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a B.S. in Physical Science from Colorado State University.

Joe Rocchio is a wetland ecologist with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP).  Mr. Rocchio’s work at CNHP includes survey and ecological assessment of biologically significant wetlands throughout Colorado since 1999.  Currently, he is developing three ecological integrity assessment tools for Southern Rocky Mountain wetlands: (1) Vegetation Index of Biotic Integrity; (2) Floristic Quality Assessment; and (3) Ecological Integrity Scorecards. Mr. Rocchio’s prior experience comes from environmental consulting where he worked on wetland regulatory issues such as delineation, permitting, mitigation, and monitoring.  Mr. Rocchio received a B.S. in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University (1993) and a M.S. in Ecosystem Analysis from the University of Washington (1998).  His thesis research focused on the success of using donor soils for establishing vegetation in wetland restoration projects.

John Sanderson began working in wetlands while completing his MS degree in the Field Naturalist Program at the University of Vermont.  After finishing the degree, he spent several years working on wetland conservation issues for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.  John is currently completing a Ph.D. in ecology at Colorado State University, and he recently accepted a position with The Nature Conservancy of Colorado.  His interests include hydrology, evapotranspiration, plant ecology, and restoration, and the application of these topics to conservation.

Lynda Saul is the Wetlands Program Manager for the State of Montana.  She has had extensive experience with all water resources, including a stint at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and review of FERC licenses.  Her formal training is in hydrology and she went to school at Tulane University and University of Montana.

Denine Schmitz is a riparian ecologist and adjunct instructor at Montana State University (MSU).  Her research focus is the interdependence of physical and biological components in floodplain ecosystems.  With an M.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences from MSU, Schmitz is actively pursuing collaborative projects with a regional importance.  Current projects include monitoring protocol development of springs in Big Horn Canyon NRA (Montana and Wyoming), an exploration of long-term ecological effects of dam removal, and a review of the effects of invasive plants on watershed hydrology and riparian ecology.  Schmitz is currently teaching an introductory course in GPS applications.  Prior to her tenure at MSU, Schmitz obtained a B.S. in Animal Physiology from UC Davis, taught high school in Colorado, and chaired a local nature association in the Arkansas River valley.  An amazing spouse and two crazy border collies add balance and color to an active professional life.

Dwight K. Shellman, Jr. is the Immediate Past Chair of the US National Ramsar Committee, the national committee that supports U.S. participation in the so-called Ramsar Convention --The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar, 1971). Since 1993 Shellman has been the President and General Counsel of Caddo Lake Institute. The Caddo Lake wetland ecosystem is located on the border between NE Texas and NW Louisiana. The Institute has actively used the Ramsar Convention, and its world-class technical guidance, as unifying themes for community-based local and international programs for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Local community-based accomplishments at Caddo Lake include: Ramsar designation of Caddo Lake (1993) and 1st Enlargement (1996); sponsoring the creation of the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (2000), the 2001 creation of the Caddo Lake Ramsar Wetland Clearinghouse, a site-level Ramsar committee; ongoing planning for the Caddo Lake Regional Ramsar Wetland Science and Visitors Center, local water quality monitoring networks and invasive species control collaborations with state agencies. Shellman has convened several regional workshops to explore local Ramsar applications, as well as numerous wetland ecosystem science workshops and conferences. The Institute’s most ambitious wetland science initiative is the “Caddo Lake Watershed Collaborative”. This project implements Ramsar watershed guidance using protocols and the expertise of The Nature Conservancy’s Fresh Waters Initiative. This

2005 Western Wetland Conference Speaker Biographies   8

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