Pictured left to right: Rebecca Wassell, Cassandra Weekes, Melissa Babik (formerly with Mid-Columbia Fisheries), Rhonda Starling, Margaret Neuman, Katrina Strathmann. Not pictured: Merritt Mitchell-Wajeeh and seasonal staff.
Margaret Neuman, Executive Director
Margaret has directed the activities of Mid-Columbia Fisheries since 2005. She is responsible for the financial management of the organization, as well as project development and implementation in the Klickitat, White Salmon and Wind River watersheds. Prior to moving to the Mid-Columbia region, she worked with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association.
Rebecca joined Mid-Columbia Fisheries in January of 2008. She is responsible for project development and implementation in the Yakima Basin, which encompasses most of Kittitas, Yakima and Benton counties. Rebecca brings six years of experience as a fisheries biologist with the USDA Forest Service to this position.
Rhonda joined Mid-Columbia Fisheries in 2012. Rhonda tracks all cash flows, billing, and lines of credit in addition to maintaining payroll.
Katrina has 15 years of experience managing ecological restoration projects in a variety of habitats, as well as an array of natural resources management including landscape-scale inventories, invasive plant management, native plant propagation, vegetation monitoring and rare plant management.
Cassandra joined Mid-Columbia Fisheries in 2011. Cassandra’s work is primarily focused on protecting and restoring ESA-listed bull trout populations in the Yakima Basin. She also coordinates the Salmon in the Classroom program in Kittitas County and implements habitat restoration projects.
Merritt received her B.S. in Anthropology and Zoology from the University of South Florida and completed a Masters of Science in Environmental Science and Education at Lesley College in Massachusetts. Merritt’s environmental career experience includes being a part of the opening team of The Florida Aquarium where she developed, marketed and implemented educational outreach programs for the public and then recruiting, training and managing its volunteer docent team, and as External Affairs Manager/Ombudsman for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Southwest District office in Tampa. She is excited to expand her work in Washington as a part of the MCFEG and its efforts restoring wild salmon and steelhead populations. She resides in Sunnyside, Washington, with her husband and two twin boys, where she also operates Heavenly Hills Harvest, a WSDA certified diversified organic farm.
Steven Balkenbush, Restoration Technician
Steven is the assistant restoration crew lead. This is his first season working with MCF. Steven received a Bachelor of Science in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management from the University of Wyoming in 2010. Steven has worked seasonally for the USFS in Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Great Basin Institute as a contractor for the BLM in Idaho and California. Most recently Steven worked for BFI Native Seeds, a restoration company in Moses Lake, WA.
Brandon Henson, Restoration Technician
Brandon earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology with an Ecology specialization from Central Washington University in 2016. In the summer of 2015 he had the opportunity to intern with Mid-Columbia Fisheries where he got experience in restoration field work and beaver trapping/relocation. He hopes to continue to work in the field of conservation biology to help make a difference on our world.
Mid-Columbia Fisheries also employs seasonal staff, AmeriCorps members through the Washington Conservation Corps, and Central Washington University students through work study and internships.