Steve is a Senior Wetlands Specialist with Montana DEQ. He has twenty years of experience working in conservation, wildlife, and wetlands science. Steve joined the MARS board as a Director in 2016.
Joining the board in May 2015, Bert Erwin has worked with Idaho Fish & Game and the U.S. Forest Service. He is currently a biological technician in fisheries with the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, focusing on fisheries habitat and native species restoration. A Montana resident since 1998 Bert has experience as a small business owner and in retail management. Bert has a B.S. in Biological Sciences: Fish and Wildlife Ecology and Management from Montana State University.
Abby is a Biologist with Ducks Unlimited in partnership with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. Abby works closely with the NRCS and private landowners to help implement Farm Bill programs across the state. She specializes in the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program, which includes the Grassland and Wetland Reserve easements. Abby brings over 10 years of experience as a wetland scientist and watershed restoration professional specializing in protection and restoration of wetlands and streams. Abby joined MARS as a Director in 2013, and took over as Chair of the Board in 2015.
As Confluence’s Senior Project Manager, Mike incorporates his background in wildlife, fisheries, hydrology, and watershed science in the design and construction of water quality and fisheries restoration projects. His project management experience includes channel design and construction, fish passage and screening, revegetation, habitat enhancement, and grant acquisition. Mike works with a wide variety of clientele ranging from industry to private landowners, conservation groups to developers. He is often involved in the construction oversight components of Confluence’s design-build projects, and interfaces with regulatory agencies and the public. Mike joined the MARS board in 2015.
Ted is a professional engineer and certified floodplain manager with 30 years of experience in water resources engineering, specializing in the planning, design and construction of river channel and floodplain improvements including hydraulic analysis of bridges and culverts; river channel bed and bank stabilization; flood storage improvements and mitigation; aquatic, riparian and wetland habitat enhancements; and, development of recreational amenities such as boat chutes, trails and public park features. Ted also has expertise in regulatory coordination including Clean Water Act Section 401 and 404, Endangered Species Act, NEPA analysis, FEMA floodplain map changes and Section 106 Historic Preservation Act; the use of GIS in analyses of project criteria and requirements; hydrologic and hydraulic analyses; sediment transport and scour and deposition analyses; erosion control BMPs; and, habitat analyses. Ted joined the MARS board as a Director in 2015.
Larisa is an economist with U.S. Geological Survey. Larisa focuses on regional economic profiles of communities and assessment of economic effects to inform policy for resource management decisions. She also specializes in water supply, alternative water transfers and agricultural production. Most recently, Larisa examined the use of remote sensing technology for consumptive water use monitoring in the Western U.S. and abroad. Larisa joined MARS as a Director in 2015.
Montague is a Senior Associate at Franz & Driscoll, PLLP., a boutique law firm specializing in water rights. Montague recently joined the practice of law after a career in land use planning. She assisted in research needed to initiate MARS as an ILF sponsor for Montana while working as an intern for Trout Unlimited in law school. Since then her efforts have circled around the intersection of land and water conservation through legal tools such as conservation easements, instream flow leases, drafting legislation, settlement negotiations and litigation. In addition to her law degree, her educational background includes an M.Sc. in Watershed Ecology and a Certificate in Natural Resource Dispute Resolution from the University of Montana. Montague joined MARS’ board as a Director in 2015.
Jen has spent 15 years leading watershed groups and non-profit organizations navigate challenges in water-related issues as diverse as open-space bonds, endangered species, floodplain regulations and river conservation. She also owns and operates Farm 51, a goat farm in Bozeman. Jen joined MARS as Director in 2013.
Deb is the Managing Director of DMS Natural Resources LLC. With over ten years of experience in the water rights sector, Mrs. Stephenson is skilled in water valuation, water right management, and water investment analysis. Deborah brings a wide range of business and economic experience to MARS and is one of the country’s few experts in water appraisal and valuation. Mrs. Stephenson assists clients in making business decisions regarding one of their key assets, water. In addition, Deborah routinely provides land owners technical water right analysis, change / new water right application development, and strategic management recommendations. Deborah’s water business and economic experience spans the Western United States. Deborah joined the MARS board as a Director in 2013.
Saul is Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Wetland Program Coordinator. Saul leads the Montana Wetland Council and the development and implementation of the state’s five-year strategic framework for wetland and riparian conservation and restoration in Montana. As a founding Director, she was instrumental in creating MARS as an ILF sponsor for Montana under new federal regulations. Saul is a certified Professional Wetland Scientist and a Certified Floodplain Manager.
Curtis is an environmental consultant with a 40 year history of professional work in the conservation and restoration of aquatic systems, including coastal environments. He worked for the Army Corps of Engineers wetlands program as a field biologist through the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, as manager of the Florida Keys Environmental Restoration Trust Fund, Curtis worked with state, federal, and private entities to allow ILF mitigation contributions to the Trust Fund and later drafted the ILF agreement that finalized the program. In Montana, he worked with state and federal agencies and the Wetlands Legacy Partnership in the establishment of Montana’s first ILF program. He’s been a small scale agricultural producer in SW Montana for 16 years and holds and manages senior water rights there. Curtis is a founding Board member of MARS.
Pat is the Director of Trout Unlimited’s Montana Water Project. An attorney and fisheries biologist with over 16 years experience as a special projects and regional fisheries biologist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks where he gained expertise in stream and fisheries restoration and in state and federal permitting authorities and procedures and led restoration efforts for Arctic grayling and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Pat was founding Chairman serving through 2015 and remains active on the Board as a representative of the Executive Committee.
Owner of Applied Geomorphology, Inc. and a registered professional geologist with twenty-five years experience in river process assessment, restoration concept development, stream channel design, and permitting. Karin is a founding director of MARS.