Zach has lived and worked in Montana for 15 years, realizing at some point that it’s home. He joined the Beaverhead Watershed Committee in 2017 to expand the group into the Red Rock Watershed. He loves the collaborative nature of his work in Southwest Montana and believes that this style of community-driven resource conservation that we’re all learning is what will allow us to solve the bigger problems coming in the future. Prior to working in the Beaverhead, Zach spent years working seasonal field jobs and then permanent office jobs before his work brought him to the Centennial Valley, where he learned a different conservation philosophy that has served him well in his current work. Zach has decided to stick around for a while in the watershed world and to lend his skills to the MWCC Board, partly due to sitting in a crowded room of watershed professionals and realizing “I really like these people” …
Tana is the Associate Director of the Big Hole Watershed Committee, where she is in charge of communications and event planning, manages grants and projects, maintains partnerships, and oversees the Big Hole River Drought Management Plan. She completed her Master of Natural Resources degree at the University of Idaho and received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science/Biology from the University of Montana Western. Tana joined BHWC in 2014 and resides in the Big Hole watershed near Divide. She is most passionate about representing and including the local community in conservation issues. She loves the Big Hole and its residents and considers herself lucky to live there. Tana is a heartfelt believer that “Conservation is as much about community as it is about land and water.” She is most proud of her work with wildlife conflict reduction in the Upper Big Hole Valley.
Michelle McGree is a 5th generation Montanan who has been working as a fisheries biologist since 2010. She has an M.S. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. In 2014 she became a habitat improvement grant manager for the fisheries division of Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks and has been focused on watershed improvement ever since. She is passionate about finding restoration solutions through collaboration, as well as conservation, fish biology, and improving angling opportunities for current and future generations. Michelle is proud that she has been able to help provide watershed groups and others with over $3 million for restoration through the Future Fisheries Improvement Program. She values the opportunity to bring her perspective to MWCC and to be part of connecting people, ideas, and resources to on-the-ground restoration.
Wayne is the District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in the Montana District Office. He enjoys fly fishing Montana’s blue-ribbon rivers and hiking and camping in Montana’s backcountry. Wayne recognizes the importance of maintain healthy watersheds and wilderness designated areas. Wayne has a strong belief in community support. Wayne serves on the boards of Montana Wilderness Association, Helena Youth Soccer Association, Montana Youth Soccer Association, and the Montana Economic Developers Association. Wayne is a CPA and received his MBA from Marymount University in Arlington, VA.
Dusty lives in Eastern Montana and works as the Administrator for the Garfield County Conservation District (GCCD). With the District, Dusty has been able to work on a vast assortment of natural resource conservation projects such as soil health, rangeland monitoring, fire recovery, education, and outreach. Dusty’s passion project with the District is the operation of two watercraft inspection stations, helping protect Montana waters from Aquatic Invasive Species. Because of this work, GCCD was given the 2019 Rangeland Stewardship Award by BLM and Dusty was named Employee of the Year by the Montana Association of Conservation Districts. Outside of work, Dusty loves fishing and traveling.
Mike is the founder and executive director of the Whitefish Lake Institute (WLI), an organization that gives Whitefish Lake a voice within the community. WLI’s research supports management decision-making and tangible projects to improve water quality. WLI’s educational programs foster the next generation of water stewards. Mike also serves on the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3) where he chairs the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Early Detection and Monitoring Committee, and the Flathead Basin Commission where he serves on the Executive Committee. Mike is excited to be on the MWCC team to embrace the diversity of watershed groups in Montana and to support their pursuit of protecting our shared resources. He hopes to draw upon his 25 years in the natural resource profession to provide creative vision to MWCC and strengthen partnerships to foster efficient and comprehensive watershed programs.
Sarah Bates serves as the Deputy Regional Director and Senior Director for Western Water with the National Wildlife Federation’s Northern Rockies, Prairies & Pacific regional office in Missoula. Sarah brings diverse experience from positions with nonprofits, consulting, and university research centers, and has published books, articles and research reports and taught classes in public lands, water and environmental law. She played leadership roles on the Clark Fork Coalition governing board, and currently serves as a Senior Fellow with the University of Montana’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program. Sarah is passionate about engaging people to develop lasting solutions to resource management and governance challenges, and she is eager to build new relationships with and support the good work of watershed groups and agency partners throughout Montana through her service on the MWCC board.
Charles is a senior waters conservation associate at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He has spent the past seven years working on public lands and wild river conservation at GYC. His most recent accomplishment includes passage of the East Rosebud Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, Montana’s first designated Wild & Scenic River in 42 years. He’s currently working on broad-based Wild & Scenic Rivers legislation to protect iconic Montana waterways on public lands in the Greater Yellowstone and Crown of the Continent Ecosystems. He has also spearheaded watershed conservation funding opportunities in the Upper Yellowstone watershed. Before joining the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Charles co-founded two non-profit organizations – the Montana Backcountry Alliance, which supports backcountry skiers and riders looking to protect opportunities for quiet human-powered winter recreation, and Absaroka Institute, which ran wilderness meditation and yoga expeditions throughout the American West.
Eric Trum has been with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality since 2013. He works in the watershed protection section to support restoration and protection of Montana’s rivers, streams, and lakes. Prior to joining DEQ, he worked on watershed restoration projects for the US Forest Service and as a private consultant evaluating environmental programs for government agencies and NGOs. Eric earned a master’s degree in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and Land Resources and Environmental Science from Montana State University. Eric enjoys Montana adventures with his wife and two young kids – like back country sledding, hiking the far mountains, building forts, chasing butterflies, and chunking rocks into water while fishing. As a Boston native, he also spends time brainwashing his family into obsessive fans of New England sports teams.
Amy works on policy and conservation as the Conservation Program Manager for Montana Audubon. She has been in this role since 2013 and works on the statewide Important Birds Area Program, on citizen science projects, and with nine independent Audubon Chapters across the state. Learning bird songs is a passion, and avian studies have been a focal point for Amy, taking her to locations such as the Madison and Missouri Rivers, Charles M. Russell NWR, Bitterroot Valley, Glacier National Park, the highline, and the Bridger and Big Belt Mountains. These experiences allow Amy to contribute to MWCC through her knowledge of the birds and wildlife that rely on our state’s waterways and are impacted by landscape issues within each of the state’s watersheds. Her statewide role allows her to engage with diverse communities and groups, and she is passionate about being able to build relationships that can move conservation forward.