Elaine Placido, DPA
Elaine joined the Estuary Partnership in the summer of 2020. She comes to the Partnership with twenty-plus years of local government and non-profit experience, Elaine is also a veteran of the US Coast Guard. Her family has a farm in Columbia County where they specialize in Boer goats. In her free time, she likes to travel and spend time outside. She is also a dedicated volunteer and leads a 4H livestock club, serves on her local school board and on her local planning commission. Elaine has a BA in Criminal Justice from Park University, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a Doctor of Public Administration degree from Valdosta State University.
Finance and Operations Manager
Tom manages the day-to-day finances of the Estuary Partnership. He coordinates contracting, grants management and reporting, and human resources. He has significantly streamlined Estuary Partnership accounting, improving accountability resulting in high marks during annual audits. Tom joined the Estuary Partnership in 2009. He previously managed the business side of an outpatient psychiatric practice at Oregon Health & Science University and coordinated operations within the Refugee Program at Lutheran Community Services Northwest. Before moving to Portland, he lived in Washington, D.C., where he worked on international refugee protection issues. He holds an M.A. and B.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Molly joined the Estuary Partnership in 2020. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, she served as the Operations/Project Manager for Cowlitz County Building and Planning where she managed the permitting center and staff for all land use, environmental and construction permitting, as well as design and implementation of a wide variety of community outreach programs. Prior to working for Cowlitz County, Molly worked as a paralegal in personal injury and family law. She also served on the Cowlitz County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors as well as their Family Support Committee.
Communications and Outreach Manager
Erinne joined the Estuary Partnership in 2014. She leads organizational communications, event planning, and relationship-building with individuals and corporate partners. Erinne focuses on expanding understanding and recognition of the Estuary Partnership, its programs, and diverse partners along the lower river to a range of partners. Erinne has 16 years of experience in nonprofit development and communications, and previously worked at Sisters Of The Road and NAYA Family Center. Erinne has a B.S in Liberal Studies with a focus on Peace and Social Justice from Oregon State University.
Accounting & Operations Assistant
Connor began working for the Estuary Partnership in 2018. He assists the Finance & Operations Manager with bookkeeping, accounting reporting, and annual audit. He comes to the Estuary Partnership, after 30 years as the Accounting Manager for LOI Environmental & Demolition Services and 24 years of teaching acting at the Portland Actors Conservatory. In his free time, he writes novels and plays and runs his own non-profit, a theatre company called Quintessence: Language & Imagination Theatre. He has a Masterâs of Fine Arts in Theatre-Directing from the University of Portland, Bachelors of Arts in English and Theatre, and an Associates Degree in Business from Carroll College.
Catherine joined the Estuary Partnership in 2008. She leads the Science Team and manages the habitat restoration, data management, and monitoring programs. She led the Estuary Partnership to develop a strategic prioritization that improves regional investment in restoration and established an effectiveness monitoring program to evaluate project success. She facilitates the Science Work Group and coordinates monitoring and restoration activities with numerous partners in the lower Columbia River. She served as the Senior Scientist for the Charlotte Harbor NEP where she developed resource-based water quality targets and managed an interagency monitoring network. Prior to that Catherine was a wildlife biologist in a national park in Moroccoâs Middle Atlas Mountains. She has published multiple manuscripts on seagrass in southwest Florida. In 2018, Catherine received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards for Natural Resources, presented by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Catherine holds an M.A. in International Development and Natural Resource Management from Clark University, Massachusetts and a B.S. in Zoology and a Physical Geography Minor from Miami University.
Restoration Program Lead
Joining the Estuary Partnership in 2009, Chris identifies, designs, and implements habitat restoration projects. Chris has taken the lead on extensive floodplain restoration projects at Horsetail Creek and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Both projects involve coordination with multiple partners. He is a fisheries biologist with 18 years of professional experience in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, including managing restoration projects in the Columbia River Gorge. He has extensive experience managing all phases of natural resource projects ranging from stream restoration to stormwater management. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, Chris was a Project Manager for Parametrix. Chris holds an M.S. in Water Resources from Duke University and a B.S. in Biology from the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina.
Jenny joined the Estuary Partnership in 2016. She works with partners and private landowners across the region to identify, develop and implement habitat restoration projects to assist in the recovery of Pacific Salmon. Her work takes her from floodplains in the Columbia Gorge floodplains to tidal wetlands along Columbia River tributaries and to upper watershed creeks and habitats. She is leading implementation of several projects that will restore historic floodplains and wetlands, revegetate native riparian forests, and place large wood habitat structures. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, Jenny was Project Manager at the Clackamas River Basin Council. She also worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and was an AmeriCorps member at The Nature Conservancy.She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science and Geography from the University of South Florida.
Principal Restoration Ecologist
Curtis joined the Estuary Partnership in 2019. He works with the Science Team on implementing wetland, floodplain, and stream restoration projects; his primary focus is on the Steigerwald Floodplain Restoration Project. He has extensive experience working on all aspects of ecological restoration, from design through permitting and including construction management. With a background in forestry, he has managed invasive plant species eradication, habitat restoration and replanting, and site maintenance projects. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, he worked as a Senior Project Manager at Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc. in Flemington, New Jersey and for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Ecosystem Management team. Curtis holds a M.S. from Rutgers University in Forestry/Ecological Restoration and a B.S from Cook College in Forestry.
Sarah Kidd, PhD
Principal Wetland Scientist
Sarah joined the Estuary Partnership in 2017. Sarah manages and implements wetland and food web habitat research through the Ecosystem Monitoring Program and the Action Effectiveness Monitoring Programs. She also assists with the Estuary Partnership's ongoing research efforts examining the role of wetland conservation and restoration in estuarine food web dynamics and salmon recovery. Sarah has conducted wetland ecological and restoration effectiveness research in the Columbia River Estuary since 2008 and has earned both a M.S. and Ph.D. from Portland State University. Sarah's masters and dissertation research focused on restoration and management of tidal wetland native plant communities, wetland soil conditions, and invasive species in the Estuary. As a National Science Foundation GK12 and IGERT fellow she has also worked on several national and international projects focused on ecosystem service valuation and management in urbanizing estuaries. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Oregon State University.
Principal Restoration Ecologist
Paul joined the Estuary Partnership in 2010. He provides advanced technical support to the habitat restoration and monitoring programs. Paul provides modeling expertise to a range of projects and partners. He is leading restoration projects on the East Fork Lewis River in Washington. Paul was a senior scientist with HDR Engineering where he helped lead restoration efforts in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to that, he was the director of the Dayton Valley Conservation District. Paul also worked with Rivers Unlimited, Inc. to restore watersheds in Pennsylvania and New York. At the University of Oregon and at the University of Colorado, Paul worked with first-generation low-income students to improve academics. Paul received an M.S. in Watershed Science from Colorado State University, an M.Ed. from the University of Colorado, and a B.A. in History from Colorado College.
Doug joined the Estuary Partnership in 2019. He works with the Science Team on implementing wetland, floodplain, and stream habitat restoration projects. He works primarily on the Steigerwald Floodplain Restoration Project. He brings a range of skills and experience to the team in native revegetation, invasive species management, ecological monitoring, prescribed fire and volunteer engagement. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, Doug was a Restoration Project Manager at The Nature Conservancy where he designed, managed and implemented riparian and tidal wetland habitat enhancement projects in northwest Oregon. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
GIS & Data Management Specialist
Keith joined the Estuary Partnership in 2008. Currently, he manages and constructs GIS databases that support Estuary Partnership monitoring, restoration, and education programs. Keithâs projects address data gaps including the acquisition of recent land cover and bathymetric data, and an analysis of habitat changes that have occurred in the lower Columbia River throughout the past century. He also maintains an inventory of over 250 regional restoration projects. Previously he worked as a microwave electronics engineer. Keith earned an M.S. in Marine Environmental Sciences at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He holds a graduate certificate in GIS from Portland State University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont.
Sneha joined the Estuary Partnership in the summer of 2019 as a short-term field technician and then became our Research Scientist. She previously worked as an Environmental Consultant in Dubai, with a major focus on environmental permitting and marine projects. Sneha is interested in studying the ecosystem functions of the Columbia River Estuary. Her other endeavors include studying the effect of topography on blue carbon stores in seagrass beds of Zanzibar and building artificial reefs to aid the improvement of reef fish in UAE. Sneha holds an M.S. in marine science from Bangor University, UK.
Becky joined the Estuary Partnership for seasonal field work at the Steigerwald Reconnection Project. Her role involves various field data collection including photo monitoring, turbidity samples, and fish salvage activities. Becky's past experience includes fisheries and habitat assessments with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, fisheries observer in Alaska, volunteer restoration work with Johnson Creek Watershed Council, and most recently the Surface Water Management Team intern at the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. She recently graduated from Portland State University with a Master of Environmental Management and focused her research on the history of floodplain management.
Ricardo joined the Estuary Partnership in 2020. He is working with the Partnershipâs GIS information to update datasets in support of the partnershipâs mapping projects. He is also helping navigate and streamline drone photography processing which is a vital component of restoration and monitoring projects. He previously worked as a paralegal in immigration law. Ricardo has a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Lewis and Clark and he is currently pursuing a GIS Certificate from Portland Community College.
Sarah Russo hails from Oak Harbor, Washington. She served in the US Navy from 2012 to 2016 as an Information Systems Technician 2nd class. Sarah joined the Estuary Partnership in February 2021 as a member of the VetsWork Program. She has experience with base and wildlife reserve cleanups, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and limited experience conducting whale necropsies. Sarah holds a bachelor's degree in environmental management from the University of Maryland Global Campus.
Chris Sutherland joined the Estuary Partnership in 2021 as a VetsWork Intern. Chris previously served with Tillamook Estuaries Partnership in 2020, when he also performed crossover work with the Estuary Partnership. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Chris joined the US Coast Guard in 1997 and served until 2001 as a Machinery Technician and fireman. Chris has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the past 16 years, and earned his B.S. in Science, with a focus on environmental studies and climate issues, from Portland State University. Chris has spent time working as a technician in Portlandâs many parks. This is his third term with the VetsWork Program.
Community Programs Team
Community Programs Director
Chris joined the Estuary Partnership in 1998 and now serves as Community Programs Director. Chris manages our community programs, including classroom and field programs with students, community volunteer plantings, and the Lower Columbia River Water Trail stewardship and advocacy. He also manages and implements stormwater and land use projects, including work with schools and communities who are retrofitting large expanses of impervious surface area. He plays a major role building and maintaining partnerships to ensure we are including and working with multiple sectors throughout our study area. Chris was instrumental in establishing the Lower Columbia River Water Trail and the Estuary Partnership Schoolyard Stormwater projects. He also represented the organization on the West Hayden Island Advisory Committee and serves on the Oregon Watershed Enhancement North Coast Review Team. He is active in grants development and project management in both the technical and education programs. Chris holds an M.S. in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in English from the University of Oregon.
Andy Bauer joined the Estuary Partnership in 2013. He engages students in a wide range of classroom and field programs and volunteer tree plantings. Andy has introduced videography to our education programs, capturing our students in action so we can share their stories better. He has added drone piloting and 360 degree videography to his tool kit and is always exploring ways to increase interactive opportunities for students and teachers. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, Andy was a high school science teacher in Brooklyn, New York for over two years. For many years, Andy has served as a volunteer at OMSI and the Oregon Zoo and worked at Outside In, providing homeless youth with career and college guidance. Andy has a M.A. in Teaching from S.U.N.Y. Empire State College and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Oregon.
Environmental Educator and Access and Inclusion Coordinator
Cora has been in love with environmental education since her 7th grade Outdoor School experience. She has a passion for helping students understand their place in their local environments and their everyday connections to the natural world. In addition to teaching, Cora loves building relationships with her students and encouraging their curiosity. She has a background in geography at the University of Oregon and has found a passion for equity and inclusion in the outdoor recreation industry while working for the University of Oregon Outdoor Program in her junior and senior years. She is especially passionate about disability accessibility in the outdoors. Cora joined the Estuary Partnership in 2021. When she's not working, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest with her standard poodle, Goose.
Samantha joined the Estuary Partnership in 2010 as an environmental educator and now coordinates volunteer programs. She works with project partners and land managers to plan and lead fun and educational events for volunteers. Samantha organizes multiple volunteers weekend plantings, including an annual National Service Day and works with students throughout the region engaging them in a wide range of classroom and field programs. She taught outdoor education to at-risk students at an alternative high school in Tigard, Oregon and she served in AmeriCorps. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide. Samantha earned an M.A. in teaching from Concordia University and is a licensed teacher in Oregon. She holds a B.S. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Stormwater Program Manager
Kiel Harms joined the Estuary Partnership in 2021 and leads stormwater projects throughout the study area. Kiel has over 12 years of engineering experience and has developed expertise in both stormwater water quality treatment and stormwater management best practices. He has experience both as a municipal engineer as well as a private consultant. Most recently, Kiel worked as a consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area and was involved in various watershed assessment and modeling projects, as well as FEMA map revisions and third-party stormwater plan certifications. He particularly enjoys the challenge of building consensus among stakeholders regarding stormwater best practices and is looking forward to assisting the Estuary Partnership in identifying, developing, and implementing stormwater projects that will ensure success with the program's overall stormwater management goals. He is a Certified Floodplain Manager as well as a Professional Engineer licensed in both Oregon and Washington. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Marci joined the Estuary Partnership in 2021. She works with the partners on planning and managing riparian restoration projects to provide hands on opportunities for diverse groups of students and community members to engage in land stewardship. Marci brings a range of skills and experience to the team in restoration project management, native revegetation, ecological monitoring, fostering partnerships, and volunteer engagement. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, she was a Restoration Program Manager for Willamette Riverkeeper where she designed and implemented landscape-scale restoration projects on public and conserved lands adjacent to the Willamette River to assist in the recovery of native fish species. She also worked for Project YESS at Mt Hood Community College leading youth conservation crews. She holds a M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy with a focus on Sustainability Education from Portland State University and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from the Colorado College.
Tonya McLean joined the Estuary Partnership in 2012. She delivers classroom education, on-river programs, applied learning field programs, service learning projects, and weekend volunteer tree plantings. As a freshwater biologist, Tonya helped expand our curricula in this area and shows students another career related to environmental education. She manages the database that helps us track volunteers, students, and teachers who participate in our programs, and allows us to stay in communication with them. Tonya brings to the team extensive experience in the environmental field including biological research, public outreach, and communication for programs that seek to balance human needs with environmental health. Tonya earned an M.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland and has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Portland State University.
Senior Environmental Educator
McKenzie joined the Estuary Partnership in 2006. She delivers classroom education, on-river programs, applied learning field programs, service learning projects, and weekend volunteer tree plantings. McKenzie leads the Estuary Partnershipâs Summer Canoe Program and expanded community paddles significantly over the last nine years. She also manages our student on-river program; often the on-river trip we provide is the first for many of our students. Prior to joining the Estuary Partnership, McKenzie worked for West-Linn/Wilsonville School Districtâs Center for Research in Environmental Sciences and Technology as a Watershed and Garden Education Coordinator. She has also worked as an educator for the Oregon Zoo, the Glacier Park Institute, and the New Canaan Nature Center. McKenzie holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Alex Rhodes joined the Estuary Partnership in 2021. He delivers classroom education, on-river programs, service-learning projects, and volunteer plantings. As an environmental sociologist, he believes in Environmental Justice, bringing a culturally responsive lens to curriculum and place-based learning. In the past, he's facilitated programs for BIPOC and low-income youth to become inspired by nature and realize their potential to close the opportunity gap in the environmental sector. Furthermore, he has experience in the Reuse and Waste Management Sector and a passion for equitable housing. Alex has liberal arts education from Eckerd College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Coastal Management.
James Sterrett joined the Estuary Partnership in 2012. He delivers classroom education, on-river programs, applied learning field programs, service learning projects, and weekend volunteer tree plantings. James led the 2013 summer camp with the National Park Service at Ft. Clatsop. Each year, a few dozen students get this unique outdoor experience, honing their nature survival skills. He has been teaching experiential, place-based programs for the past 20 years. James previously worked at Earlham College for the Wilderness Program. He earned an M.A. in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College and is a licensed elementary teacher in Oregon. He holds a B.A. from Earlham College in Geology.
Paige Suniga joined the Estuary Partnership in 2018. She delivers classroom education, on-river programs, applied learning field programs, service learning projects, and weekend volunteer tree plantings. Paige recently moved to Portland from Honolulu, HI where she received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She spent the past two years working at a local elementary school in Honolulu, where she taught P.E. for pre-kindergarten to 5th grades and delivered after-school tutoring programs. Paige has been working with children for the past ten years, from coaching P.E., gymnastics, and cheerleading, to working summer camps, to volunteering with the Special Olympics Hawaii team athletes.
Environmental Educator (limited duration)
Audra Brown is a classroom teacher from Spring Mountain Elementary in the Clackamas School District. She and her 4th grade students have participated in Estuary Partnership education programs for many years and has a great enthusiasm and passion for outdoor science education. This year due to the ongoing pandemic, Audra decided to step away from the classroom and joined the Estuary Partnership part-time in creating educational materials to support distance learning for Clackamas County students. She has been developing online lessons in local ecology for 4th graders and will continue to help us this schoolyear as our team works to find ways to support science learning.
Environmental Educator (limited duration)
Alvey Seeyouma was formerly a Crew Leader and Program Coordinator at Wisdom of the Elders's Wisdom Workforce. He is Hopi-Tewa (Tobacco Clan/Sand Clan), a veteran, a painter, a drawer, and a maker of jewelry. We have much to learn from Alvey and are lucky he has agreed to work with us. Alvey has extensive experience leading plantings, in addition to his other talents, and leads Estuary Partnership volunteer plantings and performs fieldwork at various sites.
Lower Columbia Water Trail Stewardship Ambassador
Michael Bowersox joined the Estuary Partnership in 2018 as the first Lower Columbia Water Trail Stewardship Ambassador. He will be leading volunteer paddles to various islands along the lower riverâopportunities that combine stewardship and recreationâand building partnerships to bring more equity to water sports. He will also help establish low impact campsites and improved access to the river to facilitate more paddlers safely engaging with the Water Trail. Prior to joining the Partnership, he spent the last decade in the paddle sports profession, including guiding in the San Juan Islands, teaching classes for most paddle crafts, and leading the outreach and education for Next Adventure in Portland, Oregon. Michael is currently pursuing his Masterâs in Education at Portland state University to become a Special Educator and Social Studies Teacher, and his is an American Canoe Association Instructor Trainer and a British Canoeing United Kingdom Certified Coach Level 2.
Susan Holveck, PhD
LCEP Board Chair, Portland Public Schools
Susan is the Program Administrator of K-12 Science Education with the Office of Teaching and Learning at the Portland Public School District. Susan received the 2018 Duane Marshall Special Service to Science Education Award and the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership Steward of the Year in 2009. She works with a team from the Oregon Department of Education, 12 other lead states, and the Council of State Science Supervisors on a project called Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE). This projects uses educational research and practice to improve equity in science education. Susan served for three years as the Oregon Science Teachers Association President and is currently their secretary. She actively supports science teachers in the Portland Public School District and loves getting students outside to learn. Susan has a B.S. in Genetics from Ohio State, an M.S. in Genetics and Cellular Biology from Washington State University, and a doctorate in Education from the University of Oregon.
LCEP Board Vice Chair, Burgerville
Hillary is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Burgerville, LLC. Headquartered in Vancouver, WA, Burgerville is a 41-unit restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest with a commitment to regional stewardship. She leads the companyâs Regional Restoration initiative, emerging opportunities for the long-term health of the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining Burgerville, Hillary was the Policy Director for Renewable Northwest, a regional renewable energy advocacy non-profit. From 1999-2014, she served on the staff of US Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Hillary holds a B.A. from Reed College in English. She loves cooking, gardening, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her daughter, Piper.
LCEP Board Secretary/Treasurer, City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Jane is the Watershed Services Group Manager for the City of Portlandâs Bureau of Environmental Services. She is responsible for overseeing planning, restoration, and monitoring activities in Portlandâs watersheds to manage stormwater, protect water quality, and enhance habitats for fish and wildlife. Jane has 20 years of experience in natural resources management, including four years as a Policy Advisor on Willamette River and watershed issues for Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. She has also held positions with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon Department of State Lands, Portland State University, and the National Park Service. She holds a Masterâs of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Vermont.
Washington Department of Ecology
Rich Doenges (pronounced Den-jis) works as Ecologyâs Southwest Region Director, coordinating the activities and services for the agency in the twelve county region. Rich has worked in Ecology since 2014 and was previously managing water quality activities in the southwest region. He also represents Ecology at the Forest Practices Board and the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council. Rich has a diverse work experience. Prior to working for Ecology he was the manager for Washington Dept. of Natural Resourcesâ Aquatic Resources Division. Rich has worked in county government in the fields of water resources and farmland preservation, directing farmland preservation programs in Washingtonâs Skagit County and in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. He remains proud of his seven years working in East Africa in Kenya and Ethiopia on rural development and natural resource projects. Rich holds a B.S. in Natural Resources and a M.F.S. in Forest Ecology. Originally from Connecticut, he lives in Olympia exploring the outdoors on foot, bicycle and kayak, rooting for New England sports teams, and watching with pride as his two sons encounter adulthood.
Matthew A. Jones, Ph.D.
Matthew has been engaged in public and non-profit sector management consulting for over 15 years. He has extensive experience in organizational assessments, leadership development programming/training, executive coaching, emotional intelligence, strategic planning, and meeting facilitation.
He holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy, with an emphasis in organizational development and applied research methods. He formerly held academic appointments as an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the State University of New York- Brockport and Assistant Professor of Practice at Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs. His community service includes serving as a Commissioner for the Clark County, WA Clean Water Commission, where he chairs the outreach subgroup.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Kessina Lee joined WDFW in 2018. As the Directorâs representative and policy lead in Southwest Washington, Kessina works in close coordination with each program, as well as federal, Tribal, and local partners on implementing the WDFW mission of protecting native fish and wildlife, and providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities for Washingtonians. Prior to coming to WDFW, Kessina worked as an aquaculture specialist for the Washington Department of Ecology. Before arriving at Ecology, Kessina was a Sea Grant policy fellow engaged in ocean and coastal issues with the Oregon Legislatureâs Coastal Caucus and for the office of Oregon Governor Kate Brown. She also spent nearly a decade studying marine mammal strandings in the Pacific Northwest, as well as interactions between fish and sea lions on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Kessina holds a masterâs degree in biology from Portland State University and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1989, when she migrated from the deserts of Arizona to the temperate rainforest, and raised her three sons on a small hobby farm in the foothills of the Columbia River.
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Meta currently serves as Director of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. She has worked throughout her career in fields that support her passion for local economies, communities, and resource conservation. Prior to her appointment as Director, Meta served as Deputy Director and a board member representing USDAâs Natural Resources Conservation Service. She previously worked for NRCS on partnership and policy issues in both Oregon and Montana. Meta ran the Montana Department of Agricultureâs Marketing and Business Development Bureau, finding markets for Montanaâs value-added agricultural products. She also promoted rural economic and natural resource policies as Deputy Communications Director for Montanaâs Governor and communications coordinator for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Meta has an M.P.A. from Portland State University and a B.S. in Agriculture Extension from Montana State University.
Magruder Farms, Local Watershed Councils, Columbia County Board of Commissioners
Margaret is the managing partner of Magruder Farms, producing sheep in Clatskanie, Oregon and the managing partner of Oregon Shepherd, LLC, a manufacturer of all-natural wool building insulation in Rainier, Oregon. She serves on several national, regional, and local agriculture, environmental, and policy groups. Margaretâs career in production agriculture provides her a foundation in conservation and environmental issues and fosters a deep appreciation for the Lower Columbia River region. Margaret also serves as a Columbia County Commissioner. She is a graduate of Willamette University and obtained a Masterâs degree from Syracuse University.
Watershed Health & Green Infrastructure
Dean served as Director of Environmental Services for the City of Portland from 1994 to 2015, leading the effort to clean up the Willamette River in Portland. The City completed construction in 2011 of a $1.4 billion water quality improvement program that benefits Portland residents as well as everyone downstream, including the lower Columbia River. Discharges from the City's collection system caused by rain events have been cut by 94%. Dean led the City in becoming a leader in implementing the use of green streets, green roofs, and other sustainable stormwater management methods to improve water quality. Prior to moving to Portland, Dean was the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for the State of Maine for seven years. Dean received his J.D. from Florida State University and a B.S. in Political Science from University of Delaware.
Port of Kalama
Tabitha has worked with lower Columbia River public and private ports for 18 years. She has been the Environmental Manager at the Port of Kalama for the past 8 years. Tabitha has extensive experience in managing environmental resources on the lower river. At the Port she aims to increase economic development and create jobs in an environmentally responsible manner and enhance recreational opportunities for all members of the public.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a Master of Environmental Science and Regional Planning. Her previous employment was as a Senior Scientist at an engineering, planning, and natural resources firm in Clark County, WA, and prior to that she worked as a water resources science technician at the Clark County Clean Water Program. She served as a Board Member at Columbia Springs, an environmental education center in Vancouver, WA for 8 years. She served on the City of Vancouver Sustainability Task Force, as well as numerous technical advisory committees for local updates to critical areas ordinances, shoreline management programs, and comprehensive plan updates. In 2005 she received the Vancouver Business Journalâs âAccomplished & Under 40â award. She is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Clark County. Tabitha has a passion for the outdoors and protecting the environment.
Washington Department of Ecology
Rian Sallee leads the Vancouver Field Office for the Washington State Department of Ecology. Rian is responsible for managing the field office, with a focus on environmental justice and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the agency. Rian represents the Department of Ecology as a member of Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities. She also serves as Board representative for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Team. Rian holds a Master of Environmental Science degree from Miami University.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Richard was appointed the Director of Oregonâs Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in February 2017, after serving as DEQâs Acting Director since October of 2016. Prior to this role, Richard worked in the Governorâs Natural Resources Office as policy director from 2011 to 2016. There he coordinated the work of the stateâs environmental protection and natural resources agencies. From 2008 to 2011, Richard served as the Director of Oregonâs Department of Land Conservation and Development, and before that was head of the Natural Resources Section under State Attorney General Hardy Meyers. .
Ex Officio Board Members
James "Dar" Crammond
US Geological Survey
Dar is the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey Oregon Water Science Center in Portland, Oregon. As a Supervisory Hydrologist, he coordinates and facilitates the work of hydrologists and hydrologic technicians who generate quality water data and unbiased public science with tribal, federal and state partners in Oregon. Dar has been involved with water resources and water rights in the Department of the Interior for two decades, working for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USGS. Dar holds a B.S. in Hydrology and a J.D from the University of Arizona and is admitted to practice in Oregon and Arizona. He is an avid skier and cyclist and has an abiding love of Oregonâs landscape.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Irma is a Senior Policy Advisor with the West Coast Region of NOAA Fisheries. In this position, she provides strategic advice and support to salmon recovery through partnerships and innovative incentive approaches. Irma has over 28 years in the field of natural resource management and policy with a particular emphasis on the Endangered Species Act. She has worked with diverse coalitions including, federal and state agencies, Indian tribes, industry and conservation groups as well as private land owners to achieve mutual goals, and spent more than 13 years overseeing conservation programs in the Klamath Basin for NOAA Fisheries. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. in Marine Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Johnna is Chief of the Aquatic Habitat Restoration Program in the Fish & Wildlife Serviceâs Pacific Regionâs Fish & Aquatic Conservation Program. She oversees fish habitat and passage restoration, aquatic invasive species management, and fisheries outreach and education programs for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and the Pacific Islands. Prior to her appointment to this position in January 2017, Johnna served in the Fish & Wildlife Service Ecological Services Program for 22 years. Positions included Deputy Assistant Regional Director in the Southwest Region headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Senior Wildlife Biologist in the Headquarters Office in Washington, DC. Johnna also worked in Fish & Wildlife Service field offices in Boise and Orofino, Idaho for approximately 15 years, focusing on a variety of listed wildlife and fish species. Johnna holds an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University and a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Vermont.
Mary Lou Soscia
US Environmental Protection Agency
Mary Lou has worked for state, federal, and tribal government for over 35 years, specializing in watershed and river protection and restoration efforts. Mary Lou was on the team that created EPAâs National Estuary Program and worked to get Congressional authorization for the program in the 1987 Clean Water Act amendments. Mary Lou worked with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission on loan from EPA and helped to create the Tribal watershed program, which is the basis for salmon restoration work efforts in the Columbia River Basin. Since 1997, Mary Lou has served as the Columbia River Coordinator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10. She leads the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Strategy, the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Working Group, and the implementation of the 2010 Columbia River Basin Toxics Reduction Action Plan. Mary Lou led the collaboration for the Oregon Water Quality Standards human health criteria, which led to the most protective state human health Clean Water Act criteria in the US and is currently leading the collaboration and Tribal fish consumption surveys with Idaho Tribal Governments to address Idaho human health criteria revisions to more adequately protect high fish consumers in Idaho. Mary Lou also provides senior EPA representation on Columbia River Treaty work efforts. Mary Lou has a B.A. in Geography from Virginia Tech and an M.A. degree in Geography from University of Maryland.
US Environmental Protection Agency
Yvonne is an Aquatic Ecologist with the U.S. EPA. For the last 20 years, she has worked in EPAâs Oregon Operations Office in Portland as the Oregon Wetland and Watershed Coordinator and the Lower Columbia River Estuary Program Manager for EPA Region 10. She previously worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Her work with EPA is focused on the technical and policy aspects of the Clean Water Act (CWA), including Section 404. Her practicable experience includes work in wetland delineation and assessment, 404(f) exemptions, enforcement, mitigation, CWA jurisdiction, 404 program assumption, and wetland restoration, as well development of wetland research projects and the management of wetland development grants for states, tribes, and local governments. Yvonne is a licensed wetlands biologist. She earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Louisiana Tech University and an M.S. in Marine Ecology from Texas A&M.
Honorary Board Member
Bill Hutchison, Esq.
Corporate & Environmental Law
Bill has long been involved in environmental and natural resource issues. He participated in development of Portlandâs downtown plan and was a leader of environmental organizations. He chaired the Environmental Quality Commission and served as a co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Hazardous Waste Advisory Council. During his EQC tenure, he advocated for the nomination of the Columbia as a national estuary and he was involved with the Lower Columbia River Bi-State Water Quality Program. Bill led the Commission in the formulation of Tualatin River TMDLs and in issuing the stipulated order that triggered Portlandâs sewer system and big pipe projects. He co-chaired Portlandâs Willamette River Stakeholders Task Force. He has served on the Board of Forestry. Bill was active in the formation of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar, and his practice emphasizes cooperative, corporate, real property, and environmental law. He currently chairs Oregon Community Foundationâs Oregon Parks Foundation Advisory Committee. He received his J.D. from Willamette University and his B.S. from the University of Oregon.
Debrah served as Executive Director of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership from its inception in 1995 until July 2020. She led development and implementation of the first comprehensive plan for the lower 146 river miles of the Columbia River, employing a comparative risk process and extensive public collaboration to define the actions. She grew the organization to a highly skilled staff of 22 who restore habitat, provide restoration expertise, collect and analyze data, monitor ecosystem conditions, provide applied learning to students, engage volunteers in riparian plantings, and involve the community members in sustaining the work. Debrah worked with members of Congress and regional partners to develop and secure federal legislation that is now funding actions to reduce toxic contamination in the Columbia Basin. In 2017, she initiated a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion process to address the continued exclusion of people of color and women in environmental practices and positions of power and the environmental injustices inflicted on communities of color and low-income communities. Prior to moving to Oregon, she was Deputy Commissioner and then Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. She was Planning and Community Development Director for the City of Lewiston (Maine) and Development Director for Greater Portland (Maine) Landmarks. Debrah holds a M.A. in Geography from the University of Oregon, a B.A. in Geography from the University of Maine, and certificates from the Confluence Center for Mediation and Training, (Portland, Oregon) and the M.I.T. - Harvard Program in Dispute Resolution and is member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.