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Environmental Studies

Speaker Biographies

Alex Abbott, is a GIS professional and cartographer who has been working as a partner to the USFWS Gulf of Maine Coastal Program (GOMCP).
Since 2000, ALex has been working on a wide variety of projects related to diadromous fish habitat.  Since late 2006, his primary responsibility has been to work with state, federal and non-governmental GOMCP partners to build an inventory of fish passage barriers for Maine.  This work has entailed development of data collection protocols, planning for survey of thousands of road-stream crossings, dams and natural barriers, training and supervision of field technicians, database design and data processing, GIS analysis, cartography, outreach, and coordination with partners.  In addition to this work, he has assisted GOMCP in developing their conservation and public lands database, and in helping partners in applying for grants by producing customized maps focusing on a variety of natural resource values. Aside from his work as a cartographer, he has experience developing GIS tools in various scripting languages, and has conducted studies of riverine geomorphology.

Ted Ames, MacArthur Fellow (2005) and Co-founder, Penobscot East Resource Center
Ted is a founding board member of Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington, Maine and director of the organization’s Zone C Lobster Hatchery.  Ames is both a fisherman and a researcher in historical fisheries ecology and fishermen’s ecological knowledge.  His work mapping spawning areas for cod in the Gulf of Maine and analyses of historical fishing grounds led to identification of the fine scale stock structure of cod in the GOM.  Ames is the recipient of a 2005 MacArthur Award, the 2007 Geddes W. Simpson Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Maine and is the Visiting Coastal Studies Scholar at Bowdoin College for 2010.  He fished for groundfish and scallops for 24 years, lobsters for 27 years, with extensive additional commercial fishing experience.  A former Executive Director of the Maine Gillnetters Association, Ames is captain/owner of the lobster boat F/V Mary Elizabeth.

Dave Courtemanch is Director of the Division of Environmental Assessment, Maine Department of Environmental Protection.  The division has responsibility for establishing water quality standards and criteria for State’s waters. The division is responsible for monitoring, assessment, and reporting on the water quality of all waters in the state: groundwater, lakes, rivers, wetlands, estuarine, and marine waters.  A primary focus of his work has been the establishment of biologically-based water quality standards and development of biomonitoring methods for assessing water quality.  In addition to his work at the Maine DEP, he works in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, in Maine and internationally, on a variety of projects related to protecting aquatic biodiversity.  He has a B.S. (Wildlife), M.S. (Entomology), and Ph.D. (Environmental Science) from the University of Maine. 

Michael Duguay, is the Director of Development for the City of Augusta, a position he has held for the past 12 years.  Prior to joining the City, Mike worked for the State of Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) through the 1990’s and managed a private development corporation that served Brunswick, Bath and Topsham.  He is the co-founder of the Kennebec Valley Entrepreneurial Network and is engaged in several initiatives that foster entrepreneurship and private enterprise creation.  Born in Fairfield, Maine, Mike spent a large part of his youth exploring the Kennebec River and the land that surrounds it.  In his present position, he has been engaged in several projects that focus on the Kennebec River, including the redevelopment of the Kennebec Arsenal and the former American Tissue Mill property.  Mike holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.  

Dale Finseth, Executive Director of the Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District
Dale takes care of the daily workings of the district. He organizes the shrub, trout, wreath  and bulb sales, publishes the District newsletter, and is in charge of all of the district finances. Dale lives in Gardiner, but is originally from Poulsbo, WA.  He has a Masters degree in Political Science, Public Policy and Administration from Western Washington State College in Bellingham.  Dale has worked for several successful non-profit organizations and has been a valuable member of the District staff since he started in May, 2001.

Andrew Fisk
, Executive Director, Connecticut River Watershed Council
Prior to joining CRWC in May 2011, Andy served as Director of the Land and Water Quality Bureau at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for seven years. As Maine’s land and water quality director, Andy had extensive experience with a range of state and federal environmental quality statutes. He worked with municipalities, industry, and citizens to develop, finance, and implement clean water requirements that eliminated algae blooms, sewer overflows, and maintained stream and river flows. He was also actively involved in enacting and implementing scientifically-based protections for hundreds of thousands of acres of significant wildlife habitats for tidal and inland waterfowl as well as protections for vernal pools.

Andy has a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. He has served as President of the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Agencies and Chair of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). He has been active in land conservation for over a decade. At NEIWPCC, Fisk initiated the country’s first regional mercury clean-up plan for the seven Northeast states’ impaired waters which maps out strategies to make the region’s fish safe to eat.

Nate Gray, Maine Department of Marine Resources
Nate is the project lead for the Kennebec Hydropower Developers Group (KHDG) program through the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat (BSRFH).  Nate has worked extensively on the Kennebec River and its tributaries since 1992.  He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the restoration program.   He witnessed the removal of Edwards Dam in Augusta, Maine in 1999 and has seen the populations of river herring rise from a hundred thousand to over three million with the installation of multiple fish passages and the opening of thousands of acres of historical habitat in the Kennebec drainage.  Nate has worked extensively on American shad restoration in the Kennebec River and was actively involved in the Waldoboro Shad Hatchery from 1992-2007.    

Bev Johnson, Associate Professor of Geology, Bates College
Bev's primary teaching and research interests revolve around evaluating anthropogenic influences on local, regional and global environments.  She specializes in reconstructing records of environmental change and carbon cycling through time, and currently has active research projects in Penobscot Bay, the Sprague River Marsh, and the Androscoggin and Kennebec Rivers.  Bev received her Ph.D in Geology from the University of Colorado, an MSc and BSc from the University of Delaware.

John Lichter is the Samuel S. Butcher Associate Professor in the Natural Sciences, Departments of Biology and Environmental Studies.
John received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and his B.S. from Northern Illinois University.
Before coming to Bowdoin John was a Post-doctoral Fellow and Research Associate and Instructor in the Department of Botany at Duke University. His research interests are community and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and global change. John is presently a member of a collaborative team of researchers working on a project:  Ecological and economic recovery and sustainability of the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers and their common estuary and nearshore marine environment, and funded by Sustainability Solutions Partners. 

Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, www.penobscotriver.org.   
The Penobscot River Restoration Trust is a not-for-profit organization working to restore  sustainable native sea-run fisheries on the Penobscot River for people and wildlife. The Trust currently owns three Penobscot dams, including the two closest to the sea, and will soon remove the lower two and bypass a third inland dam as part of a large-landscape, public-private collaborative effort to restore sea-run fisheries while also maintaining hydropower. Penobscot Project partners include the Penobscot Indian Nation, state and federal agencies, several local, state and international conservation groups, communities and hydropower companies.

Laura holds degrees in wildlife management, as well as in environmental and energy law and has worked on behalf of the public’s interest in water resources for nearly twenty years, including as Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Wildlife Federation’s Lake Superior and Biodiversity Programs, and as Watershed Program Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine where she worked with the Kennebec Coalition to implement the Edwards Dam removal agreement.  

Joshua Royte is the Conservation Planner and Freshwater Lead for the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
The Conservancy is a global non-profit conservation group dedicated to preserving biodiversity around the world by protecting the lands and waters for nature and the people who depend on it. Josh has been with The Conservancy since 1998 mapping and prioritizing conservation and strategies for protection of landscape-scale forest and freshwater projects. He received a B.A. from Bard College in 1985 and Masters from Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 1987 with a focus on landscape ecology. After post-graduate work Josh directed The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Fox Island Environmental Center, was an environmental planner for the National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, and then conducted rare species, natural community and wetland evaluations for Woodlot Alternatives, Inc. for 8 years before joining The Nature Conservancy. He is married to Leigh Baker and lives in Yarmouth, where he is the Chair of the local Town Parks and Lands Committee.

Scott Stone, President, Upper Androscoggin Anglers Alliance
Scott Stone is  the owner of Schiavi Homes in Oxford Maine. An avid trout angler, he is a founding member of Upper Andro Anglers Alliance and currently serves as President of the Alliance. The Upper Andro Anglers Alliance is comprised of local guides and business owners whose goal is to promote the Upper Androscoggin River as a valuable natural and economic resource.  As President of the Alliance, Scott helped to establish a river stewardship program with the Bryant Pond  4H Camp and Learning Center. Scott’s family has a long history in the area, originally settling in the region in the late 1700’s. He currently lives in Norway  and enjoys sharing the natural amenities of the Upper Androscoggin River with his wife and two sons.   

David Vail, is the Adams Catlin Professor of Economics emeritus at Bowdoin College.
He co-directs the Maine Center for Economic Policy’s project, Spreading Prosperity to All of Maine, and is a member of the University of Maine Presque Isle’s EPSCoR team investigating the potential of agricultural biomass production in northern Maine.

David advises the Maine Woods Consortium on its Tourism Quality Label initiative and the four Maine tribes on their Wabanaki Cultural Tourism Initiative. He currently serves on the boards of Coastal Enterprises, Inc., the Chewonki  Foundation, Maine Huts and Trails, and the Swedish Program at Stockholm University.

Theodore Willis, Aquatic Systems Group, University of Southern Maine
Dr. Theodore Willis received both his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in the Limnology and Marine Sciences Program. He moved to Maine in 2005 to work on an international, multi-agency investigation of how searun alewife and smallmouth bass interact in eastern Maine lakes. In 2006 Dr. Willis joined the University of Southern Maine Aquatic Systems Group. From 2006 through 2011 his research focused on the role alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) occupy in the ecosystems connected to the Gulf of Maine. In particular, alewives interact with the nearshore ocean, riverine and lake food webs, contribute to nutrient cycling in coastal watersheds, are seasonal prey for fish, birds and mammals, and interact with much of the infrastructure humans use to harness and use water resources in coastal watersheds. The Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers are focus areas of Dr. Willis's current projects. The Kennebec River is the site of a collaborative project with Bowdoin and Bates Colleges on recovery trajectories of the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers, funded by Maine EPSCOR Science and Sustainability Initiative. Dr. Willis has been involved in radio tagging and tracking work on alewives in the Penobscot River related to the Penobscot River Restoration Project. He is also a board member for the Alewife Harvesters of Maine.

Karen Wilson is an assistant research faculty with the Department of Environmental Science and a scientist in the Aquatic Systems Research Group at Univesity of Southern Maine.
Karen has a Ph.D. in Limnology/Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied the long-term impacts of an invasive crayfish on lake communities. Since receiving her degree, Karen has taught at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Toronto, Ontario.

Karen is currently the Research Coordinator and PI for the Diadromous Species Restoration Research Network (DSRRN), a research coordination network funded by NSF (http://umaine.edu/searunfish/). She is also a PI on a collaborative project investigating economic and ecological connections between Maine rivers, estuaries and coast in the Kennebec-Androscggin River System (http://research.bowdoin.edu/rivers-estuaries-and-coastal-fisheries/) that uses anadromous river herring as a common currency between these habitats and systems.

Jack W. Witham, Associate Scientist, Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine 
Jack has been the Associate Scientist for the Holt Research Forest in Arrowsic, Maine since its inception in 1983.  He has a B.S. in Wildlife Management (University of Maine 1976) and a M.S. in Public Policy (University of Southern Maine 1996).  At the forest he is involved in research, outreach, stewardship, and supervision; application of research results to regional forestry issues is one of his principal interests.  His previous research examined the impacts of pesticide spraying and lake acidification on forest birds and ducks. 

In 1989, Jack helped found the Lower Kennebec River Land Trust (LKRLT).  He is president of Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, which to date has protected more than 1,200 acres of tidal marshes and uplands.