The official website of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Council Staff - Buck Sutter

Buck Sutter
Buck Sutter Deputy Executive Director/Program Director

Frederick (Buck) Sutter currently serves as the Acting Deputy Executive Director/Program Director for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council). Created by the RESTORE Act of 2012 and comprised of the Governors of the five Gulf Coast States and Cabinet-level officials from six federal agencies, the RESTORE Council is responsible for restoring and protecting the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast.

Prior to this position, Sutter served as the Director of the Office of Habitat Conservation for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA/NMFS) with nationwide responsibility for protecting and restoring habitat toward sustaining fisheries and recovering listed species within the context of a healthy and resilient ecosystem. A strong advocate for strategic and collaborative performance and leadership, Sutter developed a cross-agency leadership team for NOAA’s Habitat Enterprise to enhance the cohesion of NOAA’s missions which support habitat science, policy, and landscape-scale conservation toward ecosystem-based habitat conservation. Sutter was strongly involved with developing restoration strategies in association with Deep Water Horizon during his NOAA tenure from both Natural Resource Damage Assessment and RESTORE perspectives, including leading the development of “A Strategy for a Healthy Gulf of Mexico: Resilience through Ecosystem Restoration” to help guide NOAA's priority setting and funded restoration project decision making for any coordinating RESTORE Act funds with other DWH funding streams. Sutter represented NOAA on the interagency Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration President’s Task Force (GCERTF), serving as the Deputy Executive Director with the responsibility for the technical and science components of the Task Force. He closely coordinated with GCERTF members which consisted of Assistant Secretary-level and senior policy leadership of 11 federal and the 5 Gulf state member agencies. He was also responsible for managing the inter-governmental staff from EPA, DOI (USFWS, USGS, NPS), DOJ, USDA, DOT, DOD (ACOE), and NOAA, in coordination with White House offices of OSTP, CEQ, and DPC.

Sutter began his professional career as a fishery scientist at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi and later with the Florida Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has published numerous papers and journal articles on fishery science in the Gulf of Mexico. Sutter joined NOAA in 1993, working in State-Federal partnerships, highly migratory species management, and from 2003 through 2010 served as the Deputy Regional Administrator for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, where he was responsible for supervising the operation of a staff of over 140, including the Sustainable Fisheries Division, Habitat Conservation Division, Protected Resources Division, Office of Management and Information Division, and the front office. During Sutter’s tenure as the Deputy Regional Administrator, he was selected to lead a Gulf of Mexico-wide effort with all NOAA Line Offices to support integrated, regionally-tailored implementation of NOAA-wide programmatic priorities and to provide a more systematic approach to both internal and external communications. Under his leadership, this collaborative NOAA team focused on integration of NOAA Gulf of Mexico assets with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Climate and Coastal Community Resiliency, and Conservation of Gulf of Mexico living marine resources through Integrated Ecosystem Assessment.

Sutter graduated from the University of Rhode Island with an undergraduate degree in Zoology. He received a Master of Science degree in Fisheries Science at the University of Massachusetts. Sutter has four children and one granddaughter. He and his wife enjoy camping and outdoor activities. Sutter is an avid runner and trail bike rider.