AIS Advisory Committee Members
- Mary Alverson, Minneapolis
- Norman Baer, Maplewood
- Jim Boettcher, Chanhassen
- William "Pat" Brown, Red Lake
- Justine Dauphinais, Maple Grove
- Chris DuBose, North Branch
- Brian Gross, New York Mills
- Kate Hagsten, Cass Lake
- Roger Imdieke, New London
- Eric Johnson, Rainy Lake
- James A. Johnson, Dayton
- Holly Kalbus, Le Center
- Michaela Kofoed, Hutchinson
- Kelsey Taylor, Duluth
- Isaiah Tolo, St. Paul
- Ryan Wersal, PhD, Mankato
AIS Advisory Committee Ex-Officio Members
Committee member bios
Mary Alverson is a native Minnesotan, born in Duluth, Minnesota. She is truly an adventurer, traveling around the world both personally and professionally, serving as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. Mary has gone on to distinguish herself flying professionally as a flight instructor and Captain for New Mexico Airlines. She has earned her CFI, CFII, MEI ratings along with a single and multiengine sea class ratings. Mary is the CEO/Operator of a seaplane training company based in South St. Paul and Brainerd, MN.
- FAA Designated Examiner
- FAA FAAST Representative
- Secretary, Minnesota Pilots Association
- Field Director, Seaplane Pilots Association
- President, Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association
- ACE Camp Planning Committee Member
- MN Aviation Hall of Fame Planning Committee Member
- Vice President, Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association
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Norman Baer currently works for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). As the Vice President and President of the North Browns Lake Association he has been actively engaged in AIS education, awareness, and prevention efforts for over eight years as the association has sought to manage the presence of Curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus). Baer also has experience in the problems caused by presence of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) at Newman Lake, in Washington State. Baer received his B.S degree from Washington State University in Natural Resources and has a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University. Baer has taught at two mid-west universities, South Dakota State University and Bemidji State University. He has taught Ecology, Methods of Water Analysis, Soils, Plant Anatomy and Morphology, and General Chemistry.
Jim spent 32 years in the automotive industry, from driveline engineering positions with GM to transmission engineering and sales management roles with Ford Motor Company, retiring from Ford's Twin Cities regional office several years ago. He lived in several locations during his career, including St. Louis, Detroit, Orlando, Memphis and Minneapolis. He became involved with AIS and water management issues in the mid-80's, fighting the introduction of grass carp into Missouri lakes and ponds. While living in Detroit in 1991, he joined in the effort to prevent the spread of zebra mussels to inland lakes, working in conjunction with the Michigan DNR and BASS Federation. This included some of the first monitoring and detection efforts in the nation to track and slow the spread of zebra mussels. While living in Orlando, he was part of a group dedicated to the removal of grass carp from the Harris Chain of Lakes, resulting in marked improvements in water clarity and fish populations. He is currently a member of the Chanhassen Parks and Recreation Commission, the Carver County Park Commission, the Carver County Water Management Organization Advisory Committee and the Riley/Purgatory/Bluff Creek Watershed District Advisory Committee. He volunteers regularly in carp electrofishing surveys and invasive plant monitoring studies on the lakes in the Watershed District. He enjoys spending time on the lakes of Minnesota doing his three favorite things: bass fishing, bass fishing and bass fishing. He enjoys being able to add his past experiences to the knowledge base of the SAISAC.
William "Pat" Brown
William “Pat” Brown, Fisheries Director for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, has spent the last 3 decades working in and around the Fisheries Discipline. He started working as a summer intern for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in Ashland WI while attending Northland College in 1990. During the next 7 years he worked as an intern, graduate student, and term employee with the Ashland office and worked in the Duluth Superior Harbor and tributaries along the south shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin and Michigan. He received a Bachelor’s of Science from Northland College in 1992 and his Masters of Science from the University of MN-Duluth in1997. His thesis work focused on the “Reproduction and Early Life history of Ruffe in the Duluth Superior Harbor”. In 1997, he accepted a position with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians where he is currently employed today. Noticeable accomplishments since being at Red Lake include: cooperatively restoring the walleye and lake sturgeon populations of the Red Lakes. When not working, he enjoys spending time outdoors in the Bemidji area with his family and is active in Scouting to share his love of the outdoors with the next generation.
Justine Dauphinais, Water Quality Coordinator for the Coon Creek Watershed District, has spent the last decade working on AIS-related issues. Her introduction to the field was a summer job as a commercial aquatic herbicide applicator while studying environmental science at Gustavus Adolphus College. This experience led her to pursue a Master's of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Biology at the University of Minnesota, where she studied invasive carp under Dr. Peter Sorensen. After earning her M. Sc. degree in 2014, Justine was hired as a research fellow at the newly formed MN Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center where she worked on applied common carp research and management. Justine recently took a position as a water resources manager for a metro watershed district and also serves as the AIS committee chair for her local lake association, the Fish Lake Area Residents Association of Maple Grove. In her spare time, Justine enjoys spending time on the water with her husband boating and fishing around the metro and in the Grand Rapids area. Given her variety of experiences as a lake service provider, AIS researcher, lake association volunteer, and local government staff member, Justine is excited to work towards finding solutions to AIS issues at the state level.
Chris was recently elected as a Chisago County Commissioner but has been active in local politics, service organizations, and water resource committees for over 20 years. He has always been interested in water as a lake and riverfront resident, floatplane pilot, and active boater on local waterways. He has been on the Lake Improvement District, Water Plan Policy Team, and was president of the Chisago Lakes Restoration Association, which helped restore the connections on the Chisago/Lindstrom/Center chain of lakes with navigable channels and bridges. He is currently serving on the One Watershed One Plan for the Lower St. Croix River Watershed. He knows firsthand some of the impacts of recent aquatic invasive species and wants to continue to be active doing what we can to control invasives and prevent further spread.
New York Mills
Brian Gross is the VP of Product Development for the Aluminum Fish Group for Brunswick Corporation, overseeing the specific design and development for Lund, Crestliner & Lowe aluminum fishing and recreational boats & pontoons. He has been with the company for just over 2 years and looks forward to designing products to better address AIS. As boat manufacturers, Lund, Crestliner and Lowe are always working to reduce the transport of AIS through new product design and development. They want to be great stewards of the lakes and water systems and look forward to finding solutions to reducing and or eliminating the transport of AIS. Brian and his family live south of Detroit Lakes and enjoy spending time on the many lakes around the area.
Kate Hagsten is the Plant Program Director for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Kate oversees terrestrial and aquatic invasive species control throughout the Reservation. This includes not just tribal land but also the four counties, USFS, MNDNR and privately owned land that fall within the boundary of the Reservation. Her background is in Anthropology with emphasis and degrees in Biology, GIS, Wilderness Management/Civilization, and Business Administration.
Roger has served on the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners since 2012. He has served as the county AIS committee chair since the committee was formed. In addition to the AIS committee, Roger has served on the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and currently serves as AMC District 6 chair and represents District 6 on the state board of directors of AMC.
Eric is an outdoor enthusiast, advocate for conservation of public waters, the owner of multiple water-based businesses, and a life-long resident of Northern Minnesota. As owner and operator of a full service outfitter in and around Voyageurs National Park, Eric has been providing lake service for over ten years. Eric holds a U.S. Coast Guard issued 50-ton Captain's License and Tankerman's Credential which are required to operate the vessel that delivers fuels to cabins and resorts on both sides of the US-Canadian border on the Coast Guard governed waters of Rainy Lake. Also employed by the National Park Service, Eric occasionally captains the "Voyageur", a 49-passenger tour boat in Voyageurs National Park. He is involved with several non-profit organizations across the state, so Eric devotes significant time to community development and land and water conservation efforts. In his spare time Eric enjoys spending time on the water fishing, boating, socializing, and taking part in the splendor of Voyageurs National Park and Rainy Lake.
James A. Johnson
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Over the past 25 years, James has worked as a lakes researcher and manager with the Wisconsin DNR, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Three Rivers Park District, and University of Minnesota. In the mid 2000s, he started his own consulting company, where he continues to work with cities, watershed organizations, and citizen lake groups to protect and improve their waters. His past work has included evaluating lake-wide control strategies for curlyleaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil, researching the effects of invasive carp on wild rice and other aquatic plants, evaluating and improving methods for monitoring aquatic plant communities, and testing methods for promoting the reestablishment of native plants in lakes after disturbance.
Holly Kalbus, Environmental Resources Specialist for Le Sueur County, has spent the past 3 years working on water resources/AIS-related issues.She earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Wildlife Ecology & Biology. Her first AIS work experience with AIS was as a summer Shallow Lakes Intern with the MN DNR, where she sampled and collected aquatic vegetation, wildlife, and water quality data for numerous southern Minnesota shallow lakes. Since graduating college, she has lived in Colorado and Minnesota where she pursued careers that involved wildlife, habitat, and water management efforts. In her current position, she works with AIS, water resources, and shoreland programs. AIS activities that she’s actively involved with include: speaking at events and meetings, educating stakeholders, aquatic vegetation and common carp research/management, applying for grants, implementing the county watercraft inspection program, and creating AIS awareness. In her free time, she enjoys camping, fishing, bird watching, hunting, hiking, and canoeing. Within the last few years, she has developed a deep passion for canoeing/camping trips on different rivers throughout the US.
Born and raised in Minnesota, and loving everything lake-life, Michaela has a passion for bass fishing that started at her grandparents’ cabin at the age of 13. This allowed for many adventures fishing as a youth, in college, and in adult tournaments across the state and country. Traveling has given her exposure to many different lakes; natural to manmade, reservoirs, to rivers, lakes and the impact of AIS. To make cleaning weeds off her trailer easier, quicker, and more effective, she and her husband created a tool that makes weed removal efficient and more effective. She is also a Lean Leader at 3M in Hutchinson. As a young angler with a can-do problem-solving attitude, she provides a unique perspective on how we can help protect our lakes for generations to come.
Kelsey Taylor, Duluth
Kelsey Taylor is currently the Invasive Species Coordinator for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Kelsey covers both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species and focuses on prevention efforts, early detection and surveillance, control, monitoring, and education. Kelsey is also a part of several other AIS awareness efforts including being involved in an invasive Phragmites workgroup in the Duluth area, participating in a boat decontaminations at tournaments and public landings, participating in educational efforts with Minnesota Sea Grant, and hosting the travelling "We are Water MN" exhibit in spring of 2019. Before starting with Fond du Lac, Kelsey worked with the 1854 Treaty Authority as an invasive species technician, focusing mainly on the early detection of new aquatic invasive species such as rusty crayfish, spiny water flea, zebra mussels, invasive vegetation, Chinese mystery snail, invasive fishes and others in the 1854 Ceded Territory. She also collaborated with other 1854 staff and partnering organizations to study the effects of rusty crayfish on wild rice. Kelsey received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of MN-Twin Cities in Biology. During college Kelsey worked for the Sea Life MN aquarium caretaking for animals and in Shepherd laboratories where she studies the growth of the deep sea bacteria Thiomargarita namibiensis. She then worked for the Conservation Corps and Three Rivers Park District aiding the forestry department with projects ranging from forestry thinning, to invasive species control, to mapping, to planting. Given her variety of experiences with both aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, Kelsey is excited to be a part of innovation invasive species management and coordination at a state wide level.
Isaiah Tolo is a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota. He studies pathogens of invasive carp at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. Currently, his work focuses on evaluating carp-specific viruses for their potential value as biocontrol agents of invasive carp. Isaiah has earned a BS in Biology, an MS in Microbiology, and is working towards his Ph.D. in Conservation Sciences in Fisheries and Aquatic Biology in 2021.
Ryan M. Wersal, PhD
Ryan is a native of Minnesota where he received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Biology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He moved to Mississippi in 2004 and received his PhD in Weed Science in 2010. While at Mississippi State University he took part in many research projects across the country on all aspects of aquatic plant ecology and management. After Mississippi State University Dr. Wersal accepted an Aquatic Plant Scientist position in Alpharetta, GA, where he oversaw the global research and development projects with respect to aquatic herbicides and algaecides. Currently, Dr. Wersal is an assistant professor of aquatic plant ecology at Minnesota State University where he teaches General Ecology, Lake Ecology, Wetlands, and Weed Science. His research focuses on invasive aquatic plant management, native plant impacts from management, aquatic plant ecology, and aquatic plant sampling techniques. He has worked on aquatic plant projects across the country with many different collaborators. Outside of his University duties, he is currently the Vice-President for the Aquatic Plant Management Society, an Associate Editor for the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management and Invasive Plant Science and Management, and serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Freshwater Ecology. He also serves on many committees for both the Aquatic Plant Management Society and the Weed Science Society of America.
AIS Advisory Committee Ex-Officio Members
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Doug Jensen is the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program in Duluth. He has over 20 years of experience working on AIS issues, and is considered a national expert on the biology, ecology, and impacts of aquatic invasive species. With specialized experience in public communications, human behavioral science, environmental education and program evaluation, Jensen brings an outcomes-based approach to AIS outreach. He played an integral role in establishing the national campaigns for Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!, a behavior intervention campaign aimed at preventing AIS spread by boaters and anglers, and Habitattitude, designed to educate aquarists and water gardeners to prevent the release of aquarium fish and plants into waters of the state. He has participated in numerous DNR-hosted AIS stakeholder meetings, and holds leadership positions for many national and local AIS organizations including: the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council, the National Invasive Species Council, the Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, and the Great Lakes Panel on ANS. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Great Lakes Aquarium. Jensen has an M.S. in Education and a B.S. in biology and from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in Duluth where he enjoys boating and year-round fishing.
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218-232-0883 - mobile
Nicole Lalum is the northwest and central region manager for Explore Minnesota Tourism. As part of the state tourism agency, she is dedicated to making sure visitors to our state understand our regulations and the ways they contribute to the conservation of our outdoor recreational heritage. Serving as a resource to tourism industry partners, she communicates regularly with resorts, guides and other service providers. Lalum enjoys exploring Minnesota with her family and spending time on the many lakes near her home in New York Mills.
Amy McGovern is the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest Region covering the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes. The Region's AIS Program consists of a comprehensive Risk Assessment Program, Great Lakes Early Detection Program, Asian Carp Program, Financial Assistance Program, and Great Lakes Sea Lamprey Control Program. Amy brings expertise from an interdisciplinary perspective and enjoys collaborating with other federal and state agencies and in cooperation with tribes, private industry, academia and others to prevent the establishment and spread of aquatic invasive species. The Regional AIS Program is part of the Midwest regional Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Dr. Nick Phelps is the Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC). MAISRC is a collaborative and innovative program that brings together researchers, managers and stakeholders to identify research priorities, conduct research and inform decision-making and management for AIS in the Great Lakes region. In addition, Nick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota. His research group focuses on emerging threats to the health and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems, which lie at the intersection of humans, animals and the environment. This has included discovery and diagnostic development for emerging pathogens, environmental suitability and network modeling to predict invasions, risk assessment to prioritize management efforts, provided workshops and evaluation of AIS-HACCP strategies for aquaculture producers, etc. Nick has earned a BS in Aquatic Biology, an MS in Aquaculture/Fisheries and a PhD in Veterinary Medicine.