Board of Directors
Don Allan recently retired as the Director of the Natural Resources Services Division of the Redwood Community Action Agency in Eureka. He has worked with non-profit organizations for over 25 years and spent 11 years working in private business. Don brings invaluable personnel, financial, and non-profit management skills to his role on the SRF Board and as the SRF Board President.
Eli Asarian is principal scientist at Riverbend Sciences, a consulting firm based in Eureka, California specializing in the study of freshwater aquatic ecosystems and watersheds. Trained as a biologist/ecologist, he also has extensive experience with water quality, hydrology, geographic information systems, and database management. He has authored many reports on Klamath River water quality and algae as a consultant to Klamath Basin Tribes. He assisted the National Marine Fisheries Service in developing recovery plans for salmon and steelhead, including an analysis of long-term trends in streamflow on the northern California coast. Other recent projects include research on the historical and current distributions of beavers in California.
Brian LeNeve started fishing for steelhead in 1950, studying steelhead in 1959, and formally working to save steelhead in 2006 when he joined the Carmel River Steelhead Association. After graduating from college with a degree in business administration, he ran a family-owned painting contracting company for 47 years. During that time he grossed between one and three million annually with 10 to 100 employees. This prepared him for budgeting, legal, and personnel issues faced by every business and non-profit. He has been president of the Independent Painting Contractors of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, was on the state wide board for the California Native Plant Society, and is currently president of the Carmel River Steelhead Association — all of which has given him an understanding of the complexities of a non-profit organization and problems in particular of salmonid restoration.
Sarah has over ten years of experience in the field of restoration and natural resource management with a focus on riparian systems and salmonid habitat enhancement covering a variety of sectors; non-profit (both international and national), private consulting, and state government. She received a degree in Environmental Studies & Planning: Restoration & Conservation with a minor in Biology (focused on vertebrate biology) from Sonoma State University in 2009. Since 2014, she has worked for the Marin Resource Conservation District (RCD) as their Urban Streams Program Manager. Her work at the RCD focuses on the following; education by organizing and leading hands-on technical trainings in a variety of areas of natural resource management, supporting fisheries monitoring with local partners, facilitating streamlined permitting approaches to restoration, educating the public on the value of habitat rehabilitation, and serving as the communication liaison between stakeholders and local, state, and federal regulatory agencies in support of regulatory compliance. She also carries out grant writing and project implementation relating to salmonid habitat enhancement and other restoration efforts. She really enjoys facilitating collaborative processes, loves tending to native plants in the nurseries, working with volunteers, and providing education through public engagement.
Sarah has served in a leadership role with the Lagunitas Technical Advisory Committee since 2016. Currently Sarah serves as an advisor to the Tomales Bay Watershed Council and Gallinas Watershed Council. She is the Vice President of the Redwood Empire Trout Unlimited Chapter. As well, she serves on the CoRenewal Board which is focused on the remediation of oil pollution in the Amazon Rain Forest in Ecuador using bacteria and mushrooms.
Sarah first attended the SRF Conference in 2011 in San Luis Obispo, realizing it was love at first sight. She is honored to continue to serve SRF on its Board as a director and on the Executive Committee as the Secretary.
Michael Belchik is a senior water policy analyst for the Yurok Tribe, for whom he has worked for 25 years. He served as the Yurok Tribe’s Klamath and Trinity River leads as senior fisheries biologist in the late 1990s before turning his attention solely toward Klamath River restoration, including dam removal. He helps integrate Western science and Yurok values as part of his work, serving as advisor to the Yurok Tribal Council in complicated water and dam removal issues. He previously served as the Yurok Tribe’s technical lead during the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement negotiations.
View the Gordan Becker Memorial River Advocate Award Presentation Slides.
A northern CA native, Mike Dixon currently manages the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP). The TRRP is a partnership of eight federal, tribal, state, and local entities applying process-based techniques to restore the anadromous fisheries of the Trinity River. Mike previously worked as a conservation planner and later as a national wildlife refuge manager, both for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Colorado, where he became involved in stream restoration and endangered species recovery efforts. Mike also serves as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and sits on the Trinity County Fish and Game Advisory Commission
Anna Halligan is the North Coast Coho Project Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. She previously worked with the California Conservation Corps as a Fisheries Habitat Specialist, on implementation, planning, and monitoring of restoration efforts. She was also employed with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to work with the Coastal Restoration Monitoring and Evaluation Program. She recently was the Watershed Conservation Coordinator with the Morro Bay National Estuary Program (NEP).
Jennifer Hemmert is an Environmental Scientist for the Reservoir Inland Fisheries Program for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife located out of Winchester and works with sport fish in Southern California. Although she is regionally based out of the Inland Deserts Region, she takes directive from Fisheries Branch and works on sport fish related management and assessments in impoundments throughout the entire State. She has worked with nonprofit organizations for 8 years while working on fisheries and water quality issues related to anadromous fish in California. She has worked previously for the Department of Water Resources, UC Davis - Environmental Sciences and Policy Department, and South Yuba River Citizens League (AmeriCorps program through Sierra Nevada Alliance). She brings her volunteerism background to the SRF Board and has been on the Board since 2011.
Alison ODowd, PhD
Alison O’Dowd is a professor in the Environmental Science and Management Department at Cal Poly Humboldt. Alison received her doctorate in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management with a focus on Aquatic Ecology from the University of California, Berkeley. Alison’s teaching and research interests include environmental science, ecological restoration and aquatic ecology. Her research primarily involves the use of benthic macroinvertebrates and fish to explore topics related to stream and wetland restoration, invasive species, wildfire, dams, and step-pool sequences in steep, mountain streams. Other than serving on the SRF Board as an alternate, Alison also serves on the Eel River Watershed Improvement Group Board of Directors.
Freddy Otte is the City Biologist for San Luis Obispo, which is very progressive in resource protection and enhancement. This position is unique in that there are very few municipalities that employ a biologist. As the City Biologist, he interacts closely with planners and engineers during project design. He is dedicated to ensuring the protection of steelhead whose survival is threatened by urban development, water pollution, and other factors.
Freddy is the coordinator of the Stormwater Management Program that is mandated by the State Water Quality Control Board and overseen by the City’s Natural Resources Program. Freddy is involved with the Tri-County FISH Team which consists of organizations from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
Alison Willy recently retired as the Watershed Planning Division Chief at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bay Delta Fish and Wildlife Office in Sacramento. She has spent over 40 years working in wildlife and fisheries habitat restoration, endangered species and water policy, data collection, and multi-party collaboration. Her interest is in restoration of riparian floodplain activation, including analyses of hydropower and water infrastructure effects on riparian ecosystems, salmonids, ESA-listed species, and other sensitive species.
South Coast Habitat Restoration