What is PARC’s Federal Agencies Steering Committee?
The Federal Agencies Steering Committee, or FASC, is comprised of representatives from 11 federal agencies. The FASC operates under a Memorandum of Understanding , the purpose of which is to provide a framework for cooperation and coordination in achieving the objectives of the FASC , and in matters relating to the conservation of amphibians, reptiles, and their habitats. The Committee provides a unified forum to facilitate herpetofauna communication and management among federal partners through the PARC network, and assists in implementing the PARC Strategic Plan. It is co-chaired by two voluntary representatives from member agencies. Co-chairs rotate on an offset two-year basis. FASC Co-chairs also serve as members on PARC’s Joint National Steering Committee, which is the governing body of PARC. The FASC conducts monthly coordination calls and meets annually.
What does the FASC do?
- Assists with strategic planning and priority setting for PARC, FASC, and our agencies.
- Facilitates cross-agency collaboration for conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles.
- Shares emerging issues and opportunities related to amphibian and reptile conservation with other federal agencies on the FASC.
- Contributes to the salary and benefits of the National Federal Coordinator and to various PARC conservation actions.
Who is on the FASC?
Dionne Orr is a Staff Officer/Wildlife Biologist for USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Service’s Operational Support Staff in the agency’s headquarters in Riverdale Maryland. Her emphasis is Threatened/Endangered Species, Migratory Birds, Section 7 Consults, Invasive Species and Aquaculture. Prior to her current position, Dionne served as the Wildlife Services (WS) liaison with Nebraska Department of Roads, assisting them with migratory bird conservation, threatened/endangered species protection and wildlife damage management; with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Iowa as a Soil Conservationist specializing in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Wetland Reserve Program, and Environmental Quality Incentives Program; and as a WS airport biologist in Nebraska. She also proudly served in the US Air Force in the medical field. Dionne has a BS in Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Casey Burns is the State Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species Program Lead for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Anchorage, Alaska. Casey coordinates statewide inventory and monitoring, collaborates on habitat management with the State and other Federal agencies, and provides BLM-wide coordination on pollinators. Prior to his current position, Casey served as the NRCS State Biologist in Salt Lake City, Utah, focusing on habitat management on agricultural land, sage grouse conservation, pollinator conservation, and wetland and riparian restoration. He has also held positions as a NRCS Biologist in Somis, California and as a BLM Wildlife Biologist in Barstow, California. Casey has BA degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from Drury University and a MS in Conservation Biology from University of Missouri–St. Louis.
Dave Hu is a National Fisheries Biologist for the BLM in Washington, D.C. Prior to working for the BLM, Dave served as Forest Fisheries biologist for the US Forest Service in southwest Washington State, and as Habitat Restoration Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in California. He has a MS in Entomology, and BS degrees in Wildlife Science and General Biology from New Mexico State University. Dave has published several papers on spider communities of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Paul Makela is a State Wildlife Biologist and Program Lead for the BLM in Idaho. Prior to his current position, Paul worked for the BLM in Arizona, Idaho, and Wyoming, and with the US Forest Service in Michigan. Paul has over 30 years of experience working with amphibians and reptiles throughout his career including surveys, collaborative monitoring, environmental DNA, genetics and training. He has a MS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana and a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan.
Alison Dalsimer is a Department of Defense (DoD) Natural Resources Program Manager with nearly 30 years of experience, most of which working for the DoD. Prior to her current position Alison served in DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, and as the Legacy Program Coordinator. She also worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Alison has undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology and a Master’s degree in Public Policy with an Environmental Law and Economics track. Alison completed extensive coursework through the USDA Graduate School and Audubon Naturalist Society. She has been involved with PARC to varying degrees since the 1999 formative meeting in Atlanta.
Robert (Rob) Lovich is a Senior Natural Resource Specialist for the US Navy in San Diego, California, and has been studying amphibians and reptiles throughout the southwest for nearly 20 years. Rob serves as Program Director for DoD Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), as Assistant Editor of Herpetological Conservation and Biology, and is a member of the Herpetologists’ League Conservation Committee. Rob has several dozen publications and co-published the book, Lizards of the American Southwest. Rob has a BS in Zoology from the University of Hawaii, and a MS and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from Loma Linda University.
Chris Petersen is a Senior Natural Resources Specialist for the US Navy in Norfolk, Virginia. Prior to his current position, Chris has worked as a Natural Resource Specialist in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic’s Environmental business line, as an intern in the Navy’s Professional Development Center Program, and a Research Associate for the Old Dominion Research Foundation. Chris has a BS and MS in Biological Sciences from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and is a graduate of the Navy’s Leadership Development Program. Chris has several publications in scientific journals, conducted dozens of technical presentations at workshops and conferences, and received numerous recognitions and awards. He is currently serving on the Board of Trustees for the Herpetologists’ League. Chris serves as the National Representative for DoD PARC and was a lead author of the Strategic Plan for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Management on Department of Defense Lands.
US Army Corps of Engineers
Will Fields is an ecologist with the Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois. His current research is developing decision support tools for managing threatened and endangered species, and providing better information to guide land acquisition programs that can benefit diverse taxa. He has previously worked to assess the demography and dispersal of rare amphibians and to understand how the spatial structure of habitat networks affects amphibian populations. Will has a BS in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University and a PhD in Zoology from North Carolina State University.
Environmental Protection Agency
Biography and photo coming soon.
Farm Service Agency
Entering his 28th year with USDA, David has served with the Southern Region of the US Forest Service, state and private forestry, and more recently with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), in its National Headquarters. David currently serves as the forestry and wildlife specialist with the FSA Conservation and Environmental Programs Division, spending the majority of his time helping the agency determine policy for the CRP. David received a BS in Forestry and Wildlife Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Jenny Schultz is a Fishery Biologist for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Washington D.C., and focuses on the listing and critical habitat designations for sea turtles under the Endangered Species Act. Prior to her current position in NMFS, Jenny worked as an academic researcher at the University of Hawaii and as a forensic scientist for the Illinois State Police. Jenny has a BS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Hawaii.
National Park Service
Tara Chestnut serves as an ecologist for Mount Rainier National Park. Prior to her current position Tara served as a hydrology co-lead for the US Geological Survey (USGS) Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) Program for the Pacific Northwest region in Portland, Oregon. Tara has master’s degrees in Aquatic Ecology from Portland State University and Environmental Policy from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She also has a PhD from Oregon State University. Tara served on the board of the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology for 11 years, which was home to Northwest PARC’s predecessor, the Pacific Northwest Amphibian and Reptile Consortium.
Biography and photo coming soon.
Jennifer Anderson Cruz
is a state biologist for the USDA NRCS in Champaign, Illinois. Prior to her current position Jennifer served as NRCS state biologist in Georgia and in Iowa. Jennifer holds a BS in Environmental Science from Marycrest International University in Iowa, a MS in Biology from Western Illinois University, and studied community and landscape ecology in Iowa State University’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology doctoral program. Jennifer has experience and expertise in the restoration and management of wetland, grassland, forest, savanna, and stream ecosystems, plant community ecology, landscape ecology, and herpetology.
Mark Chase is Chief of the Natural Resource Program Center for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins, Colorado. Prior to his current position, Mark served as Chief of the Division of Refuge Law Enforcement in headquarters and has worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service at various field stations including: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Yuma, Arizona; Little River NWR in southeast Oklahoma; Izembek NWR in Cold Bay, Alaska; Kenai NWR in Soldotna, Alaska; and on the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District in Minnesota. Mark has a BS in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University.
Peter Dratch is the lead biologist for the Inventory & Monitoring program of the National Wildlife Refuge System. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado where he previously managed the Endangered Species Program of the National Park Service. Peter was one of the scientists for Fish and Wildlife Service that started the National Wildlife Forensics Laboratory and he later worked in the office of International Affairs. His undergraduate degree is in geology/biology from the Evergreen State College in Washington, and his PhD in wildlife genetics is from Edinburgh University in Scotland.
serves as the US Forest Service National Wildlife Program Leader in Washington, DC. Prior to his current position, Brian worked for the US Forest Service as a wildlife biologist throughout the western US and Alaska. He has also worked for The Nature Conservancy in southeast Arizona, and led birdwatching tours in Arizona, Southern California, Sonora, and the Northern Rockies, and also conducted field studies in Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Alberta, Canada, and Sonora, Mexico. Brian has a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from the University of Arizona and a MS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana.
Kevin Leftwich is a Regional Aquatic Ecologist for the US Forest Service, Southern Region in Asheville, North Carolina. Kevin has worked as an aquatic ecologist for the US Forest Service for the past 23 years specializing in aquatic ecosystems and has over 30 years work experience with aquatic organisms and their habitat. Kevin has a graduate degree in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech and is actively involved in PARC. He works closely with PARC and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC, the non-profit organization that supports PARC) to implement on-the-ground conservation projects for amphibians and reptiles.
Mike Adams is a Research Ecologist and National Lead for ARMI for USGS at the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Corvallis, Oregon. His research focuses on providing useful information related to amphibian conservation for resource management agencies. Research topics include invasive species, climate change, grazing, wetland mitigation, forest management, restoration, and disease.
Jen Williams has been the National Federal Coordinator for PARC for 4 years and is stationed in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her position is hosted by the National Park Service, but she serves all 11 agencies on the FASC. She previously worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a Regional Public Hunting Areas Biologist for 9 years. She has a BS in Biology from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania; an MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State; and a PhD in Forest Resource Science from West Virginia University. Her MS research focused on terrestrial salamanders in forests of Pennsylvania and her PhD was on herpetofauna communities in mountaintop removal mining landscapes of southern West Virginia.