AIS Advisory Committee Members

AIS Advisory Committee Members

AIS Advisory Committee Ex-Officio Members


Committee member bios

Shelley Binsfeld
Elk River
[email protected]

Shelly Binsfeld relishes nature on the trail and water as an avid runner and kayaker. Her lake home refreshes her soul. The closeness of nature has led Shelly to dive into learning about the aquatic habitat within her lake and volunteer as an AIS Detector and Orono Lake Association. In 2020 Shelly was elected to the Sherburne SWCD board, serving on the AIS and One Watershed One Plan committees. Shelly is also the owner of Rock Leaf Water Environmental, an emergency response and natural resource service company. She is a BWSR Wetland Professional In-Training.

Charlie Brandt
Elk River
[email protected]
612-718-7019

I’m a lifelong angler, hunter and advocate for science-based management of our natural resources. This is rooted in my dad & grandpa making me their fishing partner, and taking me along in their pursuits as a child.  Over the years, I’ve been an active member of MN Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA), BWCAW Coalition and others.  I have an AAS degree in business management, and have worked in boat dealership sales most of my life.  Fishing boats are my livelihood.  I’m knowledgeable in marine rigging and setup, plumbing, trailers, etc. and am intimately aware of the complex nature of AIS prevention on these rigs.  A long-time bass tournament angler in the upper Midwest, my passion is for big open-water smallmouth.  I’m fortunate that my wife also loves being outside, and we travel together as much as possible.  Come fall our priorities become chasing elk, deer and antelope out West, often with our son in the backpack.        

William "Pat" Brown
Red Lake
[email protected]

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.

Chris DuBose
North Branch

[email protected]

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.

Beto Garcia
Roseville
[email protected]
651-261-2072

Beto Garcia brings to the board a 30 year career in hydrogeology and environmental consulting at prominant local engineering companies. His professional qualifications include having been a licensed Professional Geologist, Monitoring Well Contractor, and lake services provider. He is a licensed Coast Guard captain, and an avid racing sailor, fisherman, and power boater with decades of experience on inland lakes and rivers across Minnesota including Lake Superior. Mr. Garcia is also a lakefront owner, a member of the Lake Owasso Lake Association, and active member of several yacht clubs. His educational background includes a BA in Geology from Macalester College, post-graduate coursework at Macalester and the UofM, and a year-long internship at the Minnesota DNR Division of Waters. Mr. Garcia is currently an IT Systems Engineer and BioBase Mapping Ambassador involved in mapping aquatic vegetation and assisting on work to update the Twin Cities Fishing Guide.

Kate Hagsten
Cass Lake

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.

Holly Kalbus
Le Center

[email protected]
507-357-8540

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.

Michaela Kofoed
Hutchinson

[email protected]ok.com

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.

Chris Magnotto
Rochester
[email protected]

507-254-1291

My interest in working with the AISAC revolves around my enduring interest in sustaining and, where possible, improving on the water resources we enjoy as Minnesotans. My professional background is in electronics and appliance distribution, manufacturing and marketing. My current recreational interests on water include paddle sports, specifically kayaks, surf skis and standup paddle boards. I am member of the American Forestry Foundation and advocate for sustainable and biodiverse forests and waterfronts. Having come of age in Minnesota Lakes Country I’ve enjoyed the gamut of activities ranging from waterfowl hunting to waterskiing. Recognizing the challenges faced by Minnesota’s wetlands and watersheds compels my interest in making what contributions I might in improving the great gift of Minnesota’s waters. Our primary residence in Rochester, MN. Our lake cabin is in Lake Park, MN.

Miss KoriiRay Northrup

Miss KoriiRay Northrup is an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa whose background mostly entails grassroots efforts to preserve water, defend land, and spread awareness about Indigenous issues. From sharing personal poetry about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic on the Capitol steps to reseeding  efforts of wild rice after the Kalamazoo oil spill in Michigan, Miss Northrup has worked tirelessly to speak indigenously on many different resource extraction issues such as mining, pipelines, invasive species, and emergency response efforts across the Great Lakes. She brings ancestral knowledge and a passion to restore the environment and protect precious resources like wild rice and wetlands subsequently improving water integrity for future generations to be sustained without the threat of invasive species. Her commitment to her people drives her to continually educate herself and others about a shared sustainable future free from the pollusive bonds of industrialism.

Mike Sorensen
Robbinsdale
[email protected]

Mike Sorensen is the Water Resources Specialist for the City of Robbinsdale. Mike developed an interest in lake ecology while growing up in Detroit Lakes. He received his B.A. in Environmental Science from University of Minnesota Morris and his M.S. in Water Resources Science from University of Minnesota Duluth. As a graduate student, Mike’s thesis research involved characterizing the dissolved oxygen requirements of the spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus). Mike worked as Program Assistant at Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District from 2016-2018 and worked as Aquatic Invasive Species Program Administrator at Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board from 2018-April 2022. Mike has experience overseeing a wide variety of AIS prevention, early detection, rapid response, and management activities. Mike lives in Eden Prairie and enjoys exploring the area’s parks, trails, and waterbodies with his wife and son.

Maggie Stahley
St. Paul
[email protected]
651-472-2739

Granddaughter of Minnesota fishing legend “The Griz,” Maggie follows in his footsteps with a lifelong passion for fishing. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Biology and Spanish degree with an emphasis on fisheries. She worked in the Mensinger Lab at UMD that focuses on how fish detect, integrate and respond to external cues in the environment, as well as anthropogenic effects on the soundscapes of bodies of water. Since then, she’s spent time volunteering for groups like Save the Boundary Waters and worked with Carp Solutions eliminating invasive common carp populations around the Midwest using box nets and electrofishing techniques. She has also spent time doing research at Gerace Research Centre in the Bahamas and at Friday Harbor Labs in Washington. She spends her free time trout fishing, hunting, surfing, camping, swimming, and spending time with her pug.

Ryan M. Wersal, PhD
Mankato

[email protected]

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

Nicole Lalum
Brainerd

[email protected]
218-316-3330 - office
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
[email protected]

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.

Nick Phelps
St. Paul

[email protected]
612-624-7450

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.