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Board & Staff

Board Members

Zach Owen
Board Chair

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
Board Vice Chair

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.

Tana Nulph
Board Secretary

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.

Wayne Gardella
Board Treasurer

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.

Amy Seaman
Board Member

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.

Eric Trum
Board Member
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.
Barbara Chillcott
Board Member

Barbara has worked in natural resources conservation for 12 years. After law school, she became one of the first employees of a nonprofit formed to put together instream flow transactions across Montana. She later served as executive director of that group.  After negotiating a merger with the Clark Fork Coalition (CFC), Barbara assisted in making instream flow work an integral part of CFC’s mission. As legal director for CFC for six years, she supported the organization’s policy development and on-the-ground restoration efforts. Barbara is proud of her role in shaping and supporting CFC’s restoration program and in advocating for important conservation policies. Currently, as an attorney for DNRC, she enjoys working on natural resource issues at the state government level. Her involvement with MWCC provides the perfect balance for staying engaged in local community-based watershed issues. Barbara is passionate about MWCC’s mission to support local watershed organizations who benefit from increased capacity.

Charles Wolf Drimal
Board Member

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.

Sarah Bates
Board Member

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.

Mike Koopal
Board Member

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.

Dusty Olson
Board Member

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.

Keri Bilbo
Government Liaison

Keri has more than 20 years of experience with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and is currently Montana’s Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations. Raised on a cotton farm in west Texas, Keri takes great pride in seeing how conservation at the watershed scale can not only heal the land but can also bring together the people involved. She has worked with community partners in Broadwater County’s Deep Creek and Gallatin County’s Camp Creek to improve water quality through the NRCS National Water Quality Initiative funding. These efforts required strong partnerships with local Conservation Districts, watershed organizations, and groups such as MWCC. Keri emphasizes “conservation connectivity,” and it brings her great joy to see the successes that can be realized by working across both sides of the fence and seeing one producer’s conservation efforts connected to those of their neighbors.


Ethan Kunard
Executive Director

Ethan joined MWCC as Executive Director in November 2019. Prior to this, he spent seven years in Ennis, MT where he worked on collaborative community-based conservation efforts throughout the Madison Valley. During this time, he also served on the Board of Directors for MWCC and was actively involved as a member of the Madison County Planning Board. Ethan graduated from the University of Montana, where he studied in the College of Forestry & Conservation. His interest in conservation started in his youth while backpacking along parts of the Continental Divide, but his passion for this work developed once he was introduced to Montana’s unique approach of conservation through collaborative grassroots efforts. He continues to find inspiration and enjoyment in the outdoors, something he now shares with his highly enthusiastic dog, Georgie. As Executive Director, Ethan is passionate and excited about supporting the work of individuals and organizations across the state to conserve and protect Montana’s priceless natural resources and outdoor character.

Terri Nichols
Watershed Programs Coordinator

Terri has been engaged in community-based watershed health since her time as a volunteer citizen scientist in central California in the early 2000s. Originally from Detroit, she moved to the Flathead Valley to work on a small farm in 2007 and has since travelled throughout Montana as a stream and wetland technician for the U.S. Forest Service and Montana Natural Heritage Program. Prior to joining MWCC, Terri worked with Clark Fork River stakeholders to ensure community input in the cleanup of hazardous wastes at the former Smurfit-Stone Mill site in Frenchtown. She also helped farmers in rural Northern Zambia to protect soil, water, and forest resources during her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Terri studied Natural Resources Conflict Resolution at the University of Montana and also has extensive communications experience. She is passionate about providing communities with the resources they need to preserve and protect watershed and community health.

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Emma DesLauriers
Big Sky Watershed Corps

Emma grew up on the North West Shore of Lake Tahoe, California. There she was taught from a young age the importance of both protecting and enjoying nature. She graduated from UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources in May of 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy and a minor in Conservation Resource Studies. What excites Emma the most about working for Big Sky Watershed Corps and Montana Watershed Coordination Council is the opportunity to connect and gain knowledge from people all around Montana. Outside of work she enjoys being outdoors and staying active with skiing during the winter and mountain biking or hiking during the summer.