Who we are 

The Science Team at TU helps guide where and how the organization conducts its conservation efforts, collaborates on scientific projects with various state and federal agencies and partners, and also conducts original scientific research on trout conservation and conservation planning. We have a state-of-the-art technology center in Boise, Idaho, that supports much of our analytical work, including spatial modeling, other GIS work, and development of web-mapping applications. Our staff has skills ranging from fisheries and stream ecology to restoration ecology and genetics as well as geographic information systems and landscape planning.

How we work 

As one of the nation’s foremost aquatic conservation organizations, Trout Unlimited works hard to ensure that its efforts to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain coldwater fisheries and their watersheds are guided by the best available science. The Science Team works primarily in four areas:  conservation planning, restoration design and monitoring, conservation research, and science interpretation and technology transfer.

Conservation Planning. Our conservation planning efforts help to answer the question of where the best opportunities exist for TU’s conservation work.  To accomplish this, we use the best available information on fisheries resources, habitat conditions and future threats to identify priority areas for protection, reconnection, and restoration. This helps to ensure that TU’s place-based work achieves the greatest conservation benefit for the least cost.

Restoration Design and Monitoring. The Science Team works closely with TU’s Western Water Project and Watersheds program staff to address the how of restoration. The design of a successful restoration project requires a variety of skills and knowledge that must take into account the entire aquatic system as well as our target species. Monitoring is an important component of any restoration project because it allows us to track the effectiveness of our restoration work.

Conservation Research. Aquatic systems are complex and our understanding of how they function continues to evolve. Our research activities help inform our planning and restoration work to make sure that our efforts are consistent with the most current scientific knowledge of coldwater fisheries and their habitats.

Science Interpretation and Technology Transfer. An important aspect of our work is communicating our analyses and research in a meaningful way to a variety of audiences from our peers in the scientific community to resource managers, TU staff, volunteers and school kids.  We have a variety of citizen science tools to improve stream monitoring, climate change awareness, identification of aquatic invasive species, and other hazards to our stream systems.

Staff Contact 

Jack Williams is TU’s Senior Scientist and oversees TU’s science programs. Jack has worked for the Endangered Species Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fisheries program manager for the BLM, science advisor to the director of BLM, and forest supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service.  He has a Ph.D. in fisheries science from Oregon State University and has been with TU since 2005.

Matt Barney is a software developer responsible for the design and implementation of the Science Team’s databases and web applications. He has a B.S. in computer science from University of Idaho and 20 years of professional experience in software development. Matt has been with TU since 2008.

Sabrina Beus oversees the management of the Boise office, including budget and report tracking, document publishing and graphics. She also coordinates Trout in the Classroom for schools across southwestern Idaho. Sabrina has an associates degree in civil engineering technology from Idaho State University and has been with TU since 2008.

Dan Dauwalter is a fisheries scientist working on landscape- scale planning efforts and the design of restoration projects, particularly as they relate to climate change mitigation. Dan has a Ph.D. in fisheries science from Oklahoma State University and has been with TU since 2008.

Kurt Fesenmyer is a conservation planner and works on a variety of applications, particularly related to anadromous species and fine-scale assessments. Kurt has master’s degrees in forestry and environmental management from Duke University. He has been with TU since 2008.

Rene Henery is the California science director and also holds the position of Letter of Appointment Research Faculty at the University of Nevada-Reno. Rene works at applying cutting-edge science to the conservation of California’s aquatic systems and imperiled fishes. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis.

Dave Kumlien is the director of TU’s Aquatic Invasive Species program.  He has been working on this issue since 1994 when he helped found the Whirling Disease Foundation which merged into TU in 2007.

Matt Mayfield is a GIS analyst responsible for providing GIS support to many of TU’s conservation programs as well as development of customized web-mapping applications. He has a BS in geography from Appalachian State University and has been with TU since 2008.

Sean McFall is a Spatial Analyst that leverages his GIS, software and coding expertise to assist the Science team in their conservation planning, landscape analyses and web applications. He has a BS from the College of William & Mary in Biology and Environmental Science, and has been with TU since 2015. 

Helen Neville is a geneticist and works on the development and application of genetics tools to the conservation of native trout. She has a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Nevada-Reno and has been with TU since 2006.
Shawn Rummel is an ecologist working in conjunction with TU’s Eastern Abandoned Mine Program and the Science Team. His work focuses on eastern brook trout conservation issues and the restoration of coldwater systems from abandoned mine drainage. Shawn has a Ph.D. in ecology from the Pennsylvania State University.
Adjunct Team Members. The Science Team frequently supplements its expertise with TU staff from other program areas. Warren Colyer, Joe McGurrin and Cathy Purves are among the staff that regularly collaborate with the Science Team.


Author of this Page 

Jack Williams
Senior Scientist for Trout Unlimited

Risks to Fishing 
Aquatic Diseases
Chemical Pollution
Reduced Stream Flows
Climate Change
Invasive Species

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