Snake River Salmon Recovery Board
The Snake River Salmon Recovery Board was developed in response to the rising need for salmon recovery and conservation efforts which seek to bolster salmon populations which have been in decline since the 19th century. The Washington State Legislature created the Salmon Recovery Act of 1998 (RCW 77.85) in order to facilitate the development of localized plans for the recovery of endangered species of salmon. The following year, the governor’s salmon office released “Extinction is Not an Option-a Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon” which provides guidance for the administration of salmon recovery efforts. In accordance with this document, a set of guidelines for salmonid recovery planning called “An Outline for Salmon Recovery Plans” was developed through a collaboration of the State of Washington, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC).
Snake River Salmon Recovery Board (SRSRB) Members
The Snake River Region is managed by the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board, a cooperative group comprised of officials representing Walla Walla, Garfield, Asotin, Columbia, and Whitman counties. In addition, the board also includes the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and various state and federal agencies.
- Jon Jones, Citizen Member
- Gary Ryan, Citizen Member
- Michael Largent, County Commissioner
Michael Largent was elected as a Whitman County Commissioner in 2006 and is currently serving his third term. Prior to his service with Whitman County, Michael farmed in the Colfax area for 30 years where he still resides on the family farm.
Michael earned a BA from WSU in finance and accounting in 1982. He began his career in Houston, Texas as a corporate accountant returning to WSU to accept a position with WSU in the College of Agriculture and Economics. During his time at WSU Michael studied for and pass the CPA exam
At one point his interest in public policy led him to a brief stint as a Washington State Senate Legislative Assistant to then Senator Larry Sheahan (1999 and 2000 legislative sessions) while continuing to operate the family farm. This experience led to interest in public policy which continues to this day.
- Brian Shinn, County Commissioner
Brian Shinn is a second generation Asotin County Commissioner for District 1, following his father Robert Shinn who was elected to the same position in 1970. Brian is a lifelong resident who started his working career as a weatherman, reporter, salesman, then sales manager for KLEW TV before going on to purchase a television and appliance store with Lyle Reimers in 1978. Since then he has co-managed Shinn-Reimers Service & Satellite Center. Shinn has been a member of several community boards including FEMA, the Clarkston Chamber Board, the Lewis-Clark Economic Development Board, the Asotin County Planning & Zoning Commission and many other boards since his election to the Asotin County Commission. Since 1985 he has been a co-host on the regional radio talks show “Opinion Please” on KRLC A.M. 1350.
- Brad Johnson, Citizen Representative
Brad is the Watershed Director for the middle Snake River which is over half of the Snake River geographic area. Brad can trace his love for farming and nature to his roots in North Dakota where he worked on his Grandfather’s homestead raising cattle and growing crops. He continues this tradition today by sharing these values with his wife and children by managing a small cattle herd; branded with his Great Grandfather’s original brand from 1897. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Dickinson State University where he was a three year starter on the basketball team. After graduation he moved to Idaho and worked in the Fisheries Department at the University of Idaho. His work prepared him for his next position with the Asotin County Conservation District where he led both the administration and implementation of habitat protection and restoration projects for salmonid species listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. While implementing the Asotin Creek Model Watershed Program he was a major contributor/author for the following planning projects; Asotin Creek Sub-basin Summary, Middle Snake Limiting Factors Analysis, Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan, Middle Snake Watershed Plan, Asotin Creek Intensively Monitored Watershed Plan and all the updates for these documents. He has been an active participant in the Snake River Salmon Recovery Region since its inception by negotiating and managing the first administrative contracts for both the Lead Entity and the Snake River Board. Depending on the season, Brad and his wife Becky can be found on local track fields, soccer fields or basketball courts watching one of their seven kids participating in various sporting events as they grow into young adults. Where the fish are biting on local rivers or the big bucks are rutting or bull elk are bugling in the mountains is also a good place to find him. Brad and Becky enjoy their large family and all the rewards that come with teaching them the importance and values of responsible nature resource management. Brad enjoys taking them on hunting and fishing adventures throughout the Northwest.
- Jerry Hendrickson, Citizen Member
- Del Groat, Board Chair and Citizen Member
Del Groat is a local boy born and raised in Pomeroy. He spent his youth hunting and fishing in the Blue Mountains and the Palouse Hills. Del completed his BS in biology, with an emphasis in fisheries at Eastern Washington University. He has completed post-graduate work at Utah State, Colorado State and Virginia Tech. He worked for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Forest Service during the summer in his college years. After graduation, Del worked seasonally for the Army Corps on “operation Fish Run” at both Little Goose and Lower Granite Dams. He accepted full-time employment with the Forest Service and became a fish and wildlife technician in 1989. Del has been the Fish Biologist at the Pomeroy Ranger District for twenty one years and is currently the program manager for fish, wildlife and recreation in the district. He was part of the original technical advisory team in the four original Model Watershed programs. Del and his family spend a great deal of time enjoying a farm and ranch in Whitman and Adams Counties owned by his wife’s family. He has two daughters, both graduates of Washington State University with their doctorates in Pharmacy.
- Billy Bowles, Citizen Member
- Justin Dixon, County Commissioner
- Roland Schirman, Board Vice-Chair and Citizen Member
Roland Schirman was appointed as Columbia county member to the SRSR Board in 2008. His formal training was obtained at Oregon State University and U of Wisconsin with emphasis in the area of agronomy/weed science. In his professional career Roland was employed by Chevron Chemical(1962-65), USDA-ARS(1965-79) and WSU Extension(1979-2005). A major emphasis of his professional work was to help develop sound resource stewardship within the agricultural community. Since leaving the Extension payroll he has maintained active involvement with producers in the agricultural industry and continues to serve on various boards and committees related to resource management.
- Don Jackson, Citizen Member
Don Jackson is a landowner on the Tucannon River where he enjoys spending his time with his wife and frequent visits from the kids and grandkids.
- Mike Talbot, County Commissioner
Walla Walla County
- Todd Kimball, County Commissioner
Todd was raised on a 6th generation Walla Walla family farm. He attended DeSales High School, graduating in 1987. After high school he attended Whitworth University in Spokane, graduating in 1991 with majors in Accounting and Business Administration. He then attended Gonzaga University in their MBA (Masters of Business Administration) program. His career as a CPA started in Boise, Idaho in 1993. In 1997, he moved back to Walla Walla to work on the Family Farms and simultaneously continued his CPA work.
Todd has always had a passion for water conservation and protecting the rights of landowners. He has been a board member of the Walla Walla County Conservation District for the past 10+ years, served his maximum of 9 years as a board member of Northwest Grain Growers, served on the Blue Mountain Land Trust Board, and has coached many basketball teams over the past 20+ years, ranging from school varsity, AAU, down to YMCA pee-wee teams.
Todd and his wife, Sandy, have two boys, Scott (19) and Shea (16). Scott is studying Ag-Econ at Walla Walla Community College and Shea is a sophomore at DeSales High School with hopes of becoming a commercial pilot someday. Sandy is a Practice Manager at Animal Clinic East in Walla Walla.
Todd was elected to his first term as County Commissioner in 2016.
- Larry Hooker, Citizen Member
After attending Snake River Salmon Recovery Board meetings for almost 10 years representing the Walla Walla County Conservation District, Larry Hooker was appointed as a Walla Walla County member to the SRSRB in 2015. Larry’s formal training was obtained at the University of Idaho (B.S. Forestry (Wildlife Management-1967 and M.S. Forestry (Range Management-1972). He served as a Gunnery Officer for the U. S. Navy in two campaigns during the Vietnam conflict (‘67-‘69). Larry began his Soil Conservation Service (SCS) career in 1972 and served as a Range Conservationist in Hailey, ID for 2-years. Beginning in May of 1974, he served as District Conservationist at Orofino, ID until early 1977 when he transferred to Walla Walla. From March 1977 until January 2006, Larry served as the Walla Walla Field Office District Conservationist – a period of 29 years and 9 months. During the last three years of this period, he was also DC of Franklin, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin Counties – the WA Natural Resource Conservation Services Snake River Team. As District Conservationist, Larry specialized in dry cropland agronomy and associated supporting conservation practices e.g. strip cropping, divided slopes, grassed waterways, terraces, tillage systems (no-till/direct seed and conservation tillage), and critical area plantings. As a past range conservationist, he also specialized in grass plantings for conservation cover, pasture and erosion control and provided technical guidance to one of WA’s largest and most active CREP areas. After retiring from NRCS in 2006, Larry worked part-time as the Agricultural Projects Coordinator for the Walla Walla County Conservation District for the next 10-years.
- Yancey Reser, Citizen Member
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
- Gary James
Gary James was the first biologist hired by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) in 1982. He serves as Fisheries Program Manager and oversees all aspects of the CTUIR Fisheries Program. This includes coordination with tribal policy, co-managers, funding agencies and the public in planning, implementation and monitoring of the tribe’s water/fish projects throughout NE Oregon and SE Washington watersheds within CTUIR co-management scope. Projects support a “River Vision” which describes healthy floodplain conditions necessary to protect, restore and enhance tribal First Foods for the perpetual cultural, economic, and sovereign benefit of CTUIR. Before Gary assumed his most recent position, he worked for various state and federal fisheries management agencies in Oregon and Idaho.
Snake River Salmon Recovery Board Staff
Steve Martin has been hired by the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board to coordinate salmon recovery planning efforts. Steve was raised in Dayton, Washington and attended Eastern Washington University where he graduated with an master’s of science in fisheries biology in 1991. Steve worked for the Washington State Department of Fisheries and the Department of Fish in Wildlife in various programs including hatcheries, fish management, research and habitat from 1990 through 2001. Since employment with the state, Steve has worked as a consultant in the Snake River Region on various planning efforts including development of the Habitat Conservation Plan and the Watershed Plan for the Walla Walla basin. Steve has been a member of the Snake River Region Lead Entity since its inception in 1998.
Steve and his wife Jody live in Dayton and have four children. He and his family enjoy camping, water sports, fishing and spending time together. Steve’s current focus is working with the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board to develop a comprehensive salmon, steelhead and bull trout recovery plan with the support of the communities that have the ability to implement the actions described in the plan and that are endorsed by the federal fisheries agencies.
Tucannon Programmatic Technical Coordinator
Kris Buelow has been hired by the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board to coordinate salmon recovery projects in South Eastern Washington. Kris attended University of Wisconsin Stevens Point receiving in 1996 a bachelor’s of science in biology & Utah State University where he received a master’s of science in fisheries biology in 2005. Prior to moving to Washington, Kris worked as a endangered species program coordinator for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. Kris has worked for a variety of state, federal and private resource management and research agencies. Kris worked extensively with salmonids in the Snake and Salmon River systems while working for the Idaho Fish & Game from 1997 through 2000. Kris has been a member of the Snake River Region Lead Entity beginning in January 2008.
Kris and his wife Laura moved to Washington to enjoy its natural beauty and way of life. The Buelow’s have two young sons, Finn, who is nearly three years old and their newborn, Torin, born in April. They enjoy outdoor activities including salmon fishing, rafting, hunting, cross country skiing and camping.
Office Manager~Outreach Coordinator
Debbie Seney was hired by Snake River Salmon Recovery Board to coordinate the bookkeeping/office functions for salmon recovery efforts. Starting in September 2013, she has been working the region as our Outreach Coordinator with local schools at the 3rd grade level. Debbie was raised in Waitsburg/Dayton, she attended Kinman Business University where she graduated with certification in Business Administration/Accounting. Debbie also attended Walla Walla University part-time for four years, majoring in Accounting. In her employment career, she has worked for three school districts, two city governments, one community college and now with the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board, on Tuesday through Thursday each week.
Debbie has two grown children and four priceless grandchildren. She enjoys her church activities, gardening, camping, kayaking, photography, traveling and being in tune with nature.
Lead Entity Coordinator
John Foltz joined the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board in March of 2014 as the Lead Entity and Regional Technical Team Coordinator. Prior to joining the team, he worked as the project and Lead Entity coordinator for Klickitat County. As an Associate Fisheries Professional his work experience includes watershed planning coordination, habitat restoration project management, field monitoring and data collection, conservation aquaculture, and scientific research. His education includes a B.S. in Natural Resources and Fisheries Science from Ohio State University and a M.S. in Engineering Science from Washington State University.
A local Regional Technical Team (RTT) of scientists is responsible for determining the technical merits of proposed projects and to review products produced by NOAA Fisheries with regards to salmon recovery. Their input on salmon recovery strategies will be balanced with the input of the public throughout the recovery planning process in the Snake River Region. The RTT is made up of representatives from local offices of the US Forest Service, various state agencies, and tribes listed below.
Bill Dowdy - US Forest Service, Pomeroy Ranger District
Emmit Taylor, Jr. - Nez Perce Tribe
Greg Schlenz - Washington Department of Ecology Natural Resource Conservation Service
Kris Fischer - Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Jerry Middel - Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Chris Pinney - US Army Corp of Engineers
Glen Mendel - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Gary James - Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Joe Bumgarner - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Jeremy Trump - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kate Terrell - US Fish & Wildlife
Erin Kuttle – US Fish & Wildlife
Bob Ries - National Marine Fisheries
Diane Driscol - National Marine Fisheries