The BREN Coordinating Team has 13 members representing diverse stakeholder groups from development, agriculture, advocacy, recreation, state agencies, environmental consulting, flood control, among others. The Coordinating Team, elected directly by the BREN membership, is delegated the authority to act on behalf of the Boise River Enhancement Network.
Elections are held annually and each CT member is elected to a 2-year term.
Welcome new 2016-17 BREN Coordinating Team members: Phil Bandy, Tamsen Binggeli, Erin Brooks, Whitney Byrd, Kati Carberry, Bill Carr, Tom “Chel” Chelstrom, Mike Dimmick, Megan Dixon, Mike Homza, Christy Meyer, Liz Paul, and Julie Scanlin.
Thank you to our past Coordinating Team members: Tim Breuer, Alex Johnson, Doug Fowler, Gary Grimm, LeeAnn Garton, Michael McConnell, Derek Risso, Mike Somerville, Alan Winkle, and Becky Yzaguirre.
2016-17 BREN Coordinating Team
The Boise River is a treasure for me and my family. As a young man I explored the riverbanks when they were mostly unimproved and the river itself still functioned as a “working” river. Over the past 45+ years I have seen the river transformed from its former state to a significant recreational, social, and cultural component of Boise and the Treasure Valley. I would like to do my part to maintain, enhance, and perpetuate this important amenity of our community.
I intend to support BREN by applying the leadership, management, communication, analytical, and organizational skills I have developed through my academic and career experiences. I hold a Master of Public Administration degree (MPA) with an emphasis on Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, as well as a Master of Science degree in Geology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences. I worked for the State of Idaho for over 17 years in several natural resources agencies (Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, INEL Oversight, Office of Species Conservation, and Idaho State Department of Agriculture). My primary focus while working for the State was nonpoint source pollution of ground and surface waters and watershed protection.
I have direct experience with policies affecting the river from my tenure as Mayor, Councilman, and Commissioner for the City of Eagle. During my seven years with the City, I lead many short and long term strategic planning efforts in a complex economic and natural resource environment. I served during challenging times of rapid development along the Boise River and proposed development in the foothills above the city.
I currently work as a Project Manager / Senior Scientist for Forsgren Associates, Inc. providing technical expertise and support to internal and external clients across the west. My efforts are focused on federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as state and local regulations as they apply to natural resource projects. I have over 25 years of experience in environmental and natural resources projects, including information management and technology, outreach and education, project and program management, regulation, and administration. I am skilled in interpersonal communications, problem solving, and collaboration.
I plan to use the knowledge I have gained through these experiences and efforts to support BREN’s goal to enrich the Valley’s quality of life.
I currently serve as the Chairperson of the Boise River Enhancement Network (BREN) Coordinating Team and have been involved with BREN for over 5 years. I am passionate about the Boise River and finding opportunities for enhancement through collaborative action. As the Chair, I’ve worked to guide planning efforts, facilitate meetings, perform outreach and work cooperatively with stakeholders. I also helped research and write the Boise River Enhancement Plan. I currently work as an Ecologist for Ecosystem Sciences in downtown Boise. I have a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho and have experience working in a variety of ecological systems, with a focus on riverine‐riparian and wetland ecology. I am dedicated to BREN’s mission and am looking forward to working with the BREN Coordinating Team in whatever capacity I can.
I work for the Natural Resources Conservation Service which is an agency under the Department of Agriculture. I am a soil conservationist in the Caldwell Field Office, helping farmers and ranchers to address environmental resource concerns associated with their agricultural operations in both Ada and Canyon counties. Here in the Boise River Watershed we are particularly concerned with water quality issues and have several initiatives and programs to help producers reduce offsite impacts. I have been working for NRCS for 10 years and hope to help bring the Ag perspective to the BREN Team. I have a BS in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and also spent time in Washington working for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. My family has been in Boise for 4 generations so I most certainly have a personal commitment to the Boise River and its future health.
I work for the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, BREN’s fiscal sponsor. I have been working with BREN for almost 3 years now. I have attended all Coordinating Team meetings and enjoy working with BREN on Boise River issues and developing the organization. I have been involved in BREN administrative processes, outreach, and fundraising. I was involved with the organization of the first Boise River Bash in 2014. Lately, I have been focusing on updating BREN web and email communications. My husband and I enjoy living in Boise, and floating, fishing, playing with our dogs, recreating at the play wave, and canoeing in the Boise River. I have 5 years of experience working in environmental activism and community organizing. I have a BS in Biology from Virginia Tech and a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana.
I am affiliated with the Department of Environmental Quality’s Boise Regional Office and currently serve as the lower Boise River Watershed Coordinator. I am interested in serving on the coordinating team not only as a professional, but also from a personal perspective. I would like help BREN in the mission of enhancing the Boise River for now and into the future. I feel that I would bring to the table additional technical expertise, in regards to surface water quality, and would also enjoy helping with outreach activities and other needs that arise. The BREN coordinating team is an exceptional group of individuals that are doing great work for the Boise River and it would be a privilege to be a part.
I am a career water utility operator, technician and manager and am currently the Production Manager for United Water Idaho in Boise. I have worked as an advocate for clean water sources and healthy communities in the Western United States my entire career. I manage facilities with diversions from the Boise River (the two United Water treatment plants). I am currently the Vice‐president of the Boise City Canal Board of directors. In both of these capacities I have an interest in the Boise River.
I have a strong background in water resource management, water rights, water quality analysis, testing and treatment. I am also a fisherman, whitewater rafter and outdoorsman who appreciates the beauty of a healthy fishery and the many other benefits a healthy river ecosystem can provide. I have an active and creative mind and the ability to apply my business acumen to solving practical problems as this coalition moves toward implementation of the BREN vision.
Tom “Chel” Chelstrom
BREN Coordinating Team member 2014-2016. Author of “Canoeing the Boise River” and “The Boise River Water Trail”. I support the big picture views of the Boise River Trails Plan and The Boise River Enhancement Plan. My experience representing recreation interests on the Boise River spans more than twenty years and includes long standing functional relationships with local, state and federal agencies and user groups. I support improving sustainable access to the river, portage trails around dams and diversions and walking/bicycling paths along the river. Working together, we can enhance recreation opportunities and fish and wildlife habitat while improving the overall health of the river and adjacent riparian areas.
I serve as District Manager for Boise River Flood Control District #10. This position was recently created by combining the Project Manager and Executive Director positions. FCD #10’s Primary focus is the Boise River from Plantation Golf Course to the Steel Bridge in Caldwell above the I‐84 freeway. I travel the river corridor to determine flood control problem areas and opportunities for improvement, develop and administer contracts for river maintenance, review applications for development within the District, attend multiagency meetings and report to a Board of Directors. Previously, I retired after 30+ years in resource management positions with the BLM and US Forest Service.
I will assist BREN by focusing on processes dealing with flood control structures, river maintenance, cooperative projects and expanding partnerships with Federal and state agencies, cities, counties and cooperative groups.
As a member of the BREN Coordinating Team, I could bring to the task a broad familiarity with water issues in the Treasure Valley, particularly in Canyon County, and because my experience as a liaison between different individuals and departments at the College of Idaho, could serve to further support BREN’s outreach efforts. I have worked at the College of Idaho since 2008. I have taught courses in the Environmental Studies Program there since 2011. My work at the College of Idaho over the past two years has included the position of liaison between faculty, student affairs staff, and students. In this role, I have learned a lot about successful communication: different modes work better for different people, and redundancy is key! I am confident that I could help brainstorm ways for BREN to continue the good outreach work it has already undertaken. I look forward to supporting BREN’s work in the future and am excited to work with the Coordinating Team to continue spreading the message about the need for a healthy Boise River.
Mike Homza, PE
I was initially involved with BREN from its inception, including: BREN’s very first organizing meetings (before BREN even had a name), meeting with Dr. Kustra inviting him to speak at BREN’s 2011 public event, assisting with the public event as well as other BREN events. I have been a “casual” participant in a number of Coordinating Team (CT) meetings, have assisted with fundraising and have taken on other tasks as requested by the CT. I am a river restoration/civil engineer well versed in many aspects of river and habitat planning, design, modeling, permitting and construction. I therefore believe I can contribute to the CT from the technical/practical/regulatory aspects as well. I am a resident of Boise and frequently float, stroll along and bike along the Boise River: I truly believe the Boise River is the lifeblood of the Valley and want to do what I can as a responsible citizen to protect and enhance the river, its water quality and associated habitat. I was also a founding member and President of the Idaho section on the American Water Resources Association (IDAWRA) and understand the roles and responsibilities associated with professional/non-profit organizations such as BREN. I believe my history with BREN, my professional expertise, commitment to the community and passion of rivers in general – and the Boise River in particular – can benefit BREN.
I am a Program Manager at The Freshwater Trust, a nonprofit with a mission to preserve and restore our freshwater ecosystems. I have been actively involved with BREN since opening an office in Boise in March 2015. I participate on BREN’s sustainability team, contribute to the Boise River Enhancement Plan and attend as many BREN‐sponsored events as I can.
My work experience and educational background are well‐suited to helping BREN achieve its goal of promoting the ecological enhancement of the Boise River. My work at The Freshwater Trust includes developing watershed restoration programs, identifying ecological priorities for stream restoration, conducting community outreach and implementing projects. I have an MS in Environmental Sciences with a focus in stream ecology and an undergraduate degree in Business.
Boise River ecological enhancement will be most successful if driven by a coordinated effort. BREN is capable of spearheading this coordinated effort by aggregating stakeholders. BREN’s network of professionals, as well as BREN’s Enhancement Plan, has already proven valuable to me in my work in Boise. I want to be a part of furthering BREN’s mission. My technical expertise in stream ecology as well as my professional network will allow me to contribute to BREN’s mission as well as leverage a variety of stakeholders who are essential to improving the ecology of the Boise River.
After many years as a non-profit river advocate, I’m now self-employed as a consultant. My business name is Community, LLC and I provide community organizing services to public, private and non-profit clients. I serve on the Board of the Lower Boise Watershed Council and on the Ada County Environmental Advisory Committee. I have an excellent understanding of the values of the Boise River, the threats the river faces and the opportunities for enhancement. I also know many of the stakeholders. I have experience in working with volunteers and working with diverse groups. I’ve invested much effort into creating BREN, and I would like to help the network figure out how best it can support the enhancement of the river.
I work with the University of Idaho, Idaho Water Resources Research Institute, live and work in and around the Boise River and have been an active member of BREN since 2013. I have served specifically as the Outreach Team Leader since that time, assisting in both the development of the current BREN administrative structure and more specifically in organization of the Outreach Team activities such as field trips, brown bags, facilitation at information gathering efforts, been on the review team for the BREN River Plan and an active member of the current BREN Coordinating Team. I have worked to enhance BREN connections with the agricultural and irrigation community and broaden the reach to new and different audiences.
I am very proud of what BREN has accomplished over the last two and one‐half years and I believe strongly, both personally and professionally, in the work, commitment and the vision of BREN. I would like to continue to work with the BREN Coordinating Team in moving that vision forward through continued education and outreach activities and where possible assist in developing strategies and facilitating connections that supports implementation of the recommendations of the BREN Enhancement and Sustainability Plan for the Boise River.