important catalyst in getting both state and federal regulations established to stop these discharges to Louisiana water bodies.
Mr. St. Pé has directed hundreds of oil spill removal and remediation events in the coastal marshes of southeast Louisiana and has developed nationally-used training courses on diagnosing causes of fish mortalities. He has provided expert testimony to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Department of Justice as well as to the Louisiana Legislature. He serves on numerous national, state, and local advisory boards and is a frequent public speaker. His wetland restoration work has been featured in the best selling book Bayou Farewell, the Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast by Mike Tidwell and most recently in the PBS documentary, Washing Away: Losing Louisiana and the LPB documentary, Turning the Tide.
In 2004, Mr. St.Pé was invited as a member of a United State delegation, to the Mekong River Commission to forge an agreement between the member countries of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Mr. St. Pé has also received several Outstanding Publication Awards from the Louisiana Wildlife Biologists Association and was the recipient of the first (1996) and eleventh (2006) Annual Coastal Stewardship Award from the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. Kerry was appointed as the Interim Administrator of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) from July 2002 to June 2005. Kerry was awarded the Gulf Guardian Award in 2009 in the Individual Category by the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program. In May of 2010, Kerry was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Nicholls State University.
In March of 2012, Kerry was presented with the James Lynn Powell Award by the Nicholls Alumni Federation, the highest honor awarded to an alumnus of the university.