waskington state lake images

Board and Committees



President: Jen Oden
President Elect: Matt Colston
Past President: Rob Zisette
Secretary: Katie Ruthenberg
Treasurer: Beka Stiling


  • Shannon Brattebo
  • Matt Colston
  • Paula Cracknell
  • Curtis DeGasperi
  • Will Hobbs
  • Katie Ruthenberg
  • Drew Stang
  • Angela Strecker
  • Katie Sweeney
  • Wafa Tafesh
  • Jeremy Walls
  • Josh Wozniak



Committee Members:
Matt Colston, Cutris DeGasperi, Drew Stang


Committee Members:
Jen Oden, Shannon Brattebo, Katie Ruthenberg


Committee Members:
Wafa Tafesh, Drew Stang, Will Hobbs


Committee Members:
Matt Colston, Jen Oden, Rob Zisette, Shannon Brattebo, Curtis DeGasperi, Jeremy Walls


Committee Members:
Jen Oden, Will Hobbs, Jeremy Walls, Angela Strecker, Shannon Brattebo


Angela Strecker, Beka Stiling, Katie Ruthenberg

Western Conference:
Katie Ruthenberg, Rob Zisette, Wafa Tafesh, Paula Cracknell, Katie Sweeney

Financial Review:
Beka Stiling, Jen Oden, Rob Zisette


Jen Oden, President (2020-2023)

Jen Oden

Jen Oden is a Water Quality Specialist for Snohomish County’s lake management program, working a variety of lake management issues including; volunteer water quality monitoring, lake restoration applications, aquatic plant and toxic algae issues, and citizen outreach programs.  Previously, Jen has worked on NPDES related water quality programs for the County, including Stormwater monitoring, TMDL monitoring for streams, freshwater benthic macro-invertebrate monitoring, and the illicit discharge detection and elimination program.  Jen has a Bachelor of Science from Oregon State University in Environmental Science. In her free time, Jen enjoys knitting, watercolor painting and spending time with her husband and son.

Matt Colston, President-elect (2021-2024)

Island County Dept. of Natural Resources
Matt Colston is a Surface Water Quality Specialist and the Lone Lake Algae Control Program Manager.  He graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in Biology in 2015 and is currently studying for a Master of Natural Resources at Oregon State University. Island County’s current work in Lone Lake is trying to help provide outreach to the citizens with in the algae management area and help the citizens in the area decide which methods do they want to utilize to minimize CyanoHAB’s. Matt has worked in the onsite sewage program bringing experience from the health department to the natural resources world.

Katie Ruthenberg, Secretary (2021-2023)

Katie Ruthenberg is a Water Quality Analyst for Snohomish County’s lake management program. She manages a group of 60 volunteer lake monitors, provides technical assistance to landowners about aquatic plants and toxic algae, and supports the LakeWise program to help residents reduce nutrient pollution. She has previous experience working with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Field Camp to teach undergraduate students geologic mapping in the Southern Death Valley Fault Zone. She earned her B.S. in Geology from the University of Puget Sound where she learned the foundations of limnology and studied heavy metal contamination in Pearce County. Katie enjoys endlessly throwing the ball for her dog and making pizza on a pizza stone.

Beka Stiling, Treasurer (2020-2022)

Beka Stiling is a graduate student in the UW’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences researching sources of carbon to mountain lake food webs. Beka’s persistent interest in science and stewardship inspired her to transition from a career in health-care administration to freshwater ecology research. She has two undergraduate degrees, the second focused on freshwater ecology completed at UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (2014). Beka has worked on a wide variety of research projects throughout Oregon and Washington. She is interested in freshwater ecosystem function, in particular the interactions between habitat types and links between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Originally from Madison Wisconsin, Beka transplanted to Seattle in 2002.

Director Biographies

Rob Zisette, Past-President (2019-2022)

Rob Zisette is a Principal Aquatic Scientist at Herrera Environmental Consultants in Seattle, Washington and the president of Friends of Green Lake. He has worked on lakes for over 35 years since completing his master’s thesis about cyanobacteria blooms in Pine Lake under the direction of Dr. Gene Welch at the University of Washington. Rob first became a WALPA director in 1992, was a WALPA president in ~2003, presents at every WALPA conference he can, and is excited to have jumped on the WALPA board again.

Shannon Brattebo, Driector (2020-2022)

Shannon has been an environmental engineer and limnologist for Tetra Tech, Inc. in Seattle and Spokane, WA since 1999. Shannon’s work has focused on lake and reservoir water quality, restoration, and management both in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation. Shannon has a B.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Seattle University and an M.S.C.E in Civil/Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington. Shannon has been a member of NALMS since 2001 and is a past board member and secretary of the Washington Lakes Protection Association (WALPA). Shannon is also a past Region 10 NALMS Director (2015 – 2018).

Paula Cracknell, Driector (2020-2022)

Paula is an Aquatic Resource Specialist for Thurston County Public Works where she manages various projects with lake management and special use districts, river restoration projects and aquatic noxious weed control. Paula also teaches aquatic toxicology as adjunct faculty with her course focus on algal toxins in fresh and saltwater systems and land use characteristics that impact watersheds. Paula earned her M.E.S. from the Evergreen State College where she quantified a decade of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) transport from river systems to the Salish Sea using abiotic factors and land use as a comparable driver for DOC transport. Paula enjoys helping people set up volunteer water quality monitoring groups and sharing knowledge about aquatic systems that makes people excited and protective of their watersheds. Paula also enjoys kayaking, swimming, and scuba as often as possible, as well as playing music with her children.


Will Hobbs, Director (2018-2022)

Will is a senior environmental scientist with the Washington State Department of Ecology, Environmental Assessment Program. He received his B.Sc. in Physical Geography from the University of British Columbia, M.Sc. in Limnology and Environmental Science at the University of Dublin, Ireland, and his PhD in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Ecology, Will was a research scientist in freshwater and paleo-ecology at the University of Nebraska, University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota. His current scientific interests include: diatom ecology, ecological changes in lakes over decadal timescales, cyanotoxins, and the transport and bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals in rivers and lakes. With Ecology, Will works primarily on targeted source identification studies for toxic contaminants in freshwater and oversees the agency’s participation in the National Lakes Assessment with the USEPA.


Angela Strecker, Director (2019-2022)

Angela Strecker is the Director of the Institute for Watershed Studies and faculty in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Western Washington University.  Prior to arriving at WWU, she was faculty in the Department of Environmental Science and Management at Portland State University and Director of the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs.  She completed her Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Biology at the University of Regina and a Ph.D. at Queen’s University in Biology.  Her research interests fall into several interconnected categories that revolve around the basic question of what influences biodiversity and ecosystem function at different spatial scales in aquatic systems.  To do this, her lab studies anthropogenic stressors in freshwater ecosystems, such as invasive species, climate change, habitat connectivity, and contaminants.  Ultimately, this work leads to the question of how ecosystem functions and services may be affected by human activities.  In general, she uses the combined approach of field surveys, small-scale and large-scale experiments, and statistical modeling to test hypotheses.  She also collaborates with social scientists to better understand complex socio-ecological systems.

Wafa Tafesh, Director (2020-2022)

Wafa is a University of Washington graduate and has worked on various projects focused on environmental public health. She began her career as an intern with the Seattle non-profit, The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, hosting Rain2River walks in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Since then she has worked with the Washington Department of Health as a field sampler (oysters) during the Vibrio parahaemolyticus season and as Technical Program Advisor for the Office of Drinking Water. She has worked with Recology Cleanscapes promoting stormwater and hazardous waste compliance. Most recently, she acted as a Health and Environmental Investigator in King County’s Hazardous Waste Management Program. Wafa currently works with King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks as a Water Quality Planner. Her work includes water quality sampling, managing water quality data, conducting quality assurance reviews, and assisting with report writing. She also supports the Lake Stewardship Program and assists the Marine & Sediment Assessment unit with data analysis.

Josh Wozniak, Director (2018-2022)

Josh Wozniak is a senior professional wetland scientist with experience studying and restoring terrestrial and aquatic plant communities. He leads the Environmental Sciences division at Parametrix and specializes in technical studies, including rare plant surveys, environmental assessments and critical area reviews. He has worked in and on lakes for decades, focused on macrophyte communities.




Curtis DeGasperi, Director (2021-2023)

I’ve worked in King County’s Science and Data Management Section for the past 20 years focusing on the quality and quantity of freshwater across the lowlands of Puget Sound. I first became interested in lake water quality and management as an undergraduate fortunate enough to spend two summers helping study Irondequoit Bay (Monroe County, NY) and its associated aquatic plants and wetlands. That initial experience led me to an MS from the University of Washington. My thesis project involved a continuation of a long-term study of the effects of a drawdown and alum treatment of Long Lake (Kitsap County, WA). Next, I worked on reforestation projects and water quality issues associated with Lake Chichoj as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Before joining King County, I worked at various environmental consulting firms in the Seattle area. I also taught environmental science classes at Clover Park Technical College and Green River Community College.


Drew Stang, Director (2021-2023)

Drew Stang is an Environmental Scientist at Four Peaks Environmental Science and Data Solutions in Seattle, Washington. He completed his B.Sc. in General Engineering from Seattle Pacific University and his M.Sc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis. Drew focused his thesis research on assessing the impacts of stratification and hypoxia on pelagic fish habitat using a series of deployed instruments and a scientific echosounder. He has a diverse background in lake management, water quality monitoring, underwater acoustics, lake and reservoir mixing, and water quality modeling. Drew is interested in using innovative data acquisition techniques for environmental monitoring to enhance management efforts in lakes and reservoirs. He lives with his wife in Seattle and can often be found fishing, camping, or paddleboarding with family and friends.


Jeremy Walls, Director (2021-2023)

Jeremy is an aquatic scientist with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. His work includes performing data analysis and quality control for the streams monitoring program and conducting microbial source tracking studies with the Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) program to find and fix fecal pollution sources. Jeremy earned his BS and MS in biology from Ball State University, researching physicochemical drivers of cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (cHAB) severity and toxicity. Prior to working for King County, he worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to monitor cHABs in public waters. Additionally, he worked as an aquatic scientist for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to develop and implement water quality standards for surface waters. Outside of work, Jeremy enjoys kayaking, rock climbing, and backpacking.


Katie Sweeney, Director (2021-2023)

Katie Sweeney is an Environmental Scientist at Herrera Environmental Consultants in Portland, OR where she works on various water quality, stormwater and lake management projects. She was born and raised in upstate New York, where she spent her time romping around swamps, woods, meadows and lakeshores, asking “why?”. Katie has a BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in Sustainability from Wells College, which led to a rewarding diversity of ecological work experiences. Katie quickly found a passion for aquatic sciences which included work in limnology, education, wastewater, and fish culture. She found her way west and in 2021 earned her M.S. in Environmental Science from Washington State University- Vancouver, defending her work on the trophic roles of micro-zooplankton during a cyanobacteria bloom in Vancouver Lake. In her free time, Katie lives for snuggles and playtime with her dog Delta, as well as crafting and baking.