Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Natural Resource Damage Program has decided to reschedule the NRD Conference at Fairmont from May 18th – 20th, 2021 to May 17th – May 19th, 2022. Registration details will be sent out summer 2021. We will continue to update this page with new information.
2021 Virtual Meetings – NRDP Program Highlights and Upper Clark Fork Working Group
In place of a 2021 conference, NRDP would like to provide a virtual update on some recent NRDP project highlights and plans for 2021 and beyond. Further details about NRDP program highlights will be provided in the coming months. For more information on the Upper Clark Fork Working Group, a coalition of experts integrating information, ideas, and actions in the Upper Clark Fork, and to attend its monthly seminar meetings see its web-page at https://ucfwg.org/.
Please email [email protected] or call 406-444-0205 with any questions.
Thank you for your understanding.
Speakers subject to change based on availability on rescheduled dates.
Jamie Holmes is a principal scientist and vice president at Abt Associates, where he leads a practice that works primarily on natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs). He has worked on NRDAs, contaminant fate and transport analyses, surface and groundwater assessments, ecological effects assessments, and natural resource restoration planning since 1991. He has worked on many mine sites (including the Clark Fork River and Coeur d’Alene), as well as organochlorine and pesticide manufacturing sites, nuclear sites, refinery sites, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) sites, and oil spills. His graduate research focused on hydrograph separation in stormflow, geochemical mixing models, and sources of acid mine drainage. He has extensive experience in many facets of environmental impacts analysis, including flow measurement; water, soil, and sediment sampling; data analysis; geographic information systems (GIS) spatial analysis; assessing the effects of contaminants on aquatic and terrestrial biota; and developing and evaluating restoration projects. He has presented techniques for quantifying natural resource injuries and damages at several conferences, and he has served as testifying expert on NRDA in Federal and State court. Mr. Holmes holds an MS in earth sciences from Dartmouth College and a BA in environmental biology from Middlebury College.
Kajsa Van de Riet is a fisheries biologist representing the State of Idaho on the Technical Staff for the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Partnership. She has a Master of Science degree in Fishery Resources from the University of Idaho and more than 20 years of experience in water quality, aquatic ecology, fisheries, and watershed restoration. Currently with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in Coeur d’Alene, Kajsa enjoys working with stakeholder groups to plan and implement restoration projects. Her previous experience included managing stream restoration projects for a nonprofit organization, outreach for a national fish health research initiative, and serving as conservation coordinator for the Federation of Fly Fishers.
Phillip Cernera has been working on environmental issues for nearly four decades. First as a Fish Biologist serving as an observer onboard Russian and Japanese fishing vessels in the Bering Sea. He then pursued his career on inland water bodies in Idaho, Montana, and Oregon working in Indian Country, as a Fisheries Biologist. His primary focus being Salmon fish habitat restoration. For the last 28 years Phillip has worked for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and is currently the Director of the Tribe’s Lake Management Department. As such he has worked on a myriad of issues, including but not limited to: Superfund cleanups, Natural Resource Damage Assessments, FERC relicensing processes, Columbia River Treaty negotiations, water rights adjudication, and lake management plan development and implementation. Phillip says he surrounds himself with a staff of highly qualified natural resource specialists which enables him to engage in the, more mundane, policy level work that scientists tend to avoid.
Larry Peterman was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. This is probably where he developed his life-long passion for perch fishing. Larry received a B.S. degree in Biology from Wisconsin State College at Stevens Point in 1969 and a M.S. degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University at Bozeman in 1972. He began his career at the Montana Fish & Game Dept. in 1972 working on the upper Yellowstone River at Livingston and the lower Yellowstone at Miles City developing the scientific basis for the Yellowstone Instream Flow Reservations. He was assigned to the Headquarters in Helena in 1979. This was portrayed as a promotion but likely the result of Larry sinking two boats during his field studies on the Yellowstone. In Helena, Larry worked in various positions on instream flow reservations, hydropower reservoir operations, small hydro evaluation, electrofishing safety, native species recovery, and fishery management plans. He became the Chief of the Fisheries Division and worked on interstate fishery plans and issues and was the Dept. Representative on the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Authority. Larry then became the Deputy Director in charge of field operations and was a registered lobbyist for the Department. In 2008, Larry received the Career Achievement Award from the MCAFS. He retired from Mt. Fish, Wildlife & Parks in 2009.
Larry, however, failed retirement. In 2011, he went to work as a contractor for the Mt. Dept. of Justice’s Natural Resource Damage Program evaluating the impacts of the 2011 ExxonMobil oil spill in the Yellowstone River at Laurel, assisting in settlement negotiations and developing a Restoration Plan. He also did the initial evaluation of the impacts of the Bridger Pipeline Co. 2015 oil spill on the Yellowstone River at Glendive. Larry retired again in June 2016 determined to be successful this time. He had a slight relapse when he agreed to give this presentation but plans to do therapeutic perch fishing on Holter Reservoir as soon as this is over.
Bob Lane represented Montana state government throughout his career: first as a staff attorney with the Legislative Counsel in the 1979 Session where he was coauthor of SB 76 that enacted the water adjudication statutes; then for 5 years with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation dealing primarily with water rights; and finally with the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for 27 years (with 24 of those years as Chief Legal Counsel). His most significant areas of concentration were water rights, primarily instream flow rights, stream access, the federal Endangered Species Act, state fish and wildlife regulation and related legislation. Lane is also the author of “The Remarkable Odyssey of Stream Access in Montana”, published in the Public Land and Resources Law Review in 2015.
Tom Parker is the President and Principal Ecologist of Geum Environmental Consulting, Inc., founded in 2003. Since the mid-1990’s, Tom’s professional work has emphasized ecological restoration design, planning, and project implementation in river and wetland ecosystems. Tom and his firm have worked for Montana DEQ and NRDP on aspects of upper Clark Fork River restoration and remediation since 2009, and were part of the design team for restoration work associated with Milltown Dam prior to that. Tom is currently a member of the Upper Clark Fork Working Group, working on linking research and management to help address water quality issues in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin.
Dr. Maurice Valett has been a Professor of Systems Ecology at the University of Montana since 2012. He is the Co-Director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and serves as one of two lead scientists on the Montana EPSCoR Consortium for Research on Environmental Water Systems. He has studied the energetics and nutrients dynamics of streams and rivers for over 25 years including the implications of experimental flooding, acidification, nutrient enrichment, and metal contamination of ecological form and function. He serves on the US EPA Science Advisory Board for Nutrient Dynamics. Dr. Valett is currently funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (metal and nutrient interactions during restoration of a river-floodplain system) and the State of Montana’s Natural Resource Damage Program (metals, metabolism, restoration, and trout populations in the Clark Fork River Superfund Site).
Rick has worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for 29 years. During the first half of his career, he worked out of Townsend, Plentywood, and Malta with a focus on habitat conservation, primarily on private lands. He moved to Helena in 2005 to serve as the state game bird, Pacific Flyway, and farm bill biologist before his current position as Chief of the Wildlife Habitat Bureau for the past 7 years. Over his career, Rick has served on a variety of national, regional, and state boards and committees related to wildlife conservation. He is particularly fond of habitat conservation work that involves sustainable working lands that also provide public access. Rick earned a master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University and a BS degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Environmental Management from South Dakota State University.
Colette LeMieux is a Project Manager for Pioneer Technical Services. She graduated in Civil Engineering at Montana State University and obtained her Professional Engineering license in Montana. She has 30- years of engineering experience designing stream restoration and protection, mine reclamation, erosion control practices, piping systems, recreation facilities, and fish and wildlife habitat enhancement projects to help to protect and enhance natural resources. Colette has enjoyed working across the state of Montana working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and her own engineering business prior to coming to work with Pioneer Technical Services.
Pedro Marques is the Executive Director of the Big Hole Watershed Committee, guiding the organization’s mission to deliver collaborative conservation to the Big Hole watershed. Pedro received his M.Sc. from the University of Montana in 2004 in Environmental Studies and worked in private consulting in Montana from 2008-2016, when he joined BHWC to lead its restoration programs. He has been instrumental in the recovery of smelter-impacted lands in the Anaconda Uplands Superfund site, a project he’s managed under the NRDP for 10 years. He continues to provide leadership on restoration projects throughout the Big Hole and Superfund, but in 2019 traded in his well-worn hiking boots for a comfortable office chair, after succumbing to the demands of his new position as Executive Director. Pedro currently resides in Missoula, Montana with his wife and two children.
Amy has been working as an aquatic and riparian ecologist and biologist since 2000. She started her career as a graduate student in the University of Montana’s Riparian Wetland Research Program and as a seasonal fisheries biologist with the Bureau of Land Management, Missoula Field Office. With the BLM, Amy learned a wide range of aquatic habitat and streambank restoration techniques ranging from soil bioengineering to large woody debris placement in streams. She began her consulting career in 2002 with Herrera Environmental Consultants in Missoula, Montana where she focused on NEPA and Endangered Species Act issues. She has been a partner at Geum Environmental Consulting in Hamilton, Montana since 2004. For the last 15 years Amy has focused her work on riparian, floodplain and stream restoration in Montana and Idaho, developing and implementing restoration techniques for both small- and large- scale projects. Her main interests are working with creative interdisciplinary teams and integrating ecological structure and diversity into projects at all scales. She has been part of a project team for integrated Upper Clark Fork River remediation and restoration work since 2010.
Karin Boyd has been working as a geomorphologist since 1988, when she was hired by a small consulting firm in Fort Collins that had been formed by CSU faculty. She was mentored there by Stan Schumm as he was developing the first Incised Channel Evolution Model, which has since been expanded to better accommodate floodplain connectivity concepts (Stage 0). In 1997 she took a job with Inter-Fluve, prompting a relocation to Bozeman with her husband and two small kids. Since 2002 she has been the sole owner and employee of Applied Geomorphology, working primarily in the northern Rockies and Washington state. Her main interests are providing geomorphic context to all kinds of projects, as well as working with creative interdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, and planners. She has worked as a project team geomorphologist in the Clark Fork River system for over 20 years, beginning with Silver Bow Creek remediation in the late 1980s.
Matt is a principal and founding shareholder of RDG. In over 25 years of experience as a civil engineer, he has participated in the planning, design and implementation of numerous restoration projects in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon. His expertise includes project planning, technical guidance and construction oversight for large-scale, ecosystem restoration projects with construction budgets exceeding $5M. He was involved with the restoration design for the Milltown Dam Removal and is currently involved in the Kootenai River Habitat Restoration Program. Over the course of his career, Matt’s expertise and interests have expanded beyond engineering into the fields of fluvial geomorphology, biology and riparian ecology. Matt frequently speaks at design symposiums and conferences on the subjects of river restoration, fish passage and project case studies. He is a licensed professional engineer in seven western states. Outside of work, Matt enjoys mountain biking, making music, all forms of skiing, and playing hockey.
Matt Vincent is a multi-faceted professional with over 20 years of successful experience in environmental and management roles in both the public and private sector. He currently owns Rampart Solutions, an environmental and professional consulting business based in Butte, which serves a variety of clients in environmental and strategic capacities.
Matt graduated from Montana Tech in Chemistry in 1996 and received distinguished alumni status in 2011. In 2010 he received the Governor and First Lady’s Math & Science Award for his exceptional contributions to math and science education in Montana, serving in his role as the executive director of the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program.
In 2012, Matt was elected to serve the citizens of Butte-Silver Bow City-County as Chief Executive, a post he held until January 2017. Prior to this, he served in a variety of capacities as an environmental educator, manager, scientist, and land use specialist involving every Upper Clark Fork Superfund cleanup site from Butte to Milltown.
He is widely recognized as an expert in Superfund and environmental issues and currently serves as a citizen member on Montana’s Environmental Quality Council. He is also an award-winning journalist and a published author and currently writes a column covering environmental and Superfund topics, “Restoring Butte” (https://www.rampart-solutions.com/restoring-butte [rampart-solutions.com]). Matt lives in Butte with his wife and together they have four kids.
Josh is a co-founder and President at Water & Environmental Technologies (WET). WET is a full-service environmental and civil engineering consulting firm based in Butte, Montana, with offices in Anaconda, Great Falls, Bozeman, and Kalispell. Josh has worked across many industry sectors and has a broad range of expertise encompassing areas of municipal and industrial engineering; construction management; contaminated media fate and transport investigations; watershed characterization; hydrogeologic investigations; nutrient analysis; land development; environmental permitting/due diligence; remedial project design; storm water management; and Superfund. Josh works with commercial, industrial, and municipal clients throughout the mining, energy, manufacturing, government, and agriculture sectors. WET was founded in 2000 and has grown to a staff of nearly 70 industry professionals. WET is also 100% employee owned.
Josh graduated from Montana Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the States of Montana and Wyoming. One of Josh’s professional goals was to build a successful company in his hometown of Butte, Montana. WET actively supports numerous community organizations and projects in all of its operating locations. Josh currently serves on multiple community boards including Glacier Bank, the Montana Tech Foundation, and the Digger Athletic Association.
Ty’s experience includes stream and wetland restoration, pond design, storm water analysis/design, irrigation system analysis/design, 1D and 2D hydraulic modeling, environmental and floodplain permitting. His skills are uniquely utilized at Confluence for specialized projects including fish passage design, floodplain studies, irrigation water management, and construction oversight. He spends his free time in the mountains and on the rivers with his family or following the noses of his dogs Gus and Betty chasing wild birds.
Andy develops and implements flow and habitat projects in the Upper Clark Fork and also assists with the management of the Dry Cottonwood Creek Ranch, near Galen. He oversees an annual streamflow and temperature monitoring program in the Upper Clark Fork in partnership with the Natural Resource Damage Program and Columbia Basin Water Transaction Program. He works closely with private landowners and other stakeholders in the Upper Clark Fork to identify and implement irrigation related projects that improve stream habitat, function, and water quality. He holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Whitman College and an MS in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana and has been working for the Coalition since 2011.
Casey Hackathorn is a restoration professional who collaborates with private landowners, agencies, local governments, and NGOs to develop and implement projects to restore and protect watersheds and their fisheries. Casey has led Trout Unlimited’s Upper Clark Fork Program for the last nine years while working to reconnect tributaries, reclaim abandoned mine sites, conserve water, and restore riparian habitat in western Montana. Prior to joining the TU team, Casey immersed himself in the rivers and mountains of Montana and across the West as an outfitter, guide, and wilderness instructor. Casey cut his teeth in project work as a young Air Force officer while managing environmental cleanup projects at DoD facilities around the country. Casey holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the United States Air Force Academy.
Ted, a native of Deer lodge, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Range Management from MSU. He is the Project Development Coordinator for the Jefferson River Watershed Council, and the Executive Director for the Watershed Restoration Coalition of the Upper Clark Fork. In those positions Ted oversees the implementation of restoration projects on the Jefferson River and its tributaries, and restoration projects for NRDP on its priority tributaries and terrestrial areas in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. Ted was the past Director of the National Carbon Offset Coalition, a member organization of the former Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) with terrestrial based carbon offset contracts throughout the Western U.S. Prior to that position Ted was the statewide Resources Conservation & Development Coordinator for the Montana NRCS.
Mike Penfold’s passion for conservation issues has spanned his entire career. His past positions include: National Forest Supervisor, Virginia; White House Council on Environmental Quality, Washington D.C.; BLM Montana, North and South Dakota State Director; BLM Alaska State Director; and National BLM Assistant Director Land and Renewable Resources, Washington D.C.
Mike has been recognized for his outstanding career accomplishments numerous times. They include: Meritorious Award for sustained superiority accomplishment in quality and efficiency in public service; Secretary of the Interior Distinguished Service commendation for ability to work with diverse groups in Montana; Secretary of the Interior Meritorious Service commendation for leadership as State Director of Alaska; Secretary of the Interior Award for sustained meritorious service in public land administration; President Reagan commendation for contribution to greater government efficiency; Director’s commendation for the Resource Apprenticeship Program for minority and disadvantaged young people; and Montana Wildlife Federation – Conservation Leadership Award.
In addition to working for Our Montana as the Conservation Program Director, Mike is the Chairman of Frontier Heritage Alliance, a member of the Governor’s Private Land Public Wildlife Committee, past member of the Governor’s Scenic Byway Commission, and other statewide committees.
Mike likes to hunt, fly fish, bike, camp, ski, backpack, and do historical research. He lives in Billings with his wife, Donna, of 56 years and has four daughters and ten grandchildren.
Darryl Wilson is the president of the Yellowstone River Parks Association (YRPA). YRPA has an enthusiastic group of members who volunteer their time and energy to maintaining and improving parks along the Yellowstone River and cooperates with many local and federal land management agencies in the Yellowstone River Valley near Billings. YRPA relies on philanthropy and is a not-for-profit organization.
Ryan Richardson, MS, Geomorphologist brings to the RDG team the latest tools and techniques in fluvial geomorphology and remote sensing. Ryan is involved with all stages of river restoration from assessment to monitoring. Before joining the RDG team he obtained his MS from the University of Wyoming where he focused on expanding high resolution remote sensing techniques for rivers to the watershed scale. Ryan’s skills include GIS analysis, geomorphic change detection, traditional geomorphic techniques, and has significant experience utilizing UAS technology for river mapping. These skills allow for RDG to expand its capabilities to collect and analyze geomorphic data for a wide array of restoration projects. When Ryan isn’t out in the field conducting work on RDG projects he can be found in his kayak paddling down one of the many great rivers in MT.