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Nancy Dahl

Nancy Dahl

Practitioner Fellow, Walton Sustainability Fellowship Program, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives

Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives
Arizona State University
PO Box 878009
Tempe, AZ 85287-8009


  • Practitioner Fellow, Walton Sustainability Fellowship Program, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives


Nancy Dahl provides strategic planning, performance evaluation, reporting, course design and communications guidance as a Practitioner Fellow for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.

In 2013 Nancy retired from an executive leadership position with the Australian Commonwealth Government's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities. During her 15 years of service, she developed research and information policies, reformed evaluation and reporting practices, commissioned scientific projects and provided advice to government leaders in relation to policies and communications on environmental and sustainability issues.

Dahl’s work is focused on bridging the gaps between the scientific community and policymakers in order to strengthen relations and capacity on both sides. She has a PhD in program evaluation and specializes in designing evaluations to support adaptive management and performance reporting. Her experiences with communications, relationship management and information brokerage come from wildly variable jobs and training, including fishing in Alaska, teaching in Vanuatu, field research and institutional capacity-building in Indonesia and Australia. 

Some examples of Nancy’s career outputs

Coordination of all aspects of project management for authorship selection, information investments, design and content, production, distribution and communications in relation to Australia’s State of Environment 2011 report and associated products. and

Analyses, negotiations and advisory input to design, management and monitoring of many Australian Commonwealth Marine Reserves.


  • Bachelor of Science, Marine Biology, Western Washington University, 1994
  • PhD, Program Evaluation, University of Queensland, 2007
  • Graduate Diploma, Experimental Marine Sciences Honours, University of Sydney, 1997

Journal Articles


Maynard, J., K. Anthony, S. Afatta, N. Dahl and O. Hoegh-Guldberg. 2010. Making a model meaningful to coral reef managers in a developing nation: a case study of overfishing and rock anchoring in Indonesia. Conservation Biology 24(5):1316-1326.


Dahl, N. 2005. Investigating information requirements for evaluating effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas – Indonesian case studies. Coastal Management 33(3):225-246.

Dahl, N. 2005. Science, participation and politics in MPA management. MPANews 6(11):3-4.

Kelleher, G., H. Sullivan and N. Dahl. 2005. Towards a global framework – Australia’s progress in achieving an NRSMPA. Waves 11(2):8-9.


Dahl, N. 2002. Current progress in performance assessment of Commonwealth MPAs. Examining Underwater Visual Census Techniques for the Assessment of Population Structure and Biodiversity in Temperate Coastal Marine Protected Areas in Barrett, N. and C. Buxton (eds) .

Book Chapters


Dahl, N. and P. Taylor. 2000. Marine Conservation through Collaboration and Partnership. Biodiversity and Ecological Economics: Participation, Values and Resource Management . Earthscan Publications Ltd, London and Sterling, VA.

Conference Papers


Dahl, N. 2005. The paradox of clear objectives and adaptive management in a political context that demands both but allows for neither. Pp. 24-28 First International Marine Protected Areas Congress. Geelong, Australia.

Thesis (PhD)


Dahl, N. 2007. Evaluating Management Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas. Ph.D. Dissertation. School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland.