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Marine center’s new director hopeful amid funding challenges

Kathy Boyer, interim executive director at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center in Tiburon, examines newly collected eelgrass to be used for a restoration project in Richardson Bay. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

Research scientist and biology professor Katharyn Boyer has taken the helm at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center and says she will do everything in her power to save the struggling marine-biology station.

Boyer took over for Karina Nielsen as interim executive director of San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Campus off Paradise Drive on June 6. She says she knows the job will be a challenging one. Falling enrollment and budget shortfalls at the university threaten the existence of the facility, but she said she is confident a committee convened to study the center’s finances will find a way to keep the research station going.

“I’m going to be pursuing everything I can, and so will other people on this committee,” Boyer said.

The center has always struggled for funding. Located on the site of a former Naval base and factory, many of its historic buildings are decaying and costly to maintain or restore. In April, officials for the university, battered by post-pandemic budgetary woes, said they would be forced to consider closing the facility within the next few years if new sources of funding aren’t found.

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