Reclaiming the Sierra

2012 Speakers

Speakers from Reclaiming the Sierra 2012:  Green $olutions to Abandoned Mines, May 3-5 2012

William Agster is a Senior Construction Manager with Golder Associates, Inc. in Denver, CO.  Mr. Agster specializes in total construction project management for the installation of both active and passive water treatment systems in the mining, oil and gas, and industrial sectors.  He spent almost one year in total time in Grass Valley during the design and installation of the Empire Mine passive treatment system, thoroughly enjoying it and reports Grass Valley is high on his “retirement location” list.

Charles Alpers, Ph.D., has an undergraduate degree in geology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of California, Berkeley.  For the past two decades he has been a Research Chemist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Sacramento where his work has focused on environmental problems related to abandoned mine lands. In addition to his work on acid mine drainage from copper mines including Iron Mountain and Penn Mine, he has led several investigations of mercury contamination and bioaccumulation associated with past mining of gold and mercury in the Coast Ranges, the Trinity Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada.

Max Busnardo, M.S., is an ecologist specializing in ecosystem restoration.  He is a senior manager within H. T. Harvey & Associate’s ecological restoration division.  Building on 17 years of professional experience, Max’s restoration expertise extends across a wide variety of California habitats including riparian, wetland, oak woodland, and chaparral/coastal scrub plant communities.  His work has included habitat restoration at several highly impacted mines, quarries, and landfills including Penn Mine (Sierra Nevada foothills, CA), Leona Quarry (Oakland, CA), and landfills within The Presidio of San Francisco (CA).

Tim Callaway, Shasta Gold Corp

Shelly Covert is the Nisenan Tribal Council Secretary and Director of Culture and Public Relations.  Shelly can be found at the forefront of Tribal affairs acting as liaison between the Tribal community, Tribal Council and the local non-native community. Traditional use of plant, food and medicine gathering brings the Nisenan into direct contact with pesticides and pollutants. Thus, the environmental health impact becomes of deep relevance to Ms. Covert as she bridges the traditionalists in the Tribe with modern environmental issues.

Tim Crough, Nevada Irrigation District

Tony DeRiggi, M.D., Physicians for Social Responsibility

Paul Eger is a senior engineer with Golder Associates. He specializes in passive treatment of mining influenced water, waste management, reclamation and regulatory issues. Before joining Golder in 2011, he was a principal engineer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Lands and Minerals, where for over 30 years he worked with environmental issues related to mining. Paul has been involved with ITRC for 10 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. Paul is a registered professional engineer.

Steve Evans coordinates Friends of the River’s Wild & Scenic Rivers program. Steve was hired by Friends of the River in 1988 has more than 35 years of conservation policy experience in public lands and resource issues. He has played a key role in the legislative expansion of the federal and state Wild & Scenic Rivers Systems in California. Steve is an avid hiker, rafter, and outdoor photographer.

Andy Fecko, Placer County Water Agency

Ellison Folk is a Partner with the legal firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, where she has worked since 1990. Ms. Folk represents community groups, public agencies, and environmental organizations on a wide range of environmental and land use issues, including CEQA, Proposition 65, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and general plan and zoning law. She received her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, and she also holds a Master’s in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Folk graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1984.

Leah Gardner graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Restoration Ecology and a Master’s in Plant Geography.  For the past seven years, she has been working for the California Department of Conservation as a botanist and restoration ecologist in the Reclamation Unit of the Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR).  As part of reviewing mine reclamation plans, her position requires her to travel around the state to inspect mines and offer technical assistance for the revegetation of mined lands using local native species.  She also gives presentations and writes articles on topics related to mine reclamation, revegetation, and environmental restoration.

Tom Grundy is a community volunteer in Nevada City California, and a board member of Citizens Looking At Impacts of Mining in Grass Valley (CLAIM-GV).  CLAIM’s current focus is the proposed Idaho-Maryland Mine project which would operate inside the city limits of Grass Valley, a town of 10,000 adjacent to Nevada City.  Tom shares the all-volunteer organization’s concerns that area residents are not being presented with the straight complete story or with a fair deal regarding the mine proposal.

Rick Humphreys until his recent retirement, was a Senior Specialist Engineering Geologist with the State Water Resources Control Board, where he worked since 1986.  Mr. Humphreys began specializing in mining issues related to water quality in 1991.  Mr. Humphreys holds both a BS and a MS in Geology.

James Jacobs, P.G., C.H.G., Environmental Bio-Systems, has focused on the evaluation and implementation of remedial treatments of soil and groundwater impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, and heavy metals for environmental consulting companies. Many of the projects relate to in-situ applications, while some include above water or vapor treatments. He is a Fulbright Scholar winning 3 awards in environmental engineering and science teaching post-graduate workshops and a graduate class in environmental assessment and in-situ remediation methods. Mr. Jacobs has bachelors and masters degrees in geology and almost 20 years of experience in in-situ remediation as a project manager and contractor.

John Lane, Teichert Materials

Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, the CEO of The Sierra Fund, is an organizer and advocate with thirty years of experience working in rural communities to promote economic and environmental justice.  She worked with farm workers, farmers and environmentalists to develop pioneering programs to promote organic agriculture and reduce community exposure to pesticides.  While serving as Nevada County Supervisor, Izzy led the fight in the legislature to put the Yuba River into the state’s wild and scenic river system, spearheaded the effort to clean up an abandoned mine in her district, and began a successful five-year campaign to establish the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Izzy conceived of and directs The Sierra Fund’s Mining Initiative.

Stephen McCord, Ph.D., P.E., is President of McCord Environmental. Dr. McCord is a registered Professional Engineer in California and received his graduate degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering from UC Davis. He has over 20 years of consulting, research and teaching experience in the environmental engineering field with projects throughout California, the US, and internationally.   A particular area of focus has been mercury – monitoring, modeling and controlling sources; assessing and cleaning up abandoned mine sites; developing strategic plans; and facilitating stakeholder groups.

David McGuire, M.P.H, a marine biologist and ocean advocate, is Director of the Got Mercury Program of Turtle island Restoration Project.  David is a Research Associate of the Department of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences.  As a captain, dive master and filmmaker, David has explored the world ocean on numerous sailing voyages producing media with an emphasis on ocean awareness. He holds a master’s degree in Environmental Health, has worked in education and public health at the University of California at Berkeley for over a decade, and has published numerous articles on the state of the ocean.

Mike Miller is President and Chief Executive Officer of the last fully functional gold mine in California – the Original Sixteen to One Mine in Alleghany. Mike Miller is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. In 1975, Miller became the sole proprietor of the Morning Glory Gold Mines.  Mike served as a trustee and President of the Sierra County Board of Education (1979 to 1983 trustee; Director in 1976, President in 1983). From 1991 to 1999 he served as a member of the Sierra County Planning Commission (Chairman 1992 and 1993). He is licensed as a California Class A general engineering contractor and is a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. In 1965, Mr. Miller received a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in combined Social Sciences-Economics.

Dan Millsap, P.E., is a Construction Supervisor II with California Department of Parks and Recreation.  Mr. Millsap‘s duties include a full range of project management and construction support activities.  Projects range from architecturally oriented projects to response activities including site characterization, environmental monitoring, work plan development and implementation, evaluation and analysis of response action alternatives, implementation of response actions, long term O&M and reporting.  Over the last several years has been DPR’s primary point of contact for all remedial efforts at Empire Mine SHP.

Valerie Mitchell, Ph.D., is a Toxicologist for the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).  Valerie received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UC Santa Cruz and her PhD in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in respiratory toxicology.  Dr. Mitchell provides toxicological support for DTSC project managers on various sites including former mining sites.  She is the toxicologist for the arsenic bioavailability grant awarded to DTSC by the US EPA.

Carrie Monohan, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. in Forest Engineering and Hydrology in 2004 from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her dissertation work addressed the relationship between water quality in agricultural streams and diminishing salmon habitat. Throughout her graduate program, she was a research assistant to the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Other notable recent positions include Senior River Scientist for the Natural Heritage Institute and project manager and lead scientist for the EPA Brownfields Community Wide Assessment in Nevada City.  Carrie has worked as a consultant to The Sierra Fund since 2007, and was hired as staff in 2010.  Since 2011 she has served as adjunct professor at CSU, Chico.

Jason Muir, GE, QSD, is a Project Manager and Principal at H&K’s Nevada City corporate headquarters, is a registered Civil Engineer and Geotechnical Engineer, and holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He manages H&K’s Environmental Division, and has overseen the assessment of more than 3,000 acres of abandoned mine land. Mr. Muir has obtained Cal/EPA approval for over two dozen site investigations and engineering evaluations under the expedited CERCLA process, including hydrocarbon releases, pesticide residuals and unpermitted waste disposal sites.

Perry Myers, P.E. has worked as an engineer for the Department of Toxic Substances Control since 2000, including six years with the Brownfields and Environmental Restoration Program as a site cleanup project manager.  The mission of the DTSC is to provide the highest level of safety, and to protect public health and the environment from toxic harm.  He currently works in the Special Projects Office providing engineering support to DTSC project managers. Mr. Myers is the manager for DTSC’s study of health risks posed by arsenic at mine scarred lands, which is funded by an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, and has worked on the cleanup of several former mine sites, including the Empire Mine State Historic Park.

Mark Nechodom is the Director of California’s Department of Conservation (DOC). Mark has dedicated his professional life to integrating conservation, regulation and development right where it matters the most: on the land, on the farm, and in the forest. His mission has been to inspire sustainable production and practices while maintaining a sensible balance between economic opportunities, environmental health and human well-being. Mark’s background serves the Department well as he leads DOC’s four divisions, unified by the mission of Managing California’s Working Lands.  Mark earned his doctorate in political science and environmental policy from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he taught for several years.

Sherri Norris has eleven years of experience working as a tribal health and environmental advocate with California Tribes at the local level and at international European Union and United Nations forums.  Sherri has given hundreds of presentations and trainings on the cycle and health effects of mercury on environmental health, risk-reduction strategies and the development of solutions that promote the continuation of eating traditional fish while avoiding toxins.  As Executive Director of the California Indian Environmental Alliance (CIEA) Sherri’s work supports California Tribes by providing technical support and increasing opportunities for Tribes to guide cleanup, restoration and partner in the collaborative work required to reduce toxins in the environment.  Sherri is a member Osage Nation, grew up in Northern California and as a mother herself has been dedicated to theenvironmental health and connections between our environment and the health of our families.  She is a member of The Sierra Fund’s Mining Toxins Working Group of experts, a recipient of the Davis-Putter Scholarship Award for young activists, Mills College Brave Hearted Women Award for dedication to environmental issues and The Sierra Fund’s “Sierra Crest” award in 2010.

James S. Pompy currently heads up the Department of Conservation’s Office of Mine Reclamation, and previously managed the Office of Mine Reclamation’s Mine Reclamation Program for over 24 years. He has provided technical assistance in the review of environmental impact reports and reclamation plans for hundreds of mines in California and has supervised the development of remediation strategies for the several abandoned mine sites, and performed pit design, ore reserve estimation, and reclamation planning.   Mr. Pompy holds a Bachelor’s of Science in biology from the University of South Dakota, a Master’s of Science in mining engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and an MBA from Rice University.

Chauncey B. Poston has been a practicing realtor in Nevada County since 1984.  He is a past President of the Nevada County Association of Realtors as well as past Chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Association. He is the recipient of numerous service awards throughout our community for resource conservation and collaborative leadership.  Mr.Poston will give a brief history of Disclosure Law and what the obligations of real estate agents and sellers are to potential buyers.

Patrick Reynolds, M.S. is an Associate Restoration Ecologist in H.T. Harvey & Associates’ Sacramento Office and has more than 20 years of habitat restoration experience.  He works on all aspects of the habitat restoration process including conceptual restoration planning, detailed restoration plans and specifications, restoration construction and long-term restoration monitoring.  Pat has restoration experience in numerous habitat types including riparian, wetland, oak woodland and grassland habitats, among many others.  He particularly enjoys complex restoration projects including harsh sites associated with mine reclamation.

Stephen Reynolds, CEG, CHG, is currently working as a Senior Engineering Geologist in the Forestry and Watershed Geology Group of the California Geological Survey.  He has over 30 years experience in water resources and environmental clean-up and restoration.  Projects include water supply – water rights involving surface – ground water interaction, soil and ground-water contamination remediation, abandoned mine assessment and reclamation, stream restoration, and erosion and sedimentation assessment and remediation.

Elyssa Rosen, Pew Environment Group, Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining

Don Ryberg has served as Executive Director of the Tsi-Akim Maidu non-profit corporation, and Chair of the Tsi-Akim Maidu Tribe, since 1997.  Over that time he has led the Tribe in important accomplishments that have contributed to re-vitalizing his tribe, devastated over 150 years ago by the gold rush on their traditional lands in the Sierra. Born third in a family of seven children in Quincy, the family moved to Nevada City in the mid-1950s.  Don has made his living as a timber feller and logger, running a successful business for more than 30 years.

Robert Shibatani is a snowmelt hydrologist with almost 30 years of experience in empirical hydrology, watershed resource management, and systems/reservoir operations.  He is a noted expert in long-range California water supply development and an acknowledged international practitioner in climate change hydrology.  Mr. Shibatani is the CEO of The SHIBATANI GROUP, Inc., a hydrology specialty firm, working with public/private water interests, international banking institutions, and local/national governments in SE Asia, Central Asia, EU, and western U.S.

Fraser Shilling, Ph.D., is a researcher at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California Davis. Fraser’s three main areas of research are: environmental pollution and policy, transportation & landscape ecology, and indicator system for whole system condition reporting. He is Co-Director of the Road Ecology Center and member of the Environmental Justice Project and of the Information Center for the Environment.

Ralph Silberstein is president of Grass Valley organization CLAIM-GV (Citizens Looking at Impacts of Mining) and is also a former Board member of Wolf Creek Community Alliance and strong supporter of local environmental causes.   Ralph lives Grass Valley where he served on the Planning Commission for two years.  He is a software engineer by profession—and owns a local software consulting business.

Timothy Tsukamoto, Ph.D., has a B.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno where he was also a Research Professor.  Tim is currently manager of TKT Consulting, and Director of Technology at Ionic Water Technologies.  He has worked in mining over 24 years and has presented and published over 40 technical papers and presentations.  He currently provides consulting and design to private and public clients throughout North America and develops AMD treatment and prevention technologies.

Rick Weaver is a hydrologist for the U.S. Forest Service on the Tahoe National Forest (TNF), where he is the leader of the Minerals, Geology and Abandoned Mine Lands Programs.  Rick is also the TNF’s On Scene Coordinator (OSC) and is responsible for the oversight of environmental site assessments and mine cleanups that are conducted under the Forest Service’s authority as a “lead agency” under CERCLA. Rick has a BS degree in Physical Science with an emphasis in hydrology and a minor in geology from Chico State University.

Gregory Weisswasser, N.D., holds a B.S. in Psychology from Michigan State University and a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University. He completed training and board certification as a primary care Naturopathic Doctor.  Dr. Weisswasser became licensed in California in 2005 and opened a clinic, Whitewater Naturopathic Medicine, in Grass Valley where he practices today with his wife with a focus on primary care and physical medicine.  He is a sitting state board member appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the California Naturopathic Medicine Committee.

Justin Wood graduated from Indiana University in 2007, with a degree in Geography and a concentration in atmospheric science and hydrology. He worked for two years as an undergraduate researcher in rainfall surface hydrology, and after graduation worked at Eastern Illinois University as a stream technician.  Justin took an AmeriCorps River Scientist position with Sierra Streams Institute in 2008, and has been a staff scientist since 2010 leading salmon habitat restoration projects, hydrological monitoring, and field assessments.

Kendra Zamzow, Ph.D., is an environmental geochemist and the Alaska representative for the Center for Science in Public Participation. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno and a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Humboldt State University, California. At UNR she operated a sulfate-reducing field bioreactor treating mine water discharge at an abandoned copper mine Superfund site, and provided the laboratory water chemistry analysis for sulfate, metals, and alkalinity. Bioreactor research examined utilization of industrial waste as feed for bacteria, sulfide toxicity in bacteria, and biological removal of sulfate and metals to MCL guidelines.