T.J. DeBates, Supervisor
T.J. came back to the metro area after a brief stint as area supervisor in Waterville, Minnesota. A native of Stewartville, Mn., T.J. has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska (he was on the football team) and a masters degree from South Dakota State University. Mr. Debates started his career as a fisheries specialist in the west metro office, then moved to the FiN program in east metro before being promoted to the area specialist position in Waterville.
Jeff Gorton, Assistant Area Supervisor
Jeff is a 40+ year veteran of the section of fisheries and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He started with the then Department of Conservation in 1969 as a summer intern while a student at the University of Minnesota. During Jeff's career, he has worked at Grand Marais, Aitkin, Ortonville, Brainerd and Montrose before moving to the East Metro Area Fisheries in 1976.
In addition to serving as assistant area manager, Jeff's primary duties include developing and conducting angler creel surveys in the area, coordination of inter-area activities, liaison to commercial fisherman and licensed fish farmers, coordinating special sampling on experimental and special regulation lakes, as well as filling in when needed on other area projects.
Donn Schrader, Hatchery Supervisor
Donn started with the DNR as a creel clerk. He has worked as a field technician in the metro area and as a hatchery technician in Lanesboro, MN before being appointed hatchery supervisor at the St. Paul Hatchery. Donn's duties include overseeing the hatching and distribution of walleye fry, the hatching and rearing of muskellunge and hybrid muskie, as well as the rearing of channel catfish. In addition to his hatchery duties, Donn is responsible for the preparation and operation of the state fair fish exhibit, one of the most popular exhibits at the annual event. Donn has a fisheries degree from the University of Minnesota.
Leah Weyandt, Fisheries Specialist
Leah is a native of Watertown, Minnesota and a graduate of St. Cloud State University. Leah also has a M.S. from Nova Southeastern University in Marine Biology. Ms. Weyandt came to the east metro staff from the Fishing in the Neighborhood program at the west metro office. Leah is the primary field specialist in our office, and conducts most of the lake survey and assessments in our area. Leah will likely be responsible for monitoring winter oxygen levels in east metro lakes this winter, also.
Joel Stiras, Fisheries Specialist
Joel grew up in Brooklyn Park and obtained a degree from Bemidji State University. While in college, Joel worked as an intern at the fisheries office in Walker, Mn. After graduation, Joel gained fisheries management experience in Florida, Indiana and North Carolina before returning to Minnesota as a member of the Central Region Aquatic Plant Management staff. Joel is responsible for monitoring the fish populations of the area's major rivers and assisting in operation of the cool water hatchery.
Jim Levitt, Fisheries Specialist
Jim Levitt is the Senior FiN Fisheries Specialist at the East Metro Fisheries office. Jim has been an avid fisherman and outdoor enthusiast all his life and enjoys spending time fishing local lakes, hiking, camping and photographing nature. A native of Michigan, Jim has a bachelors degree from Superior State University and a masters degree from the U of M.
Tim Ohman,Fisheries Specialist Tim is an associate in the Fishing in the Neighborhood program in the east metro area. A marine veteran, Tim grew up in Wyoming, Minnesota, and has been fascinated by fish and fishing his whole life. A 2002 graduate of Texas A & M University, Tim began his DNR career as a temporary employee in the Bemidji office assisting in the large lake program on Cass Lake and Upper Red Lake. Prior to transferring to the east metro FiN staff, Tim worked in the Central Region Aquatic Plant Management program.