Organizing Committee, International Co-Chairs, and Advisory Board

Organizing Committee

Patrick Eagan, Co-chair
Patrick is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Engineering Professional Development and is co-appointed in the Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies through which he develops and offers continuing environmental engineering education to practicing professionals and sustainability education credit courses. He currently chairs the Environment and Resources program in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and is an Education Fellow in the Campus Office of Sustainability.
Austin Polebitski, Co-chair
Austin is an Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts. His research focuses on hydrological prediction and water resources management, with specific interests in the use of forecasts in operations, hydrological prediction at ungaged basins, and linking climate forecasts to natural resources decision making. He served as a conference coordinator and organizing committee member for the Fish Passage 2012 conference.
David Ahlfeld
David is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research interests include groundwater flow and contaminant transport and adaptation of water resource systems to a changing climate.
Ted Castro-Santos
Ted is a research ecologist with the USGS, S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center. He has been working on issues of fish passage for more than twenty years, and focuses on adapting and developing novel telemetry technologies and statistical methods in order to improve understanding of fishway performance as well as the underlying mechanisms that determine performance. Related interests and research topics include biomechanics, locomotion, modeling, and movement theory.
Matthew Diebel
Matt is an aquatic ecologist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His research focuses on evaluating biological responses to human influences on aquatic ecosystems, including connectivity, nutrients, and hydrologic alteration.
Sandy Krentz
Sandy Krentz has over 14 years experience with student support and conference planning at the University of Wisconsin. She has worked on a wide variety of non-credit courses including “Dam Removal” with Professor Pat Eagan. Sandy also provides program support for an online master’s degree program with Engineering Professional Development.
Louise Mauldin
Louise Mauldin is a fishery biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in La Crosse, WI. Louise works with a host of federal, state and local partners to remove and modify barriers to restore hydrology and reconnect fragmented habitats for native fish and mussel species in the Upper Mississippi River and Red River basins in the states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Louise has a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology and a M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Iowa State University.
Kevin Mulligan
Kevin is a Hydro Research Foundation (HRF) Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Department of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. Kevin received his M.S. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying hydrology, water resources management, and fish passage. His current work focuses on improvements to floating surface guidance systems for downstream fish passage at hydroelectric facilities. He served on the Organizing Committee and Coordination Team for the Fish Passage 2013 conference.
Joseph Rathbun
Joe is an Environmental Scientist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. His research interests include nonpoint source pollution monitoring, water and sediment chemical and toxicological studies, stream restoration projects, geomorphic and ecological aspects of dam removals and whitewater parks, and freshwater mussel surveys and relocations.
Nick Schmal
Nick is a fishery biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Regional Office located in Milwaukee, WI. Nick is the Hydropower Assistance Team Leader and Fish and Aquatic Ecology Program Leader for the 20 state Eastern Region. Nick actively participates on Steering Committees for Fish Habitat Partnerships and the Executive Committee for the Mississippi River Basin Aquatic Nuisance Species Regional Panel. Nick coordinates the agencies aquatic organism passage programs with engineering and watershed staffs at the regional and national levels. He also coordinates formal week long workshops designing aquatic organism passage at road-stream crossings using the stream simulation methodology. Nick received a B.S. in Water Resources in 1972, and a M.S. in Natural Resources (fishery emphasis) in 1978, from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens. He received his PhD. from the University of Wyoming, Department of Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management in 2000.

International Conference Co-Chairs

Herman Wanningen, Europe
Herman is a Dutch aquatic ecologist with more than 15 years experience. He has worked for regional water authorities on river and lake restoration projects. In 2007 Herman started Wanningen Water Consult. He develops fish migration visions and policies and gives advice on implementing different types of fishway techniques. He gives advice on national and international fish passage and river connectivity projects. Recently he started working on a fish passage project at the Iron Gate in the Danube river (Romania). He organizes conferences, network meetings and is founder of the World Fish Migration Network and Fish Ecology Network on LINKEDin. Herman initiated and coordinated the European guidance on fish migration "From sea to source" (2006) which was also translated into Chinese in 2011. Herman is coordinator and co-author of the worldwide guidance “From sea to source, International guidance for the restoration of fish migration highways” which was published in 2012. For more information see
Hersília Santos, South America
Hersília is professor at Civil Engineering Department of Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica de Minas Gerais (Brazil) since 2007. Her scientific expertise are on ecohydraulic issues, acting on fish passages models (numerical and scale models); fish swimming capability (voluntary and non-voluntary tests); river models (2D and 3D numerical models) and fish habitat suitability.

Advisory Board

Amy Singler, Chair
Amy works for American Rivers' River Restoration Program and The Nature Conservancy's Connecticut River Program managing dam removal projects and promoting efforts to improve river restoration in New England. She also leads regional efforts for both programs on culvert and stream crossing policy and implementation. Amy has a M.S. in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a B.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Rochester.
Cathy Bozek
Cathy is an aquatic ecologist at The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. Her work focuses on dam removal projects, green infrastructure and stormwater management, and partnership-based watershed restoration. Cathy has a M.S. in Water Resource Management from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in Geology from Colgate University.
Dale Buser
Dale has spent 30+ years developing solutions to water and natural resource concerns. His fishery interests predate this, being a multigenerational native of a former Great Lakes fishing port where he was employed by the commercial fishing industry. Dale is particularly interested in enhancing longitudinal and lateral connectivity restoring full life cycle access to residual habitat benefitting native weak swimmers. He has completed dozens of inventory and construction projects with this as a core theme. He also works on water quality, dam management, stream morphology, groundwater/surface-water interaction, contaminant fate and transport, and aquatic and riparian habitat enhancement and restoration projects. Dale is a licensed professional hydrologist and engineer, holds a BS Hydrology from the University of Arizona and an MS Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and acts as Water Resource Team Leader for Stantec in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Michael Chelminski
Michael is a member of the ASCE-EWRI/AFS-BES Joint Committee on Fisheries Engineering and Science and a professional engineer with expertise in fisheries habitat restoration, including assessment, scoping, evaluation, and design of fish passage and habitat restoration projects in the United States and Canada. The current focus of his work is decommissioning of legacy infrastructure (i.e., dam removal) as a means to improve access for indigenous fish to their historic habitats. He has an MS in engineering from Utah State University and a BS in engineering from the University of Connecticut, is a fisherman, and an environmental consultant at Stantec Consulting Services Inc. in Topsham, Maine.
Margaret Lang
Margaret is a Professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Her research focuses on the engineering design and effectiveness of river restoration, and laboratory and field studies of fish passage structures.
Leah Mahan
Leah is a Marine Resource Habitat Specialist for the NOAA Restoration Center in Arcata, CA. Leah works with a host of federal, state and local partners to fund, implement and monitor fish passage projects for salmon and steelhead throughout California. Leah has a B.S in Ecology and a M.S. in Botany form California State University, Chico, and has worked in her position at the NOAA Restoration Center for the past 14 years.
Marty Melchior
Marty is Regional Director at Inter-Fluve and is based in Madison, WI. Marty has over 15 years of professional experience in designing and managing a wide variety of dam removal and river restoration projects around the country. His fish passage project experience includes culvert replacement and retrofitting, natural fishway design, post-dam removal channel restoration and invasive fish barrier design. Marty’s interests include forensic fluvial geomorphology, natural channel design, floodplain restoration, bioengineering, ravine and bluff stabilization, cranberry bog restoration, fish habitat reclamation and the dynamics and design of large wood in rivers.
Tim Osting
Tim is a water resources engineer with public and private experience collaborating with biologists and scientists on environmental flows, aquatic and riparian habitat, water quality and modeling projects. He specializes in effectively linking field and modeling studies to quantify site-specific variables, and he has developed water quality, H&H and morphology approaches for regional agencies evaluating instream flows conditions on water permits. Tim has a M.S.E. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and is a Senior Consultant/Managing Engineer with RPS Espey in Austin, TX.
Craig Paukert
Craig is the Unit Leader of the US Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and is Cooperative Associate Professor at the University of Missouri. He has been working on applied issues related to stream and river fishes for 15 years, including fish passage of Midwestern stream fishes. His other research efforts focus on conservation planning at large spatial scales, effects of climate change on river and stream biota, and restoration and management of large river biota. Craig received his B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Minnesota in 1993, his M.S. in Fisheries Ecology from Oklahoma State University in 1998, and a PhD in Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University in 2001.
Samuel Prentice
Sam is a watershed project manager for Huron Pines, a non-profit organization that works to conserve the forests, lakes and streams of Northeast Michigan that specializes in implementing watershed-scale restoration projects. Sam joined the Huron Pines team in 2012 after receiving a B.S. in Biosystems Engineering from Michigan State University. This position gives him the unique perspective of working with public agency partners as well as local community members to implement several fish passage projects including road/stream crossing improvements and dam removal. With a desire to continue this meaningful work, he is looking forward to increasing his technical knowledge of stream ecology and river restoration to better protect and sustain our critical aquatic systems.
Nick Utrup
Nick is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, currently stationed in Bloomington, MN. Nick uses his hydropower experience and fisheries background to develop productive partnerships for the purpose of establishing appropriate and effective hydropower license terms and conditions, which includes fish passage in some cases. Nick currently participates in several Implementation and Technical Advisory Teams working on fish passage issues, including the Menominee River Fish Passage Partnership in the Lake Michigan Basin and the Prairie Du Sac Fish Passage Project on the Wisconsin River. Nick is currently working with partners on groundbreaking work to design passage facilities for sturgeon and paddlefish in the Midwest while also working under the constraints and challenges of invasive species and disease. Nick received a B.S. in Zoology from The Ohio State University in 2002 and an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology from Oklahoma State University in 2005.
Larry Weber
Dr. Larry Weber is a Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa, the Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics, and the Director of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. He is co-founder of the Iowa Flood Center and was instrumental in the establishment of the Iowa Nutrient Center. His research expertise includes fish passage facilities, physical modeling, river hydraulics, hydropower, computational hydraulics, and ice mechanics. Most of his current research activities focus on the measurement and computational modeling of water quantity (i.e. flooding) and quality (sediments and fate and transport of nutrients) at the watershed scale.
Marcin Whitman
Marcin started his career in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, consulting to the offshore oil industry and the Department of Defense but soon felt he could make a more meaningful contribution working on the interface between fisheries and engineering. After getting his graduate degree, he started the engineering department for the Southwest Region of NMFS where he worked for nearly 10 years with some international consulting interspersed. Since mid-1998 he has been the coastal engineer for CDFG, specializing in salmonid fish passage but often finding himself drawn into issues of fluvial geomorphology. Marcin holds degrees in Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering, Aquaculture Engineering and Marine Biology He is also a member of the American Fisheries Society ( past President of Bio-Engineering Section) and ASCE( Charter Chairman of AFS-ASCE Joint Committee). Has served on various technical committees for professional organizations and authored papers for same. Current emphasis of practice includes dam removal, passage at road crossings, flood control channels and fish ladders.
Nate Winkler
Nate's lifelong connection to the rivers and woods of northern lower Michigan inspired the pursuit of a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Management which he obtained from Lake Superior State University. Working for CRA fulfills his sense of obligation to serve the resources that nurtured him as a child. In addition, it allows him to make a living performing relevant and important work in conservation with equally committed and enthusiastic co-workers. Next to spending time with his children, Max and Brook, Nate's interests include trout fishing, canoe-racing and deer hunting.