waskington state lake images

Board and Committees



President: Rob Zisette
President Elect: Jen Oden
Past President: Sally Abella
Secretary: Joan Hardy
Treasurer: Beka Stiling


  • Shannon Brattebo
  • Matt Colston
  • Paula Cracknell
  • Will Hobbs
  • Katie Ruthenberg
  • Avery Shinneman
  • Angela Strecker
  • Mark Sytsma
  • Wafa Tafesh
  • Josh Wozniak



Committee Members:
Sally Abella (lead), Matt Colston, Mark Sytsma


Committee Members:
Katie Ruthenberg (Lead), Rob Zisette, Jen Oden, Marisa Burghdoff


Committee Members:
Sally Abella (lead), Matt Colston, Will Hobbs, Wafa Tafesh, Jen Oden, Josh Wozniak, Drew Stang


Committee Members:
Jen Oden (lead), Rob Zisette, Sally Abella, Shannon Brattebo, Katie Ruthenberg


Committee Members:
Mark Sytsma (Lead), Matt Colston, Angela Strecker, Paula Cracknell, Will Hobbs, Joan Hardy, Shannon Brattebo


Angela Strecker (Lead), Mark Sytsma, Beka Stiling, Avery Shinneman, Joan Hardy

HOA Grant Exploration/Western Conference:
Sally Abella (Lead), Angela Strecker, Paula Cracknell, Avery Shinneman, Joan Hardy, Katie Ruthenberg, Rob Zisette

Financial Review:
Beka Stiling (Lead), Jen Oden, Rob Zisette

Volunteer Monitoring:
Will Hobbs (Lead), Wafa Tafesh, Josh Wozniak, Avery Shinneman, Paula Cracknell


Rob Zisette, 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.

Jen Oden, President-Elect (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.

Sally Abella, President (2018-2021)

Sally Abella has had a long career in limnology and freshwater ecology, retiring in 2015 after 15 years from King County where she held a position in Water and Land Resources as the lead scientist for freshwater assessment and manager of the Lake Stewardship Program. Before that, Sally worked for 25 years as a research scientist on a long-term study of Lake Washington and its watershed. Her specialties on lake issues include water quality, shoreline effects, paleolimnology, phytoplankton community structure, and toxic cyanobacterial blooms. Other water-related investigations have included watershed contributions to lake issues, bacterial source tracking, shoreline development and consequences, and restoration actions. Sally’s other interests include canoeing and kayaking, gardening, hiking (while birding and botanizing!), photography, and knitting socks.

Joan Hardy, Secretary (2019-2021)

JoanJoan Hardy has worked on toxics and toxins for the past 25 years as a toxicologist for Washington Department of Health (Health). In the 1990’s, interest in toxic cyanobacteria was increasing and Joan worked in partnership with PLU, SU, and Ecology to investigate toxins in lakes and develop outreach and education materials on harmful algal blooms (HABs). Later, Joan developed recreational standards for four freshwater biotoxins that are integrated into a lake management protocol developed by Health. Currently, she is working in partnership with WSU, OSU, and UW-Tacoma on issues associated with toxic cyanobacteria. Prior to working with Health, Joan worked for two years with Ecology’s Water Quality Program, two years as a post-doctoral fellow with Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, and has a MS (Limnology) and PhD (aquatic toxicology) from the School of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Washington.

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

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).

Matt Colston, Director (2020-2022)

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.

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.

Katie Ruthenberg, Director (2019-2021)

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.


Avery Shinneman, Director (2017-2021)

Avery Shinneman is a lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Bothell campus. Originally from the land of 10,000 lakes (Minnesota), Avery has a B.A. in Geology and Environmental Studies from Macalester College, and a PhD in Geology from the University of Minnesota where she worked at the UMN Limnological Research Center. Her teaching is focused on getting students to explore landscapes and environmental changes, particularly around freshwater, through fieldwork and community-based research. Her research interests focus on using paleolimnology and biotic indices to examine environmental change over time. Her favorite place to be is in a canoe, with anywhere accessible by skis a close second.


Angela Strecker, Director (2019-2021)

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.

Mark Systma, Director (2019-2021)

Mark Sytsma is an Emeritus Professor of Environmental Science and Management at Portland State University where he taught and conducted research in limnology and invasive species management for 25 years. He has a PhD from the University of California, Davis, and a Masters in Environmental Engineering and Science from the UW.  He founded and served as director of the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs at PSU and served multiple terms as director, newsletter editor, and president of the Oregon Lakes Association.  He was also a founding member of the Oregon Invasive Species Council and served multiple terms as its chair. Following retirement in 2018 he moved to Whidbey Island where he serves on the Whidbey Island Conservation District board and is cooperating with the County on developing a lake management program for Whidbey Island lakes.

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.


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