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Speaker Biographies

We welcome the following presenters at the November 2018 meeting:
(Alphabetical by Last Name)

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Cheryl Bondi
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Mitigation Program Specialist

Cheryl Bondi is a mitigation specialist at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Wetlands Bureau. She assists in the administration of  The Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund- New Hampshire’s In-Lieu Fee program. She received a PhD in ecosystem ecology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Master’s in Aquatic Biology from Humboldt State University. Her primary focus at DES has been advancing the State’s stream crossing assessment program to prioritize stream restoration projects for mitigation.


Robert P. Brooks
Riparia of Pennsylvania State University
Professor Emeritus of Geography and Ecology; Founder and Director Emeritus of Riparia

Dr. Robert P. Brooks is Professor Emeritus of Geography and Ecology, and Founder and Director Emeritus of Riparia at the Pennsylvania State University. He is a practicing wetland scientist and wildlife biologist certified by the Society of Wetland Scientists and The Wildlife Society, respectively. His research and outreach emphasize science, conservation, and restoration of wetlands and streams. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists, 2017.


Elizabeth Byers
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Senior Wetland Scientist

Elizabeth Byers is attempting to distill 30 years of ecological work, including 11 as a Natural Heritage Ecologist and 4 as West Virginia’s Senior Wetland Scientist, into a rapid protocol that will better protect wetland habitats while not provoking any stakeholders into open revolt. As we near the rollout date, Byers insists she can hear the faint notes of “kumbaya.”


Denise Clearwater
Maryland Department of the Environment
Natural Resources Planner and Special Projects Coordinator for MDE Wetlands and Waterways Program

Denise Clearwater has worked in numerous aspects of wetland management, including training, regulation and program development, implementation of regulations, mitigation, planning, restoration, and monitoring and assessment. Over the past several years she has been working with an Interagency Review Team to develop an assessment and crediting approach for stream mitigation. This presentation will cover some of the issues which have arisen related to evaluating riparian areas as part of a stream assessment, and considerations for addressing the issues.


Brittany Haywood
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Wetland Outreach and Communications Specialist

Brittany is from Virginia and has a background in marine science. She has been with DNREC for 3 ½ years and is responsible for sharing project results with numerous targeted audiences through printed materials, the program website, through social media and videos. She leads the coordination of multiple trainings and workshops as well as the Delaware Wetlands Conference.


Don Faber-Langendoen
Senior Ecologist

Don Faber-Langendoen is Senior Ecologist for Northeastern North America, in the Conservation Science Division of NatureServe.  He works with the Network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers, and with conservation partners in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, to help deliver science information that can positively impact conservation decisions. Don’s key interests include the classification and conservation status of ecosystems, ecological integrity assessments, and monitoring methods. Through EPA support and other funding, he has helped develop and apply ecological integrity assessment methods to wetlands and coastal marine systems across the United States. Based in Syracuse, New York, Don enjoys the diversity of ecosystems found in northeastern landscapes.


Dave Goerman
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Water Program Specialist

David Goerman is a Water Program Specialist at the PA Department of Environmental Protection in the Division of Wetlands, Encroachments and Training, Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands. He’s responsible for providing permitting and technical expertise on a wide range of issues involving waterways, wetlands, floodplains and stormwater management. His most recent work has focused on aquatic resource compensation crediting, mitigation banking and development of aquatic resource condition assessments. David has worked in the Division since 1993 and has a B.S. Degree in the Biological Sciences from Clarion University, Clarion, PA.


Scott Jackson
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Extension Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Conservation

Scott’s research interests include aquatic connectivity, wetland assessment and monitoring, impacts of roads and highways on wildlife, landscape-based ecological assessment, and amphibian and reptile conservation. Scott has been involved in the development of standards for road-stream crossing structures; survey protocols for assessing crossing structures for passability, risk of failure, and disruption of emergency services; and approaches for prioritizing structures for replacement. He currently coordinates the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative. Scott helped develop the Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool and is interested in helping practitioners access climate science for on-the-ground ecosystem conservation. Scott is chair of the Whately Conservation Commission, serves on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) and is chair of the Kestrel Land Trust Board of Trustees.


Michael McDavit
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water
Chief of the Program Development and Jurisdiction Branch

Michael McDavit is currently the Chief of the Program Development and Jurisdiction Branch, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His unit oversees “Waters of the US” (WOTUS) jurisdictional matters and administers technical/financial assistance for enhancing state and tribal aquatic resource programs. His team is currently working on a number of rulemaking projects, including the WOTUS rulemakings, state and tribal 404 permitting assumption regulations, and guidance/regulation on the section 401 water quality certification process. Mike holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and a MPA from The George Washington University. His 36-year federal career has spanned various environmental programs, including regulation of pesticides, management of hazardous waste, and air and water pollution control.


Michael McHugh
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Section Chief, Wetland Conservancy Program

Michael McHugh joined MassDEP in 1990, specializing in photo interpretation and field verification of wetlands as part of the Wetland Conservancy Mapping Program.  Mike has conducted extensive coastal and freshwater field work throughout Massachusetts including plant identification, soils and coastal geology evaluations, and determining hydrologic regime. Responsibilities have also included: mapping wetlands resources using modular stereoscope, 3d digital image analysis, and GIS tools; wetlands change detection; eelgrass mapping and field verification; and identification of abandoned cranberry bogs. Mike is also a primary author of the study, “Wetland Replacement in Massachusetts” (pending release).


Paul Minkin
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District
Wetland Ecologist

Paul works for the Regulatory Division of the New England District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in Concord, Massachusetts. Paul is involved in performing and reviewing wetland delineations, developing functional assessment methods, analyzing functions and services of wetlands, wetland mitigation review and monitoring, and providing training on a variety of aquatic resource subjects. Paul is a Professional Wetland Scientist, a Certified Senior Ecologist, and has a doctorate in Botany from Miami University. He is a member of the National Advisory Team for Wetland Delineation, the Northcentral-Northeast Regional Supplement Workgroup, the Northcentral-Northeast Regional Plant List Panel, which he chairs, and the National Technical Committee for Wetland Vegetation, which he also currently chairs.


Patrick A. Raney
Ducks Unlimited
Manager of Conservation Services – Mitigation

Patrick received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Bethany College, a Masters Degree in Environmental Management from Samford University, and a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from SUNY-ESF. He worked for several years at Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve in Birmingham Alabama as a summer naturalist, and later as a forest ecologist. While working on his doctorate he studied wetland microclimates and biotic responses to climate change. He worked as a Wetland Scientist for the Upper Susquehanna Coalition for close to 6 and a half years before heading to Ducks Unlimited where he now works as the manager of the wetland mitigation program.


Lisa Rhodes
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Program Manager, Wetland Monitoring and Assessment

Lisa Rhodes has been an Environmental Analyst with MassDEP’s Wetlands Program for nearly 19 years. At MassDEP, Lisa has served as Program Manager for MassDEP’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program (since 2006). In this capacity, Lisa led the development of the Massachusetts Monitoring and Assessment strategy, conducted a major statewide Wetland Mitigation Study and oversees MassDEP’s Wetland Conservancy mapping efforts – including wetland and eelgrass mapping. Lisa has been a primary author of numerous MassDEP guidance documents including Massachusetts Inland Wetland Replication Guidelines, March 2002 and Massachusetts Wildlife Habitat Protection Guidance for Inland Wetlands, March 2006, Dam Removal and the Wetland Regulations (2007) and Wetland Replacement in Massachusetts (pending release). Lisa is also the primary reviewer of major projects considered for Variances of the Wetlands Protection Act.


Andy Robertson
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
Geospatial Services – Director

Andy Robertson is currently Executive Director of GeoSpatial Services at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In this role, Andy is responsible for oversight and management of all GeoSpatial Services projects, activities and staff. GeoSpatial Services is engaged in a wide variety of projects across the Lower 48 and Alaska including: wetland inventory; National Hydrography Dataset updates; spatial data development; and, natural resource condition assessments. GeoSpatial Services has been a key partner of the USFWS and has been working for over 15 years to update legacy National Wetland Inventory data across the nation. Andy is a steering committee member for the ASWM Wetland Mapping Consortium and is co-chair of the Alaska GeoSpatial Council Wetland Technical Working Group.


Alison Rogerson
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Environmental Scientist and part of the Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program

Alison has a background in wildlife ecology and wetland science. She is the lead scientist with the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program and has been with DNREC for 10 years. She serves as a co-chair of the Delaware Living Shoreline Committee.


Erica Sachs Lambert
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1
Wetland Ecologist

Erica Sachs Lambert works for the Wetlands Protection Unit at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1 and serves as the region’s science and technical lead for wetlands and other aquatic resource matters. Erica received a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Rice University in 1996 which she applied to a variety of jobs including teaching in Belize, sailing tall ships, repairing diesel engines and tax preparation. She eventually returned to school and earned a Masters Degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of Rhode Island in 2007, specializing in Wetlands Ecology and Geospatial Data. Since coming to the EPA in 2008, Erica has applied her technical expertise to a number of policy issues including the regional supplement for wetlands delineation, mitigation guidance for impacts to vernal pools, Clean Water Act jurisdiction and the development of a regional functional assessment methodology. Her favorite part of her job is conducting outreach and education.


Gregg Serenbetz
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Protection Specialist

Gregg Serenbetz is an Environmental Protection Specialist in U.S. EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds. He focuses on the development and implementation of wetland monitoring and assessment programs and serves as the project lead for the National Wetland Condition Assessment.


Laura Shappell
New York Natural Heritage Program
Wetland Ecologist

Laura Shappell, Ph.D. joined New York Natural Heritage Program in 2015 as their first wetland ecologist. Her research over the past decade has focused on biodiversity assessment, invasive plant dominance, and disturbance ecology, with systems ranging from pond cypress wetlands in South Carolina, to urban wetlands in New Jersey, and now wetlands across the state of New York. Laura has expanded and refined NYNHP’s wetland condition assessment methods and is currently developing a new functional assessment method for wetlands in New York State.


Lori Sommer
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Wetland Mitigation Coordinator

With close to 30 years of experience in natural resource conservation and management, Lori currently oversees the DES wetland mitigation program and crafted the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund. The program has received regional and national attention as a comprehensive watershed approach to protecting high quality aquatic habitats. Lori holds a Bachelors degree in wildlife management from Ohio State University and Masters of Sciences in Resource Economics from UNH. She has served as President of the NH Association and Natural Resource Scientists and as Vice Chair for Five Rivers Conservation Trust.


Marla Stelk
Association of State Wetland Managers
Executive Director

Marla Stelk is the new Executive Director of the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM). Previous to her new role, she worked at ASWM for five years as a Policy Analyst and then Assistant Director. Marla has a M.A. degree in Community Planning and Development with a focus on Land use and the Environment, and a B.A. degree in Environmental Issues.


Jeremy Waddell
Upper Susquehanna Coalition
Wetland Biologist

Jeremy Waddell is originally from the Oneida County region of New York State and received his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from SUNY Cobleskill in 2002. Prior to joining USC in 2006, Jeremy worked as an environmental scientist for engineering & consulting firms in Virginia and Maine. Since 2006 Jeremy has worked as a USC wetland biologist and has designed and implemented numerous wetland creation, restoration and enhancement projects across New York State.


Wendy Walsh
Upper Susquehanna Coalition
Watershed Coordinator

Wendy Walsh received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geology at Binghamton University and completed her Masters of Civil Engineering at University of Buffalo. Wendy was hired by the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District in 2000, became District Manager in 2005. She has been a voting member to the USC since 2000, and was chair from 2005-2013. In 2013, she also took on the additional responsibilities of becoming the USC Watershed Coordinator. Her current position includes both administrative and technical planning of environmental and conservation programs that involve both private and public properties and entities in all aspects of natural resource management.


Kathleen S. Walz
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

As the NJ Natural Heritage Program Ecologist, Kathleen Walz is recognized throughout the NJ Department of Environmental Protection as an expert in wetland ecology, monitoring, assessment, and ecological community classification. She serves as the Department leader for the New Jersey Wetland Program Plan. She has conducted research and monitoring on freshwater and tidal wetlands in the state with EPA and other grants from 1997-2018 and was the Principal Investigator on a recently completed EPA Wetland Program Development Grant Intensification Study to conduct a statewide wetland condition assessment utilizing Ecological Integrity Assessment sampling protocols at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Kathleen was also a team leader for NJDEP on the EPA 2011 and 2016 National Wetland Condition Assessments sites in NJ.


Melissa Yearick
Upper Susquehanna Coalition
Wetland Coordinator

Melissa Yearick received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Ecosystems from Binghamton University in 2002. She began working for the Upper Susquehanna Coalition prior to graduation as the inaugural member of the USC Wetlands Team and has supported the development of the program since its first EPA WPDG. Her experience is diverse, as is the USC Wetland Program, with background in wetland education and outreach, planning and design, and monitoring and maintenance of projects of all sizes.