Presenters

2019 Iowa Water Conference

  • Harry Ahrenholtz

    Harry Ahrenholtz
    chairman, Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance, ,

    Harry Ahrenholtz, a self-employed business consultant since 2012, currently serves as Chairman of Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance. Prior to working as a business consultant, Ahrenholtz worked in executive management with West Central Cooperative in Ralston, Iowa, Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas, and Evan Grain Co/Midwest Agri Services in Salina, Kansas. Ahrenholtz is a graduate of Iowa State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. Ahrenholtz currently lives in Jefferson, Iowa with his wife Carol where Ahrenholtz serves as Board President for Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity, city council member and chairman of trustees for his church. Ahrenholtz and his wife enjoy spending time with their 3 sons and their families which includes their 7 grandchildren.


  • J. Arbuckle

    J. Arbuckle
    associate professor, Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr. is associate professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State University. His research and extension efforts focus on improving the environmental and social performance of agricultural systems. His primary areas of interest are drivers of farmer and agricultural stakeholder decision making and action related to soil and water quality. He is director of the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, an annual survey of Iowa farmers.

    Presentation title: Social science research on conservation practice adoption: A brief history and background


  • Antonio Arenas

    Antonio Arenas
    assistant research engineer, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

    Antonio Arenas has a PhD in Civil & Environmental engineering and is currently an Assistant Research Engineer at IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering at the University of Iowa. He has been working with computational models applied to water resources management for more than nine years. Arenas’ research focuses on the development and application of fully- coupled surface-subsurface watershed models to assess mitigation projects directed toward flood damage reduction and study the fate and transport of nutrients. Dr. Arenas regularly speaks at Watershed Management Authority (WMA) and other conservation groups meetings providing technical expertise and guidance to people working in creating more resilient watersheds in Iowa.

    Presentation title: Estimation of tile drainage contribution to streamflow and nutrient loads


  • Eric Baack

    Eric Baack
    associate professor, Biology, Luther College, Decorah, IA

    Eric Baack has been a professor in the Biology department since 2007, and director of the Environmental Studies program since 2015. Some of his course topics include Evolutionary Biology, Biostatistics, Ecology of the Southwest, and Principles of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. Ongoing research projects include examining the fate of crop genes in a wild environment in sunflowers, genome size evolution in sunflowers, and examining drug resistance in bacteria found in the springs and streams of NE Iowa.

    Presentation title: New technology uncovers pathogens and potential sources in northeast Iowa ground and surface water


  • Marcy Bean

    Marcy Bean
    capital projects and stewardship specialist, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Minneapolis, MN


  • Amy Bryant

    Amy Bryant
    civil and environmental engineer, City of Ankeny, ,

    Amy is a Civil and Environmental Engineer with the City of Ankeny Department of Public Works. She earned a BSE from the University of Iowa.


  • Casey Byers

    Casey Byers
    , Bolton & Menk, Inc., ,


  • Nathan Campeau

    Nathan Campeau
    water resources engineer, Barr Engineering Co., Minneapolis, MN

    Nathan Campeau is a Water Resources Engineer with Barr Engineering Co., spending the last 15 years working on a variety of water resources projects focusing on the modeling and design of low impact development and green infrastructure practices in the urban environment. Nathan's assistance to clients has included designing low impact stormwater practices to treat and infiltrate urban runoff, developing hydrologic and hydraulic models to analyze existing and design new stormwater conveyance systems, and designing flood control systems. Nathan helps plan and design ecological designs in urban and brownfield spaces, including the Towerside District Stormwater System designed for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

    Presentation title: District green infrastructure to encourage economic development


  • Omar de Kok-Mercado

    Omar de Kok-Mercado
    STRIPS project coordinator, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    I coordinate cross departmental and college research and extension activities on prairie strips and their impacts on farmland, farm livelihoods, and soil, water and wildlife conservation. My expertise is in agronomy and soil microbiology and I am passionate about building communities of all kinds; particularly restoring Iowa's natural heritage both ecologically and culturally while meeting the social and economic needs of its citizens. When I'm not working you can find me outdoors with family and friends.

    Presentation title: On-farm experiences with prairie and crops: Farmers and landowners talk about Prairie Strips Program and Prairie on Farm Program


  • Evan Del Val

    Evan Del Val
    civil engineer, ISG, Des Moines, IA

    Evan graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Civil Engineering and is a Water Resources engineer who has accumulated extensive knowledge with both natural water systems and stormwater infrastructure. Certified as Level II in the Rosgen Wildland Hydrology Courses, Evan has a high level of understanding regarding the natural processes of riparian corridors, including channel geomorphology, floodplain development, and Natural Channel Design restoration. Evan lives with his wife and three young children in Ankeny.

    Presentation title: Easter Lake channel restoration: Using Iowa's river restoration toolbox


  • Ibrahim Demir

    Ibrahim Demir
    assistant professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

    I am an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa. My research focuses on hydroinformatics, environmental information systems, scientific visualization, big data analytics, intelligent systems, and information communication. I have led the design and development of many novel research and operational information systems including Iowa Flood Information System. I currently serve at currently serve at Editorial Board of Environmental Modeling and Software (Elsevier), Journal of Hydroinformatics, and Smart Water (Springer).

    Presentation title: Iowa Flood Information System


  • John Dunn

    John Dunn
    director, Water and Pollution Control Department, City of Ames, Ames, IA

    John is an Iowa native, graduating from Urbandale High School near Des Moines in 1984. He is a two-time graduate of Iowa State University, having received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. John is licensed as a registered Professional Engineer in Iowa in the branch of Environmental Engineering, and also holds an Iowa Grade III wastewater operator’s license. He has worked in the water and wastewater fields since 1989, and has held positions ranging from laboratory analyst to environmental engineer to senior management roles. He currently serves the Ames community as Director of the Ames Water and Pollution Control Department.

    Presentation title: Choosing between improved water quality or fiscally responsible sewer rates: A false dichotomy


  • Brett Emmons

    Brett Emmons
    water resource engineer , Emmons and Olivier Resources,Inc., Oakdale, MN

    Brett Emmons has 25 years experience in integrated water resources management. His career includes stormwater work at multiple scales. He co-founded Emmons & Olivier Resources (EOR). He leads new initiatives in several regions areas of the Midwest and Canada. He holds a Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and an Undergraduate Degree in Forest Ecology from the University of Illinois.

    Presentation title: Emerging approaches: Stormwater harvest and use/reuse is the best kept secret


  • Jodi Enos-Berlage

    Jodi Enos-Berlage
    professor, Biology, Luther College, Decorah, IA

    Jodi Enos-Berlage has been a professor in the biology department since the Fall of 2000. Her primary teaching responsibilities include Microbiology, Immunology, and Principles of Biology. She uses a variety of active learning strategies in the classroom and laboratory to engage students and enhance learning. As the coordinator for Biology department internships, Enos-Berlage facilitates and evaluates over 40 student internships/year in the health care, research, and environmental areas. 


  • Andy Erickson

    Andy Erickson
    research associate, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

    Andy Erickson is a research associate at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and a registered professional engineer working with Professor John Gulliver on projects related to understanding water quality in urban and agricultural watersheds, assessment and maintenance of stormwater treatment practices, and developing new stormwater treatment technologies.

    Presentation title: Performance of iron enhanced sand filters: Laboratory, urban, and agricultural studies


  • Jennifer Fencl

    Jennifer Fencl
    director, environmental services , ECICOG, ,


  • Radhika Fox

    Radhika Fox
    chief executive officer , US Water Alliance , Oakland, CA

    Radhika Fox is the Chief Executive Officer of the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. The Alliance brings together diverse stakeholders to identify and advance common-ground, achievable solutions to our nation’s most pressing water challenges. The Alliance educates the nation on the value of water, accelerates the adoption of One Water policies and programs, and celebrates innovation in water management. Radhika is a widely-recognized thought leader on complex water issues, from equity in water to investing in our nation’s water infrastructure. With more than 20 years of experience in developing policies, programs, and issue-based advocacy campaigns, Radhika is a sought-after public speaker and has been interviewed by local, regional, and national media outlets on a wide range of water issues.

    Presentation title: Transformational leadership for One Water


  • Jonathan Gano

    Jonathan Gano
    director, Public Works, City of Des Moines, Des Moines, IA


  • Sharon Gaul

    Sharon Gaul
    resiliency coordinator, Housing and Community Development, City of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA

    Sharon Gaul is a ‘01 graduate from Iowa State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture. She has worked in the land development and housing sectors for the last 17 years. Sharon's passion for health and housing culminated with the opportunity to lead a program designed to increase the resiliency of households and the housing stock in the heart of Dubuque. Sharon currently works as the Bee Branch Healthy Homes Resiliency Coordinator utilizing Community Development Block Grant- National Disaster Recovery (CDBG-NDR) funds to reduce water intrusion into homes, ultimately contributing to the Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA). The program offers an innovative family advocacy component, improving housing conditions and connecting families with the social capital, health care, and economic opportunity they need to build a resilient neighborhood and community. The data ecosystem created by this project is unfolding Dubuque’s story of social resilience. The program employs collaboration with community and regional partners to identify and evaluate strategic outcomes, with the goal of producing a replicable model that can be utilized in communities across the country.

    Presentation title: A case study for flood resilience


  • Jordan Giese

    Jordan Giese
    graduate student, Natural Resources Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA


  • Kevin Griggs

    Kevin Griggs
    senior environmental scientist, EOR Iowa, LLC, Boone, IA

    Kevin is an Iowa native, born and raised in the prairie pothole region northwest Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. He has completed additional graduate work at the University of Northern Illinois and Iowa State University. His professional career includes time with county and state natural resource agencies. He worked for the U.S Army Corps of Engineers for five years; first as a park ranger, then as a biologist. He then spent seven years with the Iowa Department of Transportation, first as a wetland ecologist and then as the Water Resources Program Supervisor. In 2004, he entered the private sector as the Wetland Program Manager for an Iowa engineering firm. In January 2005 he started his own home-based consulting business: Griggs Environmental Strategies LLC. In this role he assists engineers, developers, and public officials with environmental challenges such as Section 404 Permitting and Threatened and Endangered Species management. In 2010, his business grew to include development and management of the Iowa Agricultural Mitigation Bank. In 2013 he incorporated the business and brought on a partner to assist in growing the business. In 2016 he merged the company with Emmons and Olivier Resources to form EOR Iowa and expand the suite of services to include stormwater management and environmental design.

    Presentation title: The City of Storm Lake water quality initiatives


  • Nathan Gruver

    Nathan Gruver
    landscape architect, ISG, ,

    Nathan has over 15 years of professional experience. Nathan’s areas of expertise include natural channel design, bio retention areas, riparian restoration, wetland construction, plant inventory and analysis. Due to his creative and innovative approach to landscape architecture, a number of Nathan’s projects received awards and have been featured in various publications, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts ‘Muse Award’ and Keep Virginia Beautiful Award Winner. Nathan is an Iowa native and graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors in Landscape Architecture. Since deciding to return to the Midwest with his wife, Nathan has enjoyed reacquainting himself with the vast outdoor sporting opportunities Iowa has to offer. Nathan is actively involved or has served on a number of personal and professional organizations, including VASLA Executive Committee, ACE Student Mentors, James River Anglers Association, Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.


  • Aaron Gwinnup

    Aaron Gwinnup
    professional engineer, HR Green, Cedar Rapids, IA

    Aaron Gwinnup is a professional engineer specializing in surface water quality and ecological restoration. His specific areas of expertise are in design of urban stormwater BMPs, stream assessment and restoration, and overall water resource engineering, modeling and design. Before joining HR Green, Aaron worked at IIHR doing water quality research for 3 years, and also owned a design-build construction company in eastern Iowa for 9 years.

    Presentation title: Iowa River Restoration Toolbox - Clear Creek Assessment Case Study


  • Tim Hall

    Tim Hall
    hydrology resources coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, ,

    Presentation title: Iowa's stream mitigation method


  • Neil Hamilton

    Neil Hamilton
    professor of law and director, Agricultural Law Center, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, IA

    Prof. Neil D. Hamilton, is a Professor of Law and Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. He lives with his wife Khanh on a 10-acre market farm, Sunstead, near Waukee, and he grew up on a 200-acre family farm in Adams County, Iowa, where his family began farming in 1872. He has a B.S. from Iowa State University 1976 in Forestry and Economics (with honors), and a J.D. from University of Iowa 1979 (Order of the Coif). He has taught agricultural law for 38 years and is past-president of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) and recipient of its Distinguished Service Award in 2006. He has written numerous books and articles for farmers and lawyers including the nationally award-winning book What Farmers Need to Know About Environmental Law (1990). Prior to joining the Drake faculty in 1983 to found the Agricultural Law Center, he taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law and he was an Assistant Attorney General in the Farm Division of the Iowa Department of Justice. Since 1983 he has directed the Agricultural Law Center at Drake, helping establish its national and international reputation for excellence in research, education and public extension on food and agricultural law. He has received numerous awards for his writing and leadership on sustainable agriculture, law, and food policy. In the 1990’s he served as vice-chair of the USDA Small Farms Advisory Committee and chaired the USDA National Genetics Resource Advisory Committee. In 2015-16 he co-chaired a USDA study committee on land tenure and land access for beginning farmers. He has written numerous law review articles on topics such as: farm tenancy, food democracy, intellectual property rights and plant genetics, the future of agricultural law, sustainable agriculture, land tenure, agricultural industrialization, and production contracts. He has conducted legal seminars throughout the U.S. and in twenty-five foreign countries. He served on the Advisory Board of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University from its creation in 1987 until 2008, and is on the boards of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Seed Savers Exchange. In April 2000 Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack appointed him to chair the Iowa Food Policy Council, which he did until January 2007. Since 2012 he has led six delegations of American law students on study trips to Cuba to examine agricultural land reforms.

    Presentation title: Watershed citizenship: The key to expressing our duty to the water and land


  • Emma Hanigan

    Emma Hanigan
    urban forestry coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, IA

    Emma is the State Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. She is responsible for the statewide Community Forestry Program, providing technical assistance to all 99 counties. Her work as a coordinator includes education and training to city staff, tree boards, volunteers and others interested in managing the public tree resource. Additionally, she assists with tree inventories, urban forest management plans, mitigation planning for invasive species, updating tree ordinances, and planting selection for underserved communities. She is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist, Certified Public Manager® and NAASF Urban and Community Forestry, Communications Subcommittee chair. Emma graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry with an emphasis in Urban and Community Forestry from Iowa State University.

    Presentation title: Maximize the benefits of trees and woodlands


  • Matt Helmers

    Matt Helmers
    Dean’s Professorship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Matt Helmers is the Dean’s Professorship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the, and the Associate Chair for Research and Extension. He is active in the Land and Water Resources Engineering area. In 2018 he was appointed the Iowa Nutrient Research Center Director. He has been active in the prairie strips team for many years.

    Presentation title: Integrating prairie strips with other BMPs for greater impact on water quality


  • Saige Heyer

    Saige Heyer
    graduate assistant, Journalism and Mass Communications, Iowa State University, ,

    Saige Heyer is a graduate student in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at ISU. Her research interests include science communication, advertising and strategic communication.


  • Dan Holderness

    Dan Holderness
    city engineer and IWA urban planner, City of Coralville, ,


  • Mark Imerman

    Mark Imerman
    senior consultant, Regional Strategic, Ltd., Des Moines, IA

    Mark leads Regional Strategic, Ltd., helping businesses and organizations develop strategy, establish feasibility, and evaluate impact. Previously, Mark was an outreach economist and administrator at Iowa State University – helping businesses and communities resolve regional development challenges and developing student recruiting and communication strategies for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Raised on an Iowa farm, Mark has BS and MS degrees in Economics from Iowa State University.

    Presentation title: Linking nutrient reduction to flood control: Examples from Iowa


  • Adam Janke

    Adam Janke
    assistant professor, Natural Resources and Ecology Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Adam Janke is an Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University. Adam is a trained wildlife biologist, having received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in wildlife conservation and ecology from three land-grant schools in the Midwest. His extension and research focus on finding opportunity areas for layering wildlife habitat conservation with land stewardship practices in working agricultural landscapes.

    Presentation title: Back to by-products: Promises and opportunities for layering benefits of water- resource conservation to restore wildlife in rural Iowa


  • Ben Janke

    Ben Janke
    research associate, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

    Ben Janke is a Research Associate at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering in 2011 from the University of Minnesota, and currently works in the Civil Engineering and Ecology departments, and is affiliated with the Natural Capital Project at the Institute on the Environment at the U of M. He has research experience on a variety of topics in urban hydrology and water quality, including road salt accumulation and transport, drivers of nutrient export in watershed runoff and effectiveness of best management practices, and ecosystem services of urban greenspaces.

    Presentation title: Road salt in urban watersheds: Where does it go and how long does it stay there?


  • Chris Jones

    Chris Jones
    research engineer, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

    Chris Jones is a Research Engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering at the University of Iowa. He manages the university's network of real time water quality sensors. His research focuses on contaminant hydrology and water quality in agricultural landscapes.

    Presentation title: Livestock concentration and stream nitrate


  • Paula Kalinosky

    Paula Kalinosky
    water resources engineer, Emmons and Olivier Resources,Inc., ,

    Paula Kalinosky has 14 years of engineering and related experience including TMDL studies, hydrologic and water quality modeling, stormwater harvest and use planning and feasibility, and solar site design and permitting. Paula’s graduate research on street sweeping offers valuable insight for many applications that integrate with water quality initiatives.


  • Drew Kessler

    Drew Kessler
    project manager, Houston Engineering, Inc., Maple Grove, MN

    Drew Kessler is a senior scientist and project manager with Houston Eng. Inc. He leads HEI's water quality and agribusiness services sectors. Prior to joining HEI, Drew completed his PhD in Water Science at the University of Minnesota.

    Presentation title: Using models and costing data to guide a targeted conservation approach to watershed planning


  • Ashley Kittle

    Ashley Kittle
    Prairie on Farms Program Manager, Tallgrass Prairie Center, University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA

    Ashley Kittle joined the Tallgrass Prairie Center staff in February, 2015, to lead the Prairie on Farms Project. Ashley received her BA in Political Science with minors in Environmental Science and Community Sociology from Wartburg College. She completed a Professional Science Masters in Ecosystem Management at the University of Northern Iowa. Ashley brings critical experience working with urban and rural landowners on a wide variety of complex water quality projects, as well as public education and outreach.


  • Kent Klingbeil

    Kent Klingbeil
    regional sales manager, Landus Cooperative, ,


  • Jon Koch

    Jon Koch
    president, Iowa Water Environment Association, Muscatine, IA

    Presentation title: City of Muscatine’s nutrient reduction strategy


  • Witold Krajewski

    Witold Krajewski
    director, Iowa Flood Center, Iowa City, IA

    Dr. Witold F. Krajewski is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa. Since 2009, he has been director of the Iowa Flood Center. Dr. Krajewski’s scientific interests concern radar and satellite remote sensing of rainfall. His current research focuses on understanding the genesis of floods through field experimentation and modeling. On these topics, Dr. Krajewski has published more than 220 papers in refereed journals. He is Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society, and in 2018 received the AMS Hydrologic Sciences Medal.

    Presentation title: Three decades of floods in Iowa


  • Matt Liebman

    Matt Liebman
    professor, Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Matt Liebman is the Henry A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture and professor of Agronomy at Iowa State. He is an original member of the prairie strips team.

    Presentation title: Prairie strips establishment and the crucial first three years


  • Clare Lindahl

    Clare Lindahl
    , Soil and Water Conservation Society, ,


  • Cara Marker-Morgan

    Cara Marker-Morgan
    coordinator, East and West Nishnabotna River Watershed Project, ,

    Cara Marker-Morgan grew up in Southwest Iowa attending both Hamburg and Sidney High schools graduating from Hamburg High. Unbeknownst to Cara her career in watershed work started at a very early age; sandbagging along the Nishnabotna River in Hamburg while she was in High School in 1993. Following High School Cara attended Peru State College, majoring in Wildlife Ecology/Biology. From 1997 until 2005 Cara managed both single and multi-unit retail stores for Farm Store companies in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa, gaining valuable experience in management. Cara returned to Peru State where she received a BS in Management and Marketing. In 2005 she married her husband Brandon and they have 3 children, Mavryc, Czandrya, and Cytara. In 2008 Cara was elected County Supervisor in Fremont County where she was afforded the opportunity to be a part of many boards and organizations such as Chair of the Iowa State Assn. of County Supervisors, the Iowa State Assn. of Counties, Board of Directors for the Hungry Canyons Alliance and many others. As County Supervisor, Cara was heavily involved in the recovery efforts following the Missouri River floods of 2011. Cara led a sub-committee as part of the Governor’s recovery task force and assisted in many recovery efforts where she found her passion for watersheds. Cara Marker-Morgan joined Golden Hills RC&D in 2017. Cara is currently the project coordinator for both the East and the West Nishnabotna River watersheds through the Iowa Watershed Approach. This project is bringing new techniques for problem-solving of the recurring flooding issues along the two major rivers in southwest Iowa.


  • Jim Marwedel

    Jim Marwedel
    hazard mitigation planner, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, Windsor Heights, IA

    Jim Marwedel is a hazard mitigation planner with the State of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD), where he has worked since 2008. Prior to working for the state, Jim spent several years working in local jurisdictions. He has been a city administrator and public works director for small Iowa towns. He has also been a city and regional planner in Independence, Missouri and Box Elder County, Utah. Mr. Marwedel holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University. Jim has two grand dreams: (1) mitigating all the flood problems in the state and thereby becoming a hazard mitigation rock star, and (2) spending every weekend with his family in the warm outdoors. Alas, living in Iowa makes the full realization of these dreams unattainable; nonetheless, the pleasure he finds is in the pursuit, not the attainment.

    Presentation title: Community solutions for flood resiliency


  • Darcy Mausby

    Darcy Mausby
    farmer, Calhoun County , , ,


  • Matt Meulemans

    Matt Meulemans
    graduate student, IIHR - Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

    Matt Meulemans received a B.S. in environmental science and a B.S. in conservation management from Upper Iowa University in 2017. He is currently in the final year of his Master's program in the Sustainable Water Development program at the University of Iowa. His research interests include nitrate transport, spatial water quality, and natural solutions to water quality issues.

    Presentation title: Application of a boat-deployed water quality sensor system


  • Dustin Miller

    Dustin Miller
    attorney, Nyemaster Goode PC, Des Moines, IA

    Dustin Miller is a member of the Governmental Affairs Department at Nyemaster Goode, P.C. His law practice is primarily focused on representing clients as a lobbyist at the Iowa Legislature and with agencies of the State of Iowa but also practices law in the areas of environmental and water quality, municipal law, economic development and public finance. Prior to moving to Nyemaster, he was the General Counsel for the Iowa League of Cities after serving two years as the Director of Government Affairs. He was primarily responsible for the League's state legislative activities and providing legal guidance to member cities. This work included federal and state regulatory work on environmental compliance issues. He began working closely with member cities on the development of a nutrient reduction exchange with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and continues to lead that work on behalf of the League. He was raised in Lacona, Iowa (pop. 363) and returned to the state in 2012 after working in Washington DC in the Office of the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture with Tribal Governments in multiple agency areas that included federal environmental compliance for large telecommunications and wastewater infrastructure projects. He also worked on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation with a non-profit he founded to spur economic development and worked in Houses of Parliament for Alistair Burt MP for NE Bedfordshire. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and his law degree from Drake Law School where he also received a certificate in Food and Agriculture Law.

    Presentation title: The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Exchange: A demand driven approach


  • Luke Monat

    Luke Monat
    civil engineer, Shive-Hattery, Inc., West Des Moines, IA

    Luke Monat is a licensed Civil Engineer and Project Manager with Shive-Hattery, Inc. in West Des Moines. Luke focuses on Water Resource projects for clients throughout Iowa. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two young children.

    Presentation title: Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor: Stream restoration


  • David Montgomery

    David Montgomery
    professor, Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

    David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. His books have been translated into nine languages. He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki.

    Presentation title: Growing a revolution: Bringing our soil back to life


  • Chris Morris

    Chris Morris
    graduate research assistant, Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Chris Morris is a first year Master’s student and graduate research assistant at Iowa State Univeristy, co-majoring in Rural Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture. Chris previously worked as a Rangeland Managment Specialist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for the past 15 years in central Texas. His current research focuses on farmer adoption of regenerative and sustainable agriculture conservation practices to improve and protect natural resources.

    Presentation title: Do conservation plans make a difference in practice adoption? – Evidence from Iowa farmers


  • Christina Muñoz

    Christina Muñoz
    graduate student, Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa, ,

    Cristina Muñoz is a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa in the department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. Flood and hurricane disasters are increasingly affecting communities. Cristina investigates how communities can increase their access to resources, such as federal assistance, to help them through recovery. Today, she will present on a flood resilience survey, which she has lead as part of the Flood Resilience Team in the Iowa Watershed Approach project.


  • Maggie Norton

    Maggie Norton
    graduate research assistant, Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Maggie is a masters student in Rural Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State. Her thesis work focuses on stakeholder perceptions of water security in northwest Iowa. The aim of the research is to reveal opportunities for the collaborative governance of water resources in the region.

    Presentation title: Livestock production, water scarcity and potential for collaborative water governance in northwest Iowa


  • Laurie Nowatzke

    Laurie Nowatzke
    measurement coordinator, Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Laurie Nowatzke joined Iowa State University in 2015 as the Measurement Coordinator for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Her work focuses on measuring the progress of water quality improvement efforts in Iowa and tracking the adoption of agricultural conservation practices in the state.

    Presentation title: The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy farmer survey: Influential organizations and information sources for nutrient reduction


  • Matthew O'Neal

    Matthew O'Neal
    associate professor, Entomology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Dr. Matt O'Neal is faculty in Entomology and the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture as Iowa State University where he researches pollinator health and survival. He is associated with the prairie strips project.

    Presentation title: Birds, pollinators, and other wildlife: New findings from Prairie Strips Biodiversity Research


  • Jim Pease

    Jim Pease
    Story County Conservation Board Member

    Jim Pease is a native of Burlington, Iowa, and has over 4 decades of experience as a front-line interpreter, professor of interpretation, and writer and consultant on many interpretive and environmental education projects. He is retired from Iowa State University and has emeritus status in the Natural Resource Ecology and Management Department. Jim serves on the Story County Conservation Board.


  • Gregory Pierce

    Gregory Pierce
    PE, CPESC, water resource engineer, RDG Planning and Design, Des Moines, IA

    Greg has more than 20 years experience in civil engineering, stormwater and stream corridor management for public and private projects. His past work includes planning, design and construction oversight of multiple stream restoration projects, site and regional stormwater best management practices, watershed assessments and plans, community scale planning and land development projects. Watershed planning efforts include: Johnston, Clive, Ankeny, Big Creek Lake, Walnut Creek, Beaver Creek and the North Raccoon River. Greg also worked on the planning, design and implementation of the Prairie Trail development in Ankeny from 2006-2014 -- an 1,100 acre planned community that was the first project of that scale to implement guidance within the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual. Greg is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control and is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. He earned a BSE in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa.

    Presentation title: Assessing the past and planning for Ankeny's future: Lessons learned and a series of unfortunate events


  • Pranay Ranjan

    Pranay Ranjan
    postdoctoral research associate, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

    Dr. Pranay Ranjan is an environmental social scientist with interdisciplinary training in institutional analysis, social dilemmas, water governance, environmental policy, and natural resource conservation. Dr. Ranjan holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Natural Resources from the Ohio State University and a Masters in Environmental Studies from TERI University. His research focuses on examining the dynamic interactions between society and environment, and evaluating how these interactions affect human behavior and collective decision making.​

    Presentation title: Meta-review of barriers and motivations related to farmer adoption of conservation practices


  • John Rathbun

    John Rathbun
    project coordinator, Clear Creek Watershed Coalition, Iowa City, IA

    John has been working as the project coordinator for the Clear Creek Watershed Coalition for twenty-three months. By far, his most enjoyable time is spent with landowners, walking with them on their land and looking for ways to increase their enjoyment or the workability of their land. As they walk he knows that helping the landowner will also benefit the folks downstream.

    Presentation title: Success and challenges of watershed resiliency


  • Adam Rupe

    Adam Rupe
    environmental planner, JEO Consulting Group, LINCOLN, NE

    Adam has been with JEO Consulting Group for over 10 years, where he is the leader of Watershed Planning and Restoration Services. He is proud to be a native to both the Sandhills and the Niobrara River Valley of Nebraska. He holds duel Bachelor degrees in Environmental Studies and Fisheries and Wildlife, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Adam is currently pursuing his Masters of Applied Science in Environmental Restoration from his alma mater.

    Presentation title: Community based planning techniques to address flood resiliency and water quality on a watershed scale


  • Keith Schilling

    Keith Schilling
    state geologist, Iowa Geological Survey, Iowa City, IA

    Dr. Keith Schilling is State Geologist and research engineer at the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa and an adjunct assistant professor at both the University of Iowa Department of Earth and Environmental Science and at Iowa State University Department of Natural Resources Ecology and Management. He received an M.S. degree in Water Resources from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. degree in Geology from the University of Iowa. His research has focused on a variety of water-related issues in Iowa, including groundwater flow and quality, surface and groundwater interaction, nonpoint source pollution and watershed and floodplain processes.

    Presentation title: Paired watershed monitoring to measure water quality improvements from conservation – mixed success in Iowa


  • Gregg Schmitz

    Gregg Schmitz
    marketing manager, Nutrien, ,


  • Adam Schnieders

    Adam Schnieders
    water quality resource coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, IA

    Adam has worked in various roles for water quality programs within the Iowa Department of Natural resources for the past 18 years, including a role coordinating the state’s water quality standards efforts, and serving as the NPDES program supervisor. Adam was a leader in the development of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy that brings the point and nonpoint source sectors together in a common statewide plan to reduce nutrients in Iowa’s waters and those of its downstream neighbors. Schnieders now serves as Water Quality Resource Coordinator, which involves working across Iowa state government to affect improved water quality, especially in the area of nutrient reduction.

    Presentation title: Mapping conservation practices through GIS surveys


  • Neil Shaffer

    Neil Shaffer
    project coordinator, Howard SWCD, Cresco, IA

    Neil Shaffer has been working for the Howard Soil and Water Conservation District since 2001 as a project coordinator implementing best management practices to improve water quality. Neil is also a lifelong resident of Howard county who dairy farmed up until 2016. He continues to manage a corn and soybean operation on the family farm and is an active member on several community organizations.

    Presentation title: Reducing pollutants in livestock saturated watersheds


  • Breanna Shea

    Breanna Shea
    public relations coordinator, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Iowa, ,


  • Matt Stephenson

    Matt Stephenson
    graduate student, Natural Resources Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Like many of my colleagues, I grew up camping, hiking, and canoeing around Iowa and the United States, which led to me to a career in wildlife.  While an undergraduate at Iowa State, I served as a Biological Science Technician for a summer at the Valentine NWR in the Nebraska Sandhills.  After graduating with a BS in Animal Ecology (wildlife focus) in 2010, I spent several field seasons working for the Iowa DNR on the Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program (MISM) doing surveys for birds, herptiles, mammals, odonates, butterflies, bats, and mussels in central Iowa.  I then served as an Iowa DNR AmeriCorps member assisting with the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan as well as many other projects, before beginning my Master’s program at Iowa State in the spring of 2015.


  • Ted Tedesco

    Ted Tedesco
    former mayor, Ames, IA and Story County Conservation Board

    Ted Tedesco was born and raised in Council Bluffs and came to Ames to attend Iowa State College in 1954. He was president of Knapp-Tedesco Insurance Agency for 46 years. Ted served in City of Ames government for 17 years; 5 years on planning and zoning commission, 4 years on city council, and 8 years as Mayor retiring in 2006. He is completing his 10th year on Story County Conservation Board and was just appointed to a 3rd term.


  • John Thomas

    John Thomas
    fluvial geomorphologist, Hungry Canyons Alliance, Oakland, IA

    John is a fluvial geomorphologist and has served as the project director for the Hungry Canyons Alliance since October 2000. As an Iowa native, he took the all Iowa approach to his studies earning a B.S. from Cornell College in geology and environmental studies, an M.S. from Iowa State University in geology and water resources, and another M.S. from the University of Iowa in civil engineering (hydraulics).

    Presentation title: The Hungry Canyons Alliance: River restoration in western Iowa


  • Heather Thomas

    Heather Thomas
    project manager, CGA, ,


  • Mark Tomer

    Mark Tomer
    soil scientist, USDA-ARS, ,


  • Jennifer Tonko

    Jennifer Tonko
    program officer, Minnesota Humanities Center, Saint Paul, MN

    Jennifer Tonko is a program officer with the Minnesota Humanities Center and is the lead for We Are Water MN, a multi- agency partnership formed to tell Minnesota’s water stories collaboratively, bringing together personal narratives, historical materials, and scientific information. Tonko convenes state agency partners to jointly develop program direction and works with local community leaders to use We Are Water MN as a community engagement and network building tool, to learn from and amplify the perspectives of indigenous Minnesotans, and build relationships in Minnesota communities among those who protect and affect water. Her previous work includes coordinating the Humanities Center’s Education Strategy in Omaha Public Schools, working with humanities scholars and educators to bridge the relationship gap between teachers and students; and working with the Minnesota State Arts Board to recruit and train Minnesota artists and arts professionals to serve as peer reviewers for the Arts Board grant programs. Tonko, born in Iowa, graduated from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.

    Presentation title: What's your water story?


  • Jessica Turba

    Jessica Turba
    executive officer, Disaster Recovery Operations/Planning, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, ,


  • Rick Wilson

    Rick Wilson
    leader, Integrated Water Management Service, JEO Consulting Team, ,

    Rick is a registered professional engineer with an extensive background in civil engineering and project management. Throughout his 35-year career, Rick has worked on water resources and environmental engineering projects ranging from large to small scale. As a Senior Project Manager with JEO Consulting Group, he is focused on watershed management including flood resiliency and water quality issues. Prior to joining JEO, Rick served as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Nebraska Water Science Center. While with USGS Rick led the development of monitoring networks, as well as the collection and interpretation of hydrologic and environmental data for water quality, surface water, and groundwater investigations.


  • Laura Witzling

    Laura Witzling
    assistant professor, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Laura Witzling joined the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University in 2018. She received her Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She conducts research about the role of communication in our food system with a focus on sustainability.

    Presentation title: Inland fish farming: Public opinion and social media trends


  • Roger Wolf

    Roger Wolf
    director of environmental programs, Iowa Soybean Association, Ankeny, IA

    Roger Wolf is the Director of Environmental Programs and Services for the Iowa Soybean Association and Executive Director of Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance. In this role he works to continuously improve natural resource management practices and environmental quality, leading a team of 10 staff and technical specialists.

    Presentation title: Ag retailers engagement strategies for conservation delivery


  • Tim Youngquist

    Tim Youngquist
    agricultural specialist, Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    Tim Younquist, Agronomy, has served the prairie strips team as as an agronomic advisor since 2014. He is the liaison between clients, advisors and the university in the outreach effort.