Board Member Profiles
Maia Bellon is the director of the Washington Department of Ecology, appointed to the position by Governor Jay Inslee in February 2013. As a Mescalero Apache descendent, Ms. Bellon is the first Native American to lead an executive cabinet agency in Washington State. Not new to Ecology, she served as deputy and then manager of the Water Resources program for Ecology. While there, she helped sustainably manage the state’s water resources for communities, farms, forests, and fish. She served for 15 years as an assistant attorney general focusing on complex water law and a broad array of other environmental legal issues. Ms. Bellon also was a special assistant to the president for civil rights and legal affairs at The Evergreen State College. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and earned her law degree from the Arizona State University College of Law.
Stephen Bernath represents the Washington Department of Natural Resources, where he is deputy supervisor for Forest Practices. Mr. Bernath is the Commissioner of Public Land’s designee to chair the Forest Practices Board and represents the agency on the newly formed Chehalis Basin Board. He has spent his entire career working on water and forestry issues, including positions with the Navajo Nation and Departments of Natural Resources and Ecology. Mr. Bernath has worked on cross-programmatic and cross-agency projects such as climate change, transportation, biomass, and nonpoint pollution. He has focused his time in forest practices working to implement the Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement and the salmon recovery and water quality laws. Mr. Bernath holds a master of science degree in forest hydrology with a minor in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of science degree in watershed science with a concentration in remote sensing from Colorado State University. He and his wife have two grown children. He is an avid cyclist and has completed the Seattle-to-Portland ride numerous times.
Nancy Biery lives in Clallam County where she is able to enjoy the many fruits of salmon restoration projects that she cares so deeply about. She runs her own political consulting and public relations firm and has demonstrated success, winning more than 25 campaigns in Washington State and Hawaii. Ms. Biery served as director of external affairs for former Governor Gary Locke and worked again with him as a special advisor when he was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. She was the state director of outreach for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. Ms. Biery was vice president of the California-based Petro Systems Pacific, where she ran the daily operations of that small environmental engineering firm before her entry into politics. She lived in Hawaii, where she served as a Community Development Block Grant coordinator and was responsible for $20 million in federal housing funding. She also served on the Maui Solid Waste Advisory Committee and the Maui Business and the Environment Conference Steering Committee, and was chair of the Maui Chamber of Commerce Environmental Affairs Committee. Ms. Biery is a former member of the Executive Ethics Board, the Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Community Development Citizens Advisory Board to the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council. She received a bachelor of science degree from the University of California, Irvine. Term runs July 16, 2015 to July 15, 2019.
Jeff Breckel, Longview, has extensive experience in salmon recovery and natural resource issues. He retired in 2016 after serving for 18 years as the executive director of the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board. While there, he led the board from its inception, through writing the first salmon recovery plan in Washington to be federally approved, to seeing that same plan implemented. Before leading the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board, Mr. Breckel served as a nuclear waste policy advisor for the Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Ecology. Previous to that, he was the executive director of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, which protects the unique scenic, natural, historical, and cultural features of the Columbia River Gorge. He came to the commission after serving in the Navy, where he earned rank of lieutenant. He received a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Washington. Term runs October 31, 2016 to December July 15, 2017.
Bob Bugert, Wenatchee, is the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust’s Partnerships director, and was that nonprofit’s executive director for the previous 9 years. Before joining the land trust, Mr. Bugert was the eastern Washington regional coordinator for the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office for 10 years where his principle duties were to engage tribes and local governments in the formation of regional salmon recovery organizations, and to support the Salmon Recovery Funding Board during its initial years. Mr. Bugert worked for 3 years with the Mid-Columbia Public Utility Districts in the formation of The Tributary Fund, an innovative mechanism to provide $50 million in grants for salmon habitat protection and restoration as a part of the districts’ Habitat Conservation Plan. Mr. Bugert also spent 10 years working on habitat and hatchery programs in eastern Washington for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Currently, Mr. Bugert serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, the Washington Association of Land Trusts, and The Icicle Fund. He has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Washington State University, a master’s degree in fisheries resources from the University of Idaho, and is a graduate of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Program. Term runs from August 5, 2013 to July 15, 2017.
Mark Clark represents the Washington State Conservation Commission where he is the habitat and monitoring coordinator. He graduated from the University of California Davis with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries and since has worked in the natural resources field for Idaho Fish and Game, private consultants in California, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Yakima Training Center, and Yakima County’s flood control and storm water programs. Mr. Cochrane’s salmon work has ranged from a summer at a Chinook hatchery in Idaho, to habitat assessments in the San Francisco Bay area, to the intersection between salmon and water quality in north Idaho and central Washington. Mr. Cochrane brings his habitat restoration and monitoring experience to the Conservation Commission, where he administers the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, salmon restoration efforts, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) work, and storm water activities.
Brian Cochrane represents the Washington State Conservation Commission where he is the habitat and monitoring coordinator. He graduated from the University of California Davis with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries and since has worked in the natural resources field for Idaho Fish and Game, private consultants in California, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Yakima Training Center, and Yakima County’s flood control and storm water programs. Mr. Cochrane’s salmon work has ranged from a summer at a Chinook hatchery in Idaho, to habitat assessments in the San Francisco Bay area, to the intersection between salmon and water quality in north Idaho and central Washington. Mr. Cochrane brings his habitat restoration and monitoring experience to the Conservation Commission, where he administers the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, salmon restoration efforts, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) work, and storm water activities.
Hilary S. Franz is the commissioner of public lands and director of the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Before being elected commissioner in 2016, Ms. Franz was executive director of Futurewise, an organization committed to implementing smart, sustainable land use and transportation policies. In this role, she brought together local governments, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups to blend land use with environmental protection and stronger local economies. She also served 4 years on the Bainbridge Island City Council, where she developed nationally-recognized environmental and energy policies and programs with diverse coalitions of public and private stakeholders. In addition, Ms. Franz has served on numerous state and regional boards and commissions, working to strengthen and protect both the environment and local economies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a juris doctor from Northeastern University Law School. Ms. Franz is married with three sons.
Susan Kanzler represents the Washington Department of Transportation, where she is the fish passage coordinator. Ms. Kanzler is a biologist with 24 years of experience working for the State of Washington. Before joining the department, Ms. Kanzler worked in the field of fish passage and salmon habitat restoration for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. In addition to other duties there, she served as a technical reviewer of fish passage project proposals being submitted to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. When she’s not planning fish barrier corrections at state highway crossings, Ms. Kanzler enjoys gardening, hiking, paddleboarding, and volunteering with her two teenage kids to plant vegetation along streams. She received her bachelor of science degree in environmental science from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Roger Millar was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee as secretary of transportation in August 2016. He is a second generation civil engineer with 38 years of experience in the transportation arena. Mr. Millar has served as public works director, city and county planning director, arterial streets manager, and vice president of a multi-national engineering firm, among other assignments. Before joining the Department of Transportation in 2015, he served for 5 years as vice president of Smart Growth America, a national nonprofit organization, providing technical assistance to state transportation agencies in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont. Mr. Millar also served as director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Mr. Millar is a registered engineer in Washington and five other states. He is married and has two teenage children.
Erik Neatherlin represents the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, where he serves as the science director for the Fish Program. Mr. Neatherlin is the department’s representative on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, an international organization established to promote the conservation of salmon and steelhead in the north Pacific. Before serving as the science director, Mr. Neatherlin was a senior policy advisor in the director’s office for the department. Before joining the department, Mr. Neatherlin worked with nongovernmental organizations on endangered species recovery and conservation issues. Mr. Neatherlin received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his master’s degree from the University of Washington. Mr. Neatherlin lives in Olympia with his wife and two daughters.
Phil Rockefeller, of Bainbridge Island, is a former member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and a former Washington State Senator. Among his legislative accomplishments are the 2007 bill creating the Puget Sound Partnership, a unique state agency dedicated to the protection and recovery of Puget Sound; and legislation enacted in 2011 which transitions Washington State from coal-based power production at the TransAlta facility in Centralia. He also has been one of the strongest advocates of renewable energy investment, fish and wildlife protection, and development of state and local adaptation strategies to address impacts of climate change. His previous work includes service in the U.S. Air Force, federal employment with the U.S. House of Representatives, and various federal agencies in the Pacific Northwest, as well as four years as assistant to former Governor John Spellman. Before his appointment to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, he served 13 years in the Washington State Legislature where he chaired the Senate Environment, Water & Energy Committee. Mr. Rockefeller received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his law degree from Harvard. He and his wife have three daughters and two granddaughters. They live on Bainbridge Island, and spend much of their free time in their community garden where they grow food to donate to the local food bank. Term runs from August 4, 2015 to July 15, 2019.
Dr. Carol Smith represents the Department of Ecology, where she is the Environmental Assessment Program manager, leading a staff of about 155 employees, mostly scientists. Many facets of this science intersects with salmon, including assessing water quality, stream flows, pollution, and salmon habitat. Before working for the Department of Ecology, Dr. Smith was the manager of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a shoreline habitat restoration program focused on salmon, for the Washington Conservation Commission, and served a salmon biologist and manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, for a total of 25 years of working experience in salmon issues. Although born and raised in Washington State, Dr. Smith lived in the Marshall Islands and Samoa in between earning a bachelor of science degree in biology, a master of science degree in zoology, and a doctorate in zoology at the University of Hawaii. The emphasis of her academic research ranged from marine biology and fisheries to biochemistry. Before working for the State of Washington, she was a researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine and a laboratory director for a commercial lab in California. Dr. Smith has been involved with the Salmon Recovery Funding Board through most of its existence..
Joe Stohr is the acting director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. A longtime resident of Olympia, Mr. Stohr joined the department as deputy director in 2007. In that role, he oversaw department operations, including budget and finance, capital project management, performance and accountability, risk management, and human resources. Before joining the department, he spent 21 years at the state Department of Ecology managing various programs, including water resources, oil spill prevention and response, and hazardous waste management. Before that, Mr. Stohr served 4 years with the state Department of Health.
David Troutt, of Dupont, has served as the natural resources director for the Nisqually Indian Tribe since 1987. He heads a diverse department comprised of salmon harvest management, two large salmon hatcheries, shellfish management, data operations, environmental management, wildlife management, legal, administration, and budget development and monitoring. He also serves as chair of the Nisqually River Council and president of the Nisqually River Foundation. Mr. Troutt also has served on the Washington Biodiversity Council, the Executive Committee of the Tri-County Response to the Endangered Species Act, the Development Committee of the Shared Strategy for Puget Sound, the Steering Committee for the Hatchery Reform Project, and as a voting member of the Resource Advisory Committee for the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Mr. Troutt received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Washington School of Fisheries. Term runs from July 21, 2014 to July 15, 2018.