Bertrand Watershed Conference 2015

June 24, 2015

Berthusen Park, Lynden, WA


Thank you to everyone who attended our first Bertrand Watershed Conference at the beautiful Berthusen Park! If you missed it, you can see videos of the presentations below. With over 70 participants, and incredible, informative speakers, this conference was a great source of information and ideas for work being done in the Bertrand Watershed. The morning sessions provided a wealth of information about the history, science, action, and landowner engagement in the Bertrand, along with a look into the activities north of the boarder as well. The afternoon water sampling demonstration by Department of Ecology water specialists, was a rare look into the technology and methodology of high-tech water sampling methods. Overall, the day was a great opportunity to learn, discuss, and network with a wonderful community of residents, scientists, agency folks, and concerned citizens. Thank you to all who came out! We might even do it again next year with a new set of topics!



  • Keynote: Partnership Efforts in the Bertrand Watershed, Carol Smith, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • History and Current Overview of the Bertrand Watershed, Karen Steensma, Trinity Western, Bertrand resident, and dairy farmer (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • Monitoring the Effectiveness of Pollution Control Activities on Agricultural Lands, Scott Collyard & Markus VonPrause, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • National Water Quality Assessment Program: Bertrand Creek Site, Mark Munn, US Geological Survey (Presentation)
  • The other side of the watershed: Canadian Efforts in the Bertrand Watershed, Nichole Marples, Langley Environmental Partners Society (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • Pesticide Sampling in the Bertrand, Kelly McLain, WA Dept of Agriculture (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • Fecal Coliform Monitoring in Whatcom County, Erika Douglas, Whatcom County Public Works (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • DOE efforts working with Livestock Owners in Bertrand, Chris Luerkens and Jessica Kirkpatrick, Dept of Ecology, Bellingham (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • Pathogen Monitoring and Regulatory Efforts in Jackman Ditch, Michael Isensee, WA Dept of Agriculture (Video, Presentation PDF)
  • Community Solutions to Clean Water, Aneka Sweeney, Whatcom Conservation District (Video, Presentation PDF)


Additional Information and Links

NSEA Bertrand Spawing Survey, 2015

USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program - Pacific Northwest


Speaker Bios and Agency Contacts

Agency Contacts:

Whatcom Conservation District
P: (360) 526-2381

Department of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program
P: (360) 407-6989

Department of Ecology, Whatcom County, Bellingham Field Office
P: (360) 715-5200

WA Department of Agriculture, Dairy Program
P: (360) 961-7412

WA Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Program
P: (877) 301-4555

Whatcom County Public Works
P: (360) 676-6876

US Geological Survey (USGS)


Speaker Bios:

Nichole Embertson, Science and Planning Coordinator, Whatcom Conservation District - Dr. Nichole Embertson is a Nutrient Management and Air Quality Specialist at the Whatcom Conservation District and adjunct professor at Washington State University. She provides technical assistance through research and education on nutrient and environmental issues to dairy producers, agencies and industry across Washington State. Her experience with production needs, ecological systems, and manure management allows her a unique perspective in the development and delivery of outreach and education materials though mixed media to producers.

Carol Smith, Program Manager, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program – Dr. Carol Smith grew up in a rural community in Washington State, and developed a strong interest in natural resources.  After earning a bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD, she worked in academia and private industry before starting her career with the State of Washington.  She’s worked for the state for about 23 years with much of that time working in partnerships to recover salmon and restore habitat.  After a start in the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, most of her career was with the Conservation Commission working with farm programs.  She currently works for the Department of Ecology, leading their Environmental Assessment Program, the science arm of the agency.  One of the key goals of this program is to develop monitoring partnerships with others who have an interest in showcasing success of best management practices and other actions.

Karen Steensma, Trinity Western, Bertrand resident, and dairy farmer – Karen Steensma is the co-director of Environmental Studies Program and associate professor of biology at Trinity Western University. Her research has particularly centered on animal conservation. Other interest areas include marine and terrestrial mollusk conservation, wildlife-friendly agriculture, land management for biodiversity, the interface between salmon-bearing streams and agriculture, and impacts of human development on watersheds. Karen is a resident of the Bertrand Watershed and co-owner of a commercial dairy farm that strives for ecological sustainability.

Scott Collyard, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program - Scott works for Ecology’s Environmental Assessment Program as the statewide effectiveness monitoring coordinator for clean water act funded efforts in WA and has lived in the state since 2008.  Prior to this, Scott worked as a and as an environmental scientist conducting watershed health assessments for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality from 2003 to 2007 and as a research scientist for US EPA’s  mid -continent Ecology division from 1987 to 1999 in Duluth MN supporting the development freshwater sediment standards.  Scott has a BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin Superior and a MS in Aquatic toxicology and Chemistry from the University of Wyoming.   

Mark Munn, Stream Ecologist, USGS - Mark Munn is a stream ecologist with the USGS and has worked with the National Ambient Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program for 25 years. He has also run an agricultural nutrient effects team for 10 years which included studies in eight states. He is directing the nutrient part of the NAWQA study, which includes using continuous water quality meters at sites from Lynden to Portland, including the Bertrand intensive studies study site.

Nichole Marples, Langley Environmental Partners Society - Nichole Marples is the Executive Director of Langley Environmental Partners Society. Nichole leads initiatives to encourage citizen involvement in ecological stewardship in the Fraser Valley. She holds nearly twenty years of experiential learning in watershed stewardship, environmental education, partnership building, program development, organizational management, fundraising and grant administration. Nichole has actively participated in conservation efforts in the Bertrand Creek Watershed since 1998.

Michael Isensee, Northwest Inspector, Dairy Nutrient Management Program, WSDA - After receiving a biology degree and working on water quality issues in Pierce County, Michael Isensee has spent the last 20 years working with food and farms. He holds a masters degree in city and regional planning with a focus on agricultural land use. For the last three years, he has worked in Whatcom County as a Dairy Nutrient Inspector. He has also been a cook, farm worker, and cooperative extension agent assistant.

Kelly McLain, Senior Natural Resource Scientist, WSDA - Kelly McLain is a Senior Natural Resource Scientist and Western WA Supervisor for the Natural Resources Assessment Section (NRAS) at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. She has a bachelor of science degree in marine biology and a master’s of science in environmental science. She also serves as the agency lead on pesticide use, land use, and the Clean Water Act.

Chris Luerkens, Inspector, Bellingham Dept of Ecology

Jessica Kirkpatrick, Inspector, Bellingham Dept of Ecology - As a water quality specialist for the Washington State Department of Ecology, Jessica works with non-dairy livestock owners to prevent manure pollution, monitors water quality, and provides GIS support for that program. Before coming to Ecology, Jessica spent six years helping firms in the oil and natural gas industry in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming  comply with construction and industrial stormwater permits, prevent and respond to spills, and estimate their air pollutant emissions.  Jessica spends most of her free time mountain biking, skiing, and hiking with her husband.

Aneka Sweeney, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Whatcom Conservation District - Aneka Sweeney is the Outreach and Education Coordinator for Whatcom Conservation District.  Aneka works to enhance impact of district programs by working directly with community groups, school districts, state, county and city government as well as non-profit organizations to further the mission of the District. A native of western Colorado, Aneka earned a BS in Biology with a minor in Environmental Restoration from Colorado Mesa University in 2001, and Masters of Education in Environmental Studies through Western Washington University in 2010. Aneka established and coordinated a youth environmental leadership program for North Cascades Institute, training the next generation of conservation stewards before starting with the District in 2014.

Erika Douglas, Senior Planner for Marine Resources, Whatcom County Public Works - Erika Douglas is a Senior Planner for Marine Resources with Whatcom Public Works- Natural Resources.  She has a BS in Environmental Science from Western Washington University and a MS in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University.  Erika has worked for the County since 1998 on programs focusing on water quality, watershed management, shellfish protection districts, and marine ecosystems.  Erika has been the County’s lead staff for development and implementation of several water quality monitoring programs and has worked closely with various citizen committees to identify and implement projects to improve water quality. 

Markus Von Prause, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program - Markus Von Prause works for the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Ambient River and Stream Monitoring Program as a Water Quality Scientist. His expertise focuses on freshwater quality monitoring and reporting for the state of Washington.  He originally joined Ecology in 2004 by working for various TMDL related projects in the Water Quality Program and transferred to the Environmental Assessment Program in 2008. Markus received his Bachelors’ degree in 1991 at The Evergreen State College and completed his studies in Geographical Information Science at the University of Washington in 2006. Furthermore, He completed a Master’s of Science in Marine Environmental Protection/Marine Ecology with a “Distinction” from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom.

Bill Ward, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program - Bill Ward joined Ecology’s Water Quality Program in 1992 to write rules and waste discharge permits for fish hatcheries and net-pen rearing facilities.  He transferred to the Environmental Assessment Program in 1998 to do freshwater monitoring studies.  He received his B.S. in Fisheries at the University of Washington in 1978. He is now part of the Ambient River and Stream Water Quality monitoring program.  His primary responsibilities are to: write and update methods, write and review monitoring plans, train new staff, evaluate new equipment, do sampler audits, and oversee the statewide Ambient continuous temperature monitoring work.

Paul Anderson, Dept of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program – Paul received a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from Western Washington University in 2002.  Started at Ecology in 2002 with the Environmental Assessment Program and has worked on water quality projects ranging from toxics to bacteria.


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