As with most of his work over the past 40 years, Burr’s focus remains on select opportunities at the intersection of science, policy, and natural resource stewardship at the regional, state, national, and international levels. His focus has shifted over that period among fisheries management reform, oil spill prevention and response, marine debris policy, and global seabird conservation. In a side-trip into physical oceanography in the early 2000s, he helped California design and organize a coast-wide network of stations to monitor coastal ocean currents. His field work — related to oil spills, seabirds, sharks, and marine debris—has taken him to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the Galapagos Islands, Prince William Sound and the Pribilof Islands in Alaska, the Farallon Islands (California), Shetland, the Gulf of Maine, Fiji, and the Lesser Antilles and Belize in the Caribbean.
Burr co-founded Commonweal and directed our Oceans Program (1997-2012). He formerly was consultant to the Saudi Arabian wildlife agency on the Gulf War oil spill and fires (1991); consultant to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission on various national and international issues (1985-1988); and executive director of Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) Conservation Science (1980-1984). He has been a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation since 1999.