Staff

Meet our key personnel:


 

John Everett Vollmar
President and Senior Ecologist

B.S. University of California, Berkeley: Natural History and Evolution, 1990

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: President, Senior Ecologist, 1996–present
  • CytoCulture BioTechnology: Wetland Research Associate, 1996–1998
  • Garcia and Associates: Botanist / Wetland Ecologist, 1995–1997
  • BioSystems Analysis: Botanist, 1992–1995
  • WESCO Ecological Services: Botanist, 1991
  • Eldorado National Forest: Botanist, 1990

Mr. Vollmar is the founder of Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting (VNLC). As principal-in-charge, he is responsible for overall management and quality control of all company projects. Mr. Vollmar has more than 15 years' professional experience. He has managed more than 150 projects during the course of his career ranging from small parcel assessments to large, multi-disciplinary regional conservation studies.

Mr. Vollmar is an expert botanist, vegetation ecologist, and wetland ecologist. He is also experienced with aquatic invertebrate and amphibian surveys in seasonal wetlands. His background combines strong technical experience and training with a thorough understanding of current environmental regulations pertaining to botanical and wetland resources. As a botanist, he has managed and conducted rare plant surveys, floristic inventories and habitat assessments throughout California and other western states. He has worked with dozens of rare plant species. He is familiar with the plant taxonomy of central California from the coast to the eastern Sierra as well as other regions in California, Nevada and New Mexico. As a wetland ecologist, Mr. Vollmar has managed and conducted numerous wetland delineations and habitat assessments, developed and implemented mitigation, restoration, and creation plans and monitoring plans for several wetland types including vernal pools, perennial and seasonal marsh, riparian habitats, and alkali sink scrub. Mr. Vollmar regularly advises clients on the requirements of Sections 7 and 10 of the Federal Endangered Species Act, Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act, CEQA, and various state and local environmental regulations. Mr. Vollmar holds a federal survey permit for federally-listed vernal pool fairy and tadpole shrimp and California tiger salamander and has surveyed more than 3,000 vernal pools and other seasonal wetlands for these species.

In recent years, Mr. Vollmar has applied his skills to regional conservation planning, mitigation banking, natural resources management, and land stewardship. From 1998-2005, he directed a vernal pool conservation program in eastern Merced County. Program elements included public workshops, working with ranchers to establish conservation easements, preparing easement documentation reports, and co-authoring a report on the effects of livestock grazing on vernal pools. In 2001-2002, he directed a major study of the ecology of eastern Merced County involving surveys of 45,000 acres of private rangelands for 40+ special-status species. Over the past two years, he has directed large-scale biological surveys, mitigation banking projects, and conservation land management projects in Merced, Madera, San Mateo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, Lassen, Siskiyou, Kern, and Los Angeles Counties.

Rebecca Bewley Wayman
Senior Ecologist

M.S. University of California, Davis: Ecology, 2005
B.S. University of California, Berkeley: Conservation and Resource Studies, Minor in Forestry, 1999

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Senior Ecologist, 2005–present
  • Sierra Nevada Research Center, US Forest Service: Biological Scientist, 2003-2005
  • US Forest Service, Stanislaus National Forest: Biological Science technician, 2001-2002
  • UC Berkeley Center For Biological Control: Laboratory Assistant, 1998–1999

Ms. Wayman has over ten years of professional experience in vegetation and wetland science, management and scientific research, specializing in botany, vegetation ecology, and seasonal wetland ecology. She has six years of professional experience conducting surveys for listed and non-listed vernal pool large branchiopods. She is the director of VNLC's Sierra Foothills office in Nevada City.

Ms. Wayman has conducted rare plant and invasive species surveys, large branchiopod surveys, larval amphibian surveys, vegetation mapping and assessments, wetland delineations, and plant community research in valley, foothill and mountain ecosystems. She has conducted numerous biological resource surveys in vernal pool, annual grassland, foothill oak woodland, and montane coniferous forest communities, including special habitats such as gabbro soil areas and volcanic table areas. She is experienced at delineating wetlands in a variety of habitats and writing accompanying reports. She provides GIS support to VNLC's GIS specialist, Jake Schweitzer.

Ms. Wayman has served as a project manager on several projects including preparation and implementation of a monitoring program for CRLF breeding ponds on preserve land, long-term vernal pool aquatic invertebrate and floristic monitoring on preserve land, and botanical surveys on two ranger districts of the Plumas National Forest. For three years she served as the lead botanical researcher for the Teakettle Ecosystem Experiment, an ecological study in the southern Sierra Nevada. She conducted research on the effects of forest management practices on understory plant biodiversity and species composition, and is the lead author of the paper, "Initial response of a mixed-conifer understory community to burning and thinning restoration treatments" (Forest Ecology and Management, 2007).

Ms. Wayman is federally certified to conduct aquatic surveys for CTS and large branchiopods throughout California. Ms. Wayman has also assisted California Native Plant Society personnel in conducting Rapid Assessments of vegetation types in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Jake Schweitzer
Senior Ecologist and Geographic Information Science Specialist

B.A. University of California, Berkeley: Geography, 1995

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Senior Ecologist and GIS Specialist, 2003–present
  • Wetlands and Water Resources: Ecologist and GIS Consultant, 2001-2005
  • UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, CAMFER Lab: Research Assistant, 2000-2001
  • Applied Geographics, Boston, MA: GIS Technical Manager, 1997-2000
  • City of Oakland: GIS Technician, 1996-1997

Mr. Schweitzer combines 10 years of experience as a professional vegetation and wetland ecologist with over 14 years of experience in cartography and geographic information science (GIS, remote sensing/image analysis, and GPS technology). His ecological focus has been in botanical and wetland sciences. He is federally certified to conduct dip-net surveys for large branchiopods, California tiger salamander, and California red-legged frog in California aquatic habitats. He is also certified in the vegetation mapping techniques developed by the California Native Plant Society. He has conducted surveys and produced vegetation and wetland maps at various scales for innumerable projects throughout California. Mr. Schweitzer has been a docent for the past three years at the East Bay Regional Park Botanic Garden, teaching native California plant ecology to the public.

Mr. Schweitzer has applied his skills to a wide array of projects, from surveying and modeling threats posed by Sudden Oak Death, to Conducting large-scale botanical and wildlife surveys, to developing and implementing restoration designs for vernal pool landscapes. He has served as lead field ecologist and GIS specialist for many of VNLC's regional conservation and land use projects from the Bay Area to the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada Foothills. He has most recently led botanical survey and mapping efforts at the Walker Ridge project site (Lake and Colusa Counties), Concord Naval Weapons Station (eastern Contra Costa County), the Skylawn Memorial Park project site (central San Mateo County), the Robinson Ranch Conservation Easement (eastern Merced County), and Rancho Arroyo Seco (western Amador County). These sites encompass a wide variety of habitats. He is currently managing several large-scale botanical surveys and wetland delineations for the Marin Municipal Water District and the Alameda County Department of Public Works as well as for several renewable energy projects.

Wendy Renz
Senior Ecologist

M.S. University of California, Berkeley: Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 2009
B.A. University of California, Berkeley: Molecular and Cell Biology, 2001

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Senior Ecologist, 2005 – present
  • UC Berkeley Department of ESPM: Environmental Science Graduate Student Researcher, 2007
  • UC Berkeley Department of ESPM: Graduate Student Instructor – General Biology, 2006-2007
  • Washington Aqueduct, Washington, D.C.: Chemist, 2004-2006
  • Exelixis, Inc.: Chemist/Project Manager, 2001-2003
  • SEALS/National Marine Sanctuary: Wildlife Research Assistant, 2001-2005

Ms. Renz has over ten years of professional experience in scientific project management and scientific research, specializing in seasonal wetland ecology, vernal pool ecosystems and organisms, and water quality. She has six years of professional experience conducting surveys for listed and non-listed vernal pool large branchiopods and vernal pool amphibians including California tiger salamander; and is federally and state certified to conduct surveys for these species.

Ms. Renz has worked as a senior ecologist, water quality expert and project manager for VNLC since January 2005. During this time she has conducted numerous biological resource and baseline condition surveys and prepared the reports. She is experienced at delineating wetlands in a variety of habitats and writing accompanying reports. Ms. Renz also provides GIS mapping and analysis support on VNLC projects. Ms. Renz is certified in the application of the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) to assess wetland habitat quality.

Ms. Renz recently completed the second year of a two-year study of vernal pool restoration and creation techniques with a focus on the Sacramento Valley, funded by a competitive grant from the Bureau of Reclamation (with technical oversight from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Through her work Ms. Renz has become very familiar with a wide range of historic and current vernal pool restoration/creation design and implementation practices. Additionally, Ms. Renz is currently the project manager for the design, construction and monitoring of seven acres of mitigation vernal pools on the 10,000-acre Madera Ranch in Madera County.

Cassie Pinnell
Senior Ecologist

M.S. San Francisco State University: Biology, Expected 2013
B.A. Mills College: Environmental Studies and Biology, 2004

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Senior Ecologist, 2005–present
  • BMP Ecosciences: Botanist, 2003-2005
  • Mills College and CSU Stanislaus: Biological Research Assistant, 2003

Ms. Pinnell is a biologist with more than seven years of professional experience focused on California's habitats and special-status species. Since earning her B.A., she has taken additional courses in wetlands restoration, watershed assessment, California tiger salamander and large branchiopod identification.

Ms. Pinnell has worked throughout California within seasonal and perennial wetlands, riparian corridors, coastal marshes, native and non-native grasslands, and desert and montane bioregions. Her work includes special-status species surveys, habitat assessments, wetland delineations, and aquatic invertebrate surveys. She also prepares land management plans, mitigation and monitoring plans, biological assessments and assists with the preparation of 401 and 404 permits and bank enabling instruments (BEI).

Prior to working with VNLC, Ms. Pinnell's past work with BMP Ecosciences and Mills College included monitoring the impacts of phytomass removal on rare and sensitive plant species in Sonoma County vernal pools and associated uplands, re-introduction experiments for sensitive vernal pool plant species, and a study assessing the relationship between soil characteristics, inundation and coastal salt marsh vegetation in the Bay Area.

Her current projects include biological surveys, wetland delineations, conservation planning, large-scale land management plans, and conducting habitat assessments and long-term monitoring for special-status aquatic invertebrates, amphibians and plant species in the Bay Delta and Central Valley regions. Ms. Pinnell is proficient with California botany and vegetation community classification.

Roxanne Hulme
Ecologist

B.A. University of California, Berkeley: Conservation and Resource Studies, 2010

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: 2010–present
  • UC Berkeley Department of Integrative Biology: Field Assistant, 2009-2010
  • UC Berkeley Department of Geography Research Assistant, 2008-2009
  • Sonoma County Water Agency: Environmental Compliance Intern, 2009-2009

Ms. Hulme has a varied background as a biologist/ecologist in California wetlands, grasslands and mountainous regions. With a focus on Sustainable Land Management within her degree, she has both academic and professional understanding of integrated ecosystem management and restoration. With VNLC, Ms. Hulme has assisted in botany, large branchiopod, amphibian and conservation easement surveys.

Ms. Hulme has previously worked in the academic setting, studying natural predator use for agricultural products, air quality in different biomes and most recently has assisted in amphibian surveys and studies in California rivers. Other professional experience includes two years at an organic ranch and vineyard and an internship with Environmental Compliance at the Sonoma County Water Agency, working on CEQA/NEPA documents as well as field watershed assessments of biological life.

Eric Smith
Geographic Information Science Specialist, Herpetologist

B.A. University of California, Davis: Biology (concentration in evolution and ecology), 2006
GIS Certificate, San Jose State University, 2009

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Staff GIS Analyst, May 2011-present
  • FRP Games: Database Administrator, 2009-2011
  • Stepping Stone Tutors: Tutor, 2009-2011
  • Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes: Tutor, 2007-2009
  • Franklin-McKinley School District: Substitute Teacher, 2006-2008

Mr. Smith’s educational background is in terrestrial and wetland ecology, and the use of spatial data to understand and present biological information. His educational background includes graduate coursework in ecological study design and geographic information science, with research experience using GIS to investigate the dispersal dynamics of plethodontid salamanders.

Mr. Smith was a science and math educator for four years, and he retains those communication skills for presenting technical data to both scientific and lay audiences. After completing his certificate in GIS, he moved on to spend two years as a database administrator, managing a 30,000+ record database. He now applies those database administration skills to the analysis of large biological datasets. He has been the data organization and processing lead on an analysis of the hydrology, botany, water quality, and invertebrate biology of over 450 created and natural vernal pools in California’s central valley. He is also the lead cartographer on an ongoing project to create ca. 7 acres of vernal pools in Madera County. His primary duties at VNLC are as a staff cartographer and GIS analyst, where he has analyzed survey data and produced maps for several projects set in the San Joaquin valley and the Coast Range.

Vir McCoy
Field Ecologist

B.A. University of California, Berkeley: Physical Geography, 1992

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Field Ecologist, 1998-present
  • Chambers Group, Inc.: Biologist, 1995-1996
  • Ecosystems: Biologist, 1993-1995
  • U.C. Santa Cruz, Predatory Bird Group: Research Assistant, 1991-1992

Mr. McCoy has over 10 years' professional experience in the fields of wildlife biology, habitat restoration, ecology, botany and geography. Mr. McCoy received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992.

During his professional career, Mr. McCoy has been an integral part of numerous wildlife and ecological field studies, habitat assessments, large restoration projects, sensitive species surveys, database analysis and interpretation projects, species natural history summaries, ecological risk assessments, long-term monitoring plans, wetland delineation and other habitat evaluations. As a wildlife biologist, he has conducted surveys for a range of species, including many State and Federally Threatened and Endangered species throughout California and Arizona. These surveys have been conducted in a variety of habitat types including fresh and salt marsh, seasonal wetlands, riparian wetlands, and upland annual grassland, shrub, and forest habitats. He has extensive experience with avian, mammalian, reptile, amphibian, fish and invertebrate species (fairy shrimp) including vernal pool and vernal pool associated wildlife surveys on several large ranches in Merced County and on properties in Solano County. Mr. McCoy has conducted surveys for California red-legged frogs, yellow-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders. He has successfully completed a large branchiopod identification course.

John S. Hale
Senior Botanist

M.S. California State University, Chico: Botany, 1997
B.S. California State University, San Francisco: Botany, 1974

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting: Senior Botanist, 2001 – present
  • Jones and Stokes Associates: Field Botanist, 1990-2001
  • CA Dept. of Fish and Game, Shasta County, CA: Vegetation Specialist, 1993
  • U.S. Forest Service, Modoc National Forest, CA: Seasonal Botanist, 1990-1991

Mr. Hale is a botanist and wetland ecologist with more than 15 years of professional experience. He is an expert on California’s flora and plant communities with particular knowledge of California’s Sierra Nevada and Central Valley regions. Mr. Hale has conducted botanical surveys throughout California in many plant communities including vernal pool, salt marsh, riparian, alkali and desert habitats. He recently took a specialized course in the Flora of the Northern Siskiyous through the U.C. Berkeley Jepson Herbarium and has served as a botanist for the Modoc National Forest. His expertise includes special-status plant surveys, floristic inventories, noxious weed surveys, vegetation mapping, wetland delineations, and vegetation/biological monitoring. Through his project work, Mr. Hale has discovered numerous rare plant occurrences including several significant range extensions.

Mr. Hale served as the Designated Biologist, approved by the California Energy Commission, for Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Cosumnes Power Plant and Pipeline Project. He was responsible for conducting and supervising the implementation of the biological resources Conditions of Certification for the project. Mr. Hale has also served as the lead botanist on many large utility line projects including the Williams fiber optic installation from Pt. Arena to Sacramento, the Qwest fiber optic installation from Dunsmuir to Redding, and the Southern California Edison Big Creek hydroelectric relicensing.

Caitlin Papathakis
Ecologist

B.S. San Francisco State University (concentration in ecology), 2011

  • Honey bee research lab, SFSU 2010-2011
  • Entomology lab, SFSU 2010-2011
  • Guadalupe Dune Center, Nature Conservancy June – September 2009

Ms. Papathakis has a background in general ecology and conservation biology, attained through her educational and volunteer experiences. Throughout these experiences, she has gained an understanding of California’s delicate ecosystems and is motivated to work to conserve and restore them. With Vollmar Natural Lands, Ms. Papathakis has assisted in vernal pool monitoring surveys and in data entry and analysis.

While attending SFSU, Ms. Papathakis worked in a honey bee research lab aiding in documenting a new found parasite of honey bees, contributing to honey bee colony collapse disorder. Other experience includes conducting insect surveys for the Presidio Trust (San Francisco, CA) through the SFSU entomology lab as well as working with Guadalupe Nature Conservancy compiling plant guides for nature hikes.

Casey Hubble
Staff Ecologist

B.A. Biology, San Francisco State University, May 2010
M.S. Ecology and Systematic Biology, May 2013

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting, Staff Ecologist, 2013 - Present
  • Bug Under Glass, Insect Preparer, 2011 - 2013
  • Tom Parker Wetland Research lab, San Francisco State University, Graduate Assistant, 2010 - 2011
  • John Hafernik's Entomology Lab, San Francisco State University, Graduate Assistant, 2008 - 2009

Ms. Hubble is a staff ecologist with VNLC. She has a masters in ecology and systematic biology with a focus in entomology. While receiving her masters, Ms. Hubble assisted with a number of research studies including an inventory of arthropods on the newly established California Academy of Sciences living roof, tagging and tracking of the endangered San Francisco garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia), and an Inventory of bee species for the Presidio Land Trust. She has also assisted in various wetland research, including litter decomposition rates, tidal wetland vegetation patterns, and root biomass of tidal vegetation in the northern San Francisco Bay-Delta. Ms. Hubble spent several years working for Bug Under Glass; a local company specializing in insect displays. As an Insect Preparer, she was responsible for preserving, mounting, and curating a wide variety of insects.

Katie Young
Staff Ecologist

B.A. Environmental Studies, Mills College, May 2012

  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting, Staff Ecologist, 2012 - Present
  • Jill Barrett Biology Research Program, Mills College, Student Researcher, Summer 2012
  • Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting, Intern, Summer 2011
  • School For Field Studies, Costa Rica, Student Researcher/Volunteer, Spring 2011

Ms. Young is a staff ecologist with VNLC. She has an interdisciplinary educational background including the study of ecology, policy, economics, and environmental ethics. Ms. Young has a degree in environmental studies with a focus in ecology and conservation biology. While attending Mills College, Ms. Young participated in the Jill Barrett Biology Research Program assisting in four studies including the implementation of a multi-year demographic study of the endangered serpentine endemic Calochortus tiburonensis, a field experiment testing local adaptation in the highly invasive Centaurea solstitialis (yellow starthistle), as well as a study examining the long term trends associated with the recovery of rare serpentine grasslands following a fire. Other experience includes a semester at the Center for Sustainable Development in Guapiles, Costa Rica, where she participated in numerous field studies and a directed research program in natural resource management.

Professionally, Ms. Young has assisted in conducting multiple biological surveys including aquatic invertebrate dip-net surveys, California tiger salamander surveys, water quality testing, wetland delineations, baseline inventories, blunt-nosed leopard lizard surveys, and reconnaissance level camera and track plate surveys for San Joaquin kit foxes. She has assisted with rare plant and botanical surveys and has experience in monitoring vernal pool construction projects. Ms. Young is proficient in field data collection with Trimble GPS units and in clean data management practices.

Ms. Young has a federal permit to conduct aquatic surveys for large branchiopods and California tiger salamanders.

Associates

Josh Phillips, M.E.S., Permitting Specialist

Mr. Phillips has over seven years of professional experience as a wildlife biologist and ecologist. He has a comprehensive understanding of the environmental planning process, including expertise in sensitive biological resources and the state and federal regulations protecting these resources (e.g., CEQA, the state and federal Endangered Species Acts, the federal Clean Water Act, and the California Fish and Game Code).

Mr. Phillips has extensive experience analyzing the effects of development projects on biological resources and has prepared numerous biological resource chapters of EIRs, Biological Assessments for Section 7 consultations, and Biological Constraints Evaluations. Mr. Phillips also has conducted special-status species surveys, habitat evaluations, wetland delineations, vegetation mapping, mitigation design and implementation, and coordinating with state and federal resource agencies. He holds a section 10(a)(1)(A) recovery permit to conduct surveys for federally-listed vernal pool branchiopods (i.e., fairy and tadpole shrimp) and has conducted numerous surveys for these species. He has also organized and conducted surveys for special-status plants, California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, western pond turtle, western burrowing owl, nesting birds, Chinook salmon, and steelhead.

Mr. Phillips has managed and participated in large-scale projects involving complex biological issues throughout northern and southern California. He has worked on projects for a variety of public and private sector clients, including the cities of Hercules, Richmond, Pinole, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville, and Calistoga, as well as Caltrans, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Department of Public Works, Del Webb, Verizon, Newhall Ranch, and Tejon Ranch.

Kevin Knowles, B.A., Land Conservation Specialist

Mr. Knowles has acted as a real estate broker, consultant or principal on land conservation projects in California since 1989. He received his A.B. in American Studies from Stanford University in 1987 and is a licensed real estate broker with the State of California. Mr. Knowles is the Founder and President of Conservation Land Group based in Sausalito.

Mr. Knowles' efforts have led to the permanent protection of over 100,000 acres of endangered species habitat, wetlands, wildlife corridors, working farms, coastal properties, and cultural/historic sites in the western U.S. VNLC provided ecological expertise for many of these projects. Mr. Knowles provides guidance to private landowners, non-profit conservancies and public agencies on land conservation priorities, charitable planning related to land preservation and strategies for securing acquisition funding from a variety of federal, state, local and philanthropic sources.

Mr. Knowles has considerable experience working with elected officials and community groups to build partnerships and coalitions on complex, multi-year acquisition projects. His transactional work includes property due diligence, overseeing land appraisers and natural resource specialists, and assisting in the resolution of legal and tax matters. While with The Trust for Public Land between 1989 and 2005, Mr. Knowles served on the City of San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program Working Group which oversaw the implementation of a 175,000-acre regional preserve system. Mr. Knowles also handles real estate matters and mitigation credit marketing and sales for several mitigation/conservation banks in California.

Stuart Siegel, Ph.D., Environmental Scientist

Dr. Siegel has devoted his professional career to the conservation and restoration of wetland and aquatic systems with an emphasis on estuarine tidal wetlands. His combined work experience and graduate studies have built his expertise as an integrative physical scientist and geomorphologist with considerable emphasis on the related disciplines of ecology, environmental regulation and policy, contaminant remediation in estuarine environments, management, and business.

Dr. Siegel focuses on the integration of numerous disciplines into a comprehensive systems approach for regional ecosystem planning, ecosystem restoration projects, and scientific research into ecosystem restoration and management issues. His approach is now commonly referred to as "ecosystem-based" management. Dr. Siegel works primarily in the San Francisco Estuary and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with other efforts elsewhere in coastal California as well as in the tropical Pacific. Restoration projects range in size from a few acres to a few thousand acres. Science research investigates physical, chemical, and biological processes affecting outcomes of ecosystem restoration efforts and the effects of ecosystem management on water quality and biological resources; Dr. Siegel is the lead principal investigator for CALFED's Integrated Regional Wetland Monitoring pilot project and for a State Board-funded investigation of low dissolved oxygen and methyl mercury production in Suisun Marsh managed wetlands. His current regional planning work includes being the technical lead for Governor Schwarzenegger's Delta Vision Ecosystem Strategic Plan, a science co-lead for the CALFED Delta Restoration Plan, science input for habitat planning as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, and Science Advisor for the interagency Suisun Marsh Plan. Dr. Siegel is a certified Professional Wetland Scientist.

Roger Raiche, Botanist/Landscape Architect

Mr. Raiche spent 23 years growing California native plants at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (UCBG), where he was involved in seed collection, propagation, establishment and growth of each accessioned collection. At UCBG he grew a wide variety of plants, from grasses and forbs to shrubs and trees. He has continued to grow native California plants in natural settings as part of his independent landscape design business based in Sonoma County. In addition, he has spent the last 30 year botanizing throughout California both professionally and as a hobby, collecting and documenting wild plant occurrences. He is well known for his keen “eye” at seeing plants that others miss, as well as for an acute understanding of where rare plants might be found. Mr. Raiche has discovered at least five plants new to science, several occurring within The Cedars in northern-central Sonoma County, a property he has owned and managed for over ten years. He regularly leads tours of The Cedars, teaching serpentine “geobotany” to researchers and the general public.

In 2011, Mr. Raiche was honored as a California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Fellow. Becoming a Fellow is the highest recognition CNPS awards its members. These members “have accumulated extraordinary accomplishments towards the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of California native plants.”

Brent Helm, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist/Wetland Ecologist

Dr. Helm is a senior biologist and wetland ecologist with over 18 years’ experience as a professional consultant, research scientist, and adjunct professor. Dr. Helm received his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis in 1999. He also has an M.S. in Ecology from U.C. Davis (1996) and a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University (1988).

As a consultant, Dr. Helm has served as project manager and principal investigator for a broad range of resource assessment, mitigation and conservation projects including many large-scale, complex, and controversial projects. These have included developing and implementing field surveys for special-status plant and wildlife species; assessing sensitive resource impacts and developing mitigation plans; performing regional status surveys, assessing the relative significance of populations, and evaluating threats and endangerment status of species under consideration for listing; and preparing regional conservation and management plans.

Dr. Helm is an expert on the wildlife, ecology, restoration and creation of vernal pools, and is included on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) list of recognized specialists in fairy shrimp (Crustacea: Anostraca) identification. He developed current USFWS-approved procedures for the dry-season and wet-season sampling for federally listed large branchiopods. He prepared range maps from all known occurrences of California's 23 fairy shrimp species for a book entitled “Fairy Shrimp of California’s Pools, Puddles, and Playas” (Ericsen and Belk 1999). He has conducted large branchiopod surveys in more than 7,000 vernal pools and other seasonal wetlands throughout 49 counties in California and five counties in Oregon (more than 200 individual projects). He has served as the project manager and principal scientist for broad-scale vernal pool conservation planning, mitigation, and management studies for listed large branchiopods in Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Butte, and Yuba Counties. He has also served as a senior scientist and project manager for several Habitat Conservation Plans involving vernal pool resource issues including the North Natomas HCP, San Joaquin HCP, Sacramento HCP, and Yolo HCP.

Todd Sloat, M.S., Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist

Mr. Sloat is a wildlife and fisheries biologist with more than 15 years of experience, and extensive knowledge of biological resources throughout California. He has managed many projects ranging from small private land restoration to region-wide biological inventories. Mr. Sloat received his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology in 1988 from the University of California, Davis, and his M.S. in Ecology in 1998 from U.C. Davis.

Mr. Sloat is an expert ornithologist, and also has extensive experience with threatened and endangered terrestrial and aquatic species. He excels at coordinating natural resource improvements by working with a diverse group of stakeholders. He currently coordinates a large-scale water-quality monitoring program focusing on collecting background physical and biological data for the major tributaries of the upper Pit River in northeastern California. Working with private interest groups and state and federal agencies, project activities include the development of a watershed management strategy, and the coordination and management of several restoration projects.

Mr. Sloat’s biological experience covers a wide range of species and projects. He has conducted several large-scale biological inventories in northern California focused on documenting the distribution and abundance of wildlife species including northern goshawk, spotted owl, great gray owl, willow flycatcher, and rare carnivores. He served as the lead ornithologist to develop avian monitoring programs related to the management of Staten Island for waterfowl and shorebirds, and for documenting avian communities and habitat associations in eastern Merced County related to future landscape conservation planning. Mr. Sloat collected baseline data on the distribution and abundance of several anadromous fish species (e.g., coho salmon, king salmon, sea-run cutthroat trout), and developed a long-term monitoring strategy to document population trends of fish using private timberlands. He has also conducted biological surveys, habitat assessments, and impact analysis on a wide variety of utility, gas, and water holding facilities. For his graduate work, he studied waterfowl populations and habitat associations of artic nesting geese.

Jim Chance, B.S., Rangeland Specialist

Mr. Chance is a successful rancher with more than 40 years of experience ranching in California and Colorado. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Business Management from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo in 1961.

Mr. Chance owns more than 30,000 acres of ranchlands in northern California and Colorado, and is thoroughly familiar with all aspects of ranching. He brings to our consulting team invaluable knowledge regarding practical considerations of range management and ranching operations such as ranching economics, type of ranching operation (cow-calf, stocker, dairy heifers), season of use, grazing intensity and rotation, and livestock carrying capacity.

Mr. Chance is also familiar with the biological resource and conservation issues pertaining to ranching in an annual grassland environment, especially in regions with vernal pools. His ranches in Merced and Solano Counties incorporate more than 15,000 acres of high-quality vernal pool habitat as mapped by the California Department of Fish and Game. He has placed both of these ranches under permanent conservation easements. For the past three years, he has worked closely with John Vollmar and biologists from The Nature Conservancy to understand the resource issues on his ranches and implement grazing practices that consider the needs of resource conservation as well as economically-viable ranch management. Through the years, Mr. Chance has served as a Board Member of the Ballico (Merced County) Soil Conservation District, President of the Denair (Merced County) Farm Bureau, and Chairman of the Marketing Committee for the California Cattlemen’s Association.

Jon Kelsey, B.S., Botanist

Mr. Kelsey is an agronomist and vegetation ecologist with over 20 years’ experience. His background includes botanical work, vegetation assessment, geologic work (specifically particle analysis and distribution in sedimentary deposits), soil assessments, and geo-morphologic descriptions including associated plant communities. Mr. Kelsey received his degree in Agronomy from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo in 1978.

Working as a botanist, Mr. Kelsey has conducted floristic surveys in conjunction with mined land reclamation plans, and rare plant surveys involving vernal pool, annual grassland, and oak woodland habitats in the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent Sierra foothills. Mr. Kelsey participated in the botanical field surveys for the ecological study of eastern Merced County’s vernal pool landscapes. Mr. Kelsey has prepared reclamation plans which have been approved under the State of California Surface Mine and Reclamation Act and continues to actively advise on such projects. Mr. Kelsey’s expertise in the area of biomorphology is a result of extensive fieldwork, since 1989, involving geologic assessments in the lower Sierra Nevada foothills, identification of their associated soil types, and plant inventories in those areas. He has worked with landowners involving grant proposals, habitat and land form characterizations, plant surveys, regional conservation planning, mitigation banking and conservation easements. In 1992, Mr. Kelsey founded Merced River Mining & Reclamation Corp., a company which specializes in aggregate production from dredge tailings, reclamation of mined ground, and botanical reports. He has worked with botanists conducting rare plant and floristic inventories and bio-geographic research projects involving yearly data collection at project sites.

Mr. Kelsey currently is a Director on the East Merced County Resource Conservation District. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of Merced County Farm Bureau.

Don Bucknor, Information Technology Specialist

Mr. Bucknor is a computer specialist who maintains the connectivity of networked computers and an intranet system that allows VNLC’s employees and associated subcontractors to access project management tools and project files from remote locations.

Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting
tel 510.559.9603 • fax 510.559.9605
1720 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

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