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” …
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.
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.
Jorri is originally from Brady, a small Montana farm town where she developed her love for conservation and obsession with water. She graduated from the University of Montana where she studied Wildlife Biology. Her work has been focused on aquatic ecology with a focus in aquatic invertebrates where she now works for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation managing the Watershed Grant Program. She enjoys exploring and traveling with her dog, Wren and is inspired by Montana’s collaborative and diverse approach to managing natural resources. Jorri’s passion for natural resources and conservation came from growing up in agriculture and spending weekends at the lake or family cabin in the Rocky Mountains. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with MWCC and keep serving Montana.
Mr. Smith is a Water Quality Regulatory Specialist for The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation. After graduating from the University of Montana he began his career as a Fisheries Biologist. After 10 years there he tried out being Program Manager for the tribes Wetlands. That was short lived when he moved to his current position after two years. He has been working with the Tribes Natural Resource Department since 2003. Born in Missoula, MT and Graduated from the University of Montana. He will be attending the University of Gonzaga in the summer of 2022.
Robin is an aquatic ecologist with Confluence Consulting who specializes in monitoring and assessment of aquatic ecosystems. She served on the board of a small watershed coalition in Colorado and on the advisory committee and technical advisory committees for the Standard Mine Superfund Site clean-up. In 2010, she co-founded a non-profit organization focused on local, sustainable agriculture and food security. She is familiar with the workings of non-profits and with small business management, as a former small business owner.
I have been fortunate to have experience as both a rural sociologist and a forester, as my major interest centers on how people may reside and interact with forest and grassland settings in a productive, harmonious manner. I am curious about the manner in which science-based tools can improve the effectiveness of community groups in the development of plans and activities on forested lands. I received my academic training at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, and my PhD dissertation explored the success of voluntary associations among small private woodland owners. Recent work has examined the effects of wildfires on rural communities and the implications of stewardship contracting on public lands. Prior to becoming the Associate Dean, I was the Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests at the University of Montana. For nearly 20 years I worked for the USDA Forest Service in Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington, with a three year assignment in Washington D.C. as a policy analyst in the International Program Office. I also spent three years in the mid-1970’s as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small rural village in northern Guatemala. It was there that I came to learn beekeeping, as well as the dignity, humor, and resiliency of the human spirit in the face of hardship.
Aaron Clausen is rooted in Montana and passionate about the well-being of its natural resources and all that they provide. Originally from South Dakota, Aaron has worked as an ecologist and conservation biologist on private lands in Montana for the past 10 years. He currently works with ranchers and other groups on agricultural financial and ecological sustainability as a Senior Program Officer for the World Wildlife Fund. He lives in Bozeman with his wife Sonja and their furry cohort.
Jordan is a water quality scientist with NorthWestern Energy in Helena, MT and runs the water quality programs for NorthWestern’s 11 hydroelectric facilities. After getting a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from the University of North Dakota, Jordan spent some time working at various State and Federal natural resource agencies in North Dakota and Idaho before moving to Montana in 2012. Since moving to Helena, he has been passionately involved in Montana’s watershed community, working in the TMDL program at Montana DEQ and serving as the former chairman of the Lake Helena Watershed Group board, before starting his current role with NorthWestern Energy in 2017. He loves working with different watershed groups across the state and has a true appreciation for how tight-knit Montana’s watershed community is considering the vast size of the state.
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.