Meet our staff

Staff
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

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 Wassell

 

Rebecca Wassell, Yakima Basin Program Director

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 Starling
Rhonda Starling, Bookkeeper
Rhonda joined Mid-Columbia Fisheries in 2012. Rhonda tracks all cash flows, billing, and lines of credit in addition to maintaining payroll.

 
 
 

Katrina Strathmann
Katrina Strathmann, Project Manager & Plant Ecologist
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 Weekes
Cassandra Weekes, Wild Salmonid Recovery Coordinator
Cassandra joined Mid-Columbia Fisheries in 2011. Cassandra’s work is primarily focused on recovery coordination of ESA-listed bull trout populations in the Yakima Basin. Cassandra coordinates the Yakima Bull Trout Working Group, and is working with that group to revise and update the 2012 Yakima Bull Trout Action Plan. She also coordinates the Bull Trout Task Force Project and is working with partners to implement a bull trout eDNA assessment in the Upper Yakima Basin. In addition, Cassandra coordinates the Salmon in the Classroom program in Kittitas County and assists with habitat restoration projects.

 
 

Merritt Mitchell-Wajeeh
Merritt Mitchell-Wajeeh, Lower Yakima Project Manager
Merritt received her B.S. in Anthropology and Zoology from the University of South Florida and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Education at Lesley College in Massachusetts. Merritt’s career experience includes being part of the opening team of The Florida Aquarium where she developed, marketed and implemented educational outreach programs for the public, and as External Affairs Manager/Ombudsman for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She is excited to expand her work in Washington. She resides in Sunnyside with her husband and two twin boys, where she also operates Heavenly Hills Harvest, a WSDA certified diversified organic farm.
 
Landon Shaffer
, Restoration Crew Supervisor
Landon Shaffer graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and for the past two years he has worked for the Americorps affiliated Washington Conservation Corps as both a natural resource technician and assistant crew supervisor. During this time, Landon had the opportunity to work with a number of fisheries enhancement groups including Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Group, and the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe.
 
Riley Thorpe
, Restoration Technician
Riley spent the last two years working in Bellingham, WA with the Washington Conservation Corps. His crew focused on restoring, maintaining, and monitoring salmon habitat within the City of Bellingham and the Lake Whatcom Watershed. Riley plans on going to school after his seasonal term with the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group to continue pursuing a career in environmental sciences.
 
Brandon Baxter
, Restoration Technician
Brandon is a recent Central Washington University graduate who earned a degree in Environmental Geography with a specialization in Resource Management. His previous work with Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group includes being an intern in the summer of 2016 where he focused on beaver monitoring and project development. Brandon plans to continue his work in restoration management and maintenance after his seasonal position as a restoration crew member.

Ryan Lechleiter, Restoration Technician
Ryan graduated from the University of Redlands with a degree in Business Administration and Environmental Business. He previously volunteered at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge working on a vegetation study. Ryan plans to return to school to study Botany after his season of working with the MCF.

Mid-Columbia Fisheries also employs seasonal staff, AmeriCorps members through the Washington Conservation Corps, and Central Washington University students through work study and internships.