Coordinating Team

The BREN Coordinating Team represents diverse stakeholder groups from resource development, agriculture, advocacy, recreation, universities, environmental consulting, flood control, among others.

The Coordinating Team is made up of 7 to 13 members, two of which are appointed by the Board of Directors. The remaining members are elected directly by BREN membership. The Coordinating Team is delegated 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 2017-18 BREN Coordinating Team members:  Phil Bandy, Tamsen Binggeli, Erin Brooks, Charissa Bujak, Whitney Byrd, Mike Dimmick, Megan Dixon, Lisa Harloe, Jessica Harrold, Mike Homza, Greg Kaltenecker, Kathy Peter, and Jessie Sherburne.

Thank you to our past Coordinating Team members: Tim Breuer, Whitney Byrd, Kati Carberry, Bill Carr, Thom Chelstrom, Alex Johnson, Doug Fowler, Gary Grimm, LeeAnn Garton, Michael McConnell, Christy Meyer, Liz Paul, Derek Risso, Julie Scanlin, Mike Somerville, Alan Winkle, and Becky Yzaguirre.

BREN Coordinating Team

2016-17 BREN Coordinating Team

Phil Bandy
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 am currently Executive Vice President of Operations for Idaho CuMo Mining Corporation. 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.

Tamsen Binggeli
I currently serve as Treasurer on the BREN Board of Directors 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. During my tenor 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.

Erin Brooks
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.

Charissa Bujak
I currently am employed with the Environmental Protection Agency as a Biologist and practicing wetland ecology with a focus on environment review and project management. I have a B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Plant Science which has helped provide a strong technical background and given me the resources to make sound environmentally-based decisions in my profession. I am a lifelong learner and lover of the outdoors. I am dedicated to environmental protection efforts both professionally and personally. As a lover of the outdoors, I enjoy anything from riparian clean-up projects to a walk in the woods with other outdoor enthusiasts. I am thrilled to know that BREN is present in our Boise community and excited to see what great things are planned next for this group. I envision my role as being a resource or providing assistance in environmental efforts in the Boise community, especially with a focus on aquatic resources, to BREN and its members. I am excited to get my hands dirty and be of help in any way needed to the BREN team.

Whitney Byrd
I have been working with BREN for almost 4 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.

Mike Dimmick
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 have an assistant, Ervin Ballou, who will attend when possible in the event of my absence.

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.

Megan Dixon
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.

Lisa Harloe
I am a botanist and river recreationist living in Boise for nearly 15 years. As most residents of Boise and the Treasure Valley, I love the Boise River and all of the important aspects it brings to our daily lives. I commute by bike along the greenbelt to my riverfront office at Tetra Tech, an environmental consulting firm. I appreciate the river and want to take a more active role in helping promote its ecological enhancement. As a recent graduate of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Boise Program (Class of 2017), I have solidified my commitment and understand the importance to give back to the community we call home. With my current role as a botanist, biology team lead, and project manager at Tetra Tech, I feel I have the tools and expertise to contribute to the vision of the Boise River Enhancement Network. I have worked on interdisciplinary teams for many projects, small and large, that have helped me develop the organizational and interpersonal skills to work well with others and get things done. I am a longtime member of the Idaho Native Plant Society, the Rare Plant Conference Planning Committee, and Southern Idaho Rare Plant Working Group.

The future for the Boise River is bright as many partners join to plan, outreach, educate and fundraise for the ecological enhancement of the lifeblood of our growing city. My ecological and botanical background, passion for helping others and giving back to the community, and vast network of individuals I’ve met as an active professional in the Valley makes me an excellent candidate to be a part of the BREN Coordinating Team. I appreciate the opportunity to work with BREN and its many important team members and partners to help the future of the Boise River.

Jessica Harrold
I work for the Ada Soil & Water Conservation District as their Programs and Administrative Coordinator. We work with local landowners, agencies, and other partners to promote soil and water conservation efforts in Ada County. I have a strong passion for natural resources conservation, and can bring my agricultural background to bring to the table. I also have extensive experience in organizing and event management.

As a lifetime resident of Boise, I treasure the Boise River and all our open spaces. Witnessing the rapid growth of our community, I see how important it is to make sure we protect these resources as the local impact on them increases. I believe that teaching good land stewardship to the community is an important task that will help the people that live in the Boise River watershed see their role in protecting our local environment.

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.

Greg Kaltenecker
We propose a shared position for the BREN Coordinating team for both Greg Kaltenecker and Heidi Ware. Greg is the Executive Director and Heidi is the Education Director of the Intermountain Bird Observatory of Boise State University. Both Greg and Heidi are biologists who have experience working on the Boise River. Boise State owns a key property in Barber Pool that is currently being developed to restore fish and wildlife habitat, create trail systems, and to create a year‐round education/outreach program. Both Greg and Heidi are committed to achieve the vision of a Boise River that is both functional and contains a network of natural areas that provide habitat for fish and wildlife while also providing access, recreation, and educational/outreach opportunities for the local public. Both Greg and Heidi share a vision of creating and maintaining a working partnership of interested and active stakeholders to accomplish these tasks.

Kathy Peter
I currently serve as President of the BREN Board of Directors. I am a retired hydrologist with the USGS and longtime community volunteer, including serving on the Board of the Idaho Chapter of the American Water Resources Association. I have been involved with BREN since its inception and am looking forward to serving on the Coordinating Team!

Jessie Sherburne
I have a Master’s of Science degree in Raptor Biology from Boise State University (BSU) and 4.5 years’ experience working for non-profits. I’m currently a lecturer in the Biological Sciences Department at BSU. Through my master’s work at BSU, I studied how the water cycle can be a vector for emerging contaminants that can then potentially affect local watersheds, foodsheds, surrounding wildlife, and urban areas. This work demonstrated to me firsthand how important the connections between land and water are, and how seemingly disparate actions can have ecosystem-wide effects.

As a member of the BREN Coordinating Team, I can bring extensive experience promoting and managing events, networking, writing grants, doing public education, and locating funding sources. I have strong interest in protecting the Boise River, promoting awareness about water use/abuse in a dry climate, and working with the diverse and talented BREN team who has been doing such important work over the past few years.

2015-16 Meeting Notes
November 2015 notes
January 2016 notes
March 2016 notes
May 2016 notes
July 2016 notes
September 2016 notes

2016-17 Meeting Notes
November 2016 notes
January 2017 notes
March 2017 notes
May 2017 notes
July 2017 notes
August 2017 “special meeting” notes