heather stirratt named ijc glro director

Heather Stirratt Named Director of IJC Great Lakes Regional Office


The International Joint Commission (IJC) is very pleased to announce that Ms. Heather Stirratt has accepted the position of Director of the Commission’s Great Lakes Regional Office (GLRO) and will lead the binational regional office for the next four years.  Heather has over 27 years of professional experience in coastal and fisheries management.  Having served for over 14 years as the Great Lakes Regional Lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management, Heather has gained valuable experience providing co-management oversight of regionally and nationally dispersed staff, contractors and remote teams working to execute NOAA’s mission, address Great Lakes constituent needs, and provide the best available scientific information on which to inform decision making.

Her leadership with NOAA has afforded her with trusted knowledge of Great Lakes partners and a strong understanding of what science, service, and stewardship mean to Great Lakes communities.  Heather has a high regard for and demonstrated experience in regional engagement, active listening, and partnership development.  She has managerial leadership experience on a broad range of issues and has worked with a variety of agencies and organizations involved in protecting, enhancing, and restoring the waters of the Great Lakes.  Her collaborations include serving as the U.S. Co-lead alternate to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) – Climate Impacts Annex, U.S. representative to the GLWQA Annex 2 Management Committee and Task Team for the Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP), and NOAA Lead for the Interagency Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Study. Ms. Stirratt’s prior experience includes working for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  She has a Master’s in Marine Affairs with a concentration in Fisheries Science and Coastal Management.

Heather’s work ethic and nontraditional approaches to partnership development have been nationally recognized on three separate occasions by the Department of Commerce via award of the Bronze Medal for superior performance characterized by outstanding or significant contributions which have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the operating unit.  The most recent award was for building innovative partnerships, furthering community resilience, and protecting coastal habitats throughout the Great Lakes.  Earlier awards were for her work towards a regulation to reduce sea turtle bycatch in fishing and for fishery management plans to help sustain U.S. Atlantic tuna, swordfish, and shark populations.

Heather’s passion for scientific understanding of natural systems extends well beyond her career ambitions. She is a skilled hiker, topography and bathymetry map aficionado, advanced/rescue scuba diver, and she truly loves spending quality time outdoors with her husband and three children. Don’t be surprised if you bump into the Stirratt five while camping and paddling the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the summer months.   

The Great Lakes Regional Office assists the IJC in carrying out its responsibilities under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  The work of the GLRO, and the Boards established by the GLWQA, advance Great Lakes restoration and protection initiatives working with local, regional, national, and binational collaborators.  Commissioners and staff are delighted to greet Heather in this key leadership position in 2022.