The Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s Monitoring Panel coordinates and prioritizes the ongoing assessment of habitat restoration efforts. The goals are to address the following questions developed by the board and the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office:

  1. Are restoration treatments having the intended effects on local habitats and their use by salmon?
  2. Are some treatments more effective than others at achieving specific results?
  3. Can monitoring results be used to improve the design of future projects?

Panel Members

Pete Bisson, U.S. Forest Service

Mr. Bisson is an emeritus scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. In addition, he operates a consulting service. For 19 years early in his career, he was an aquatic biologist for the Weyerhaeuser Company in Tacoma, Washington. Then, he joined the Forest Service, where his studies included fish populations, stream habitats and food webs, riparian zones, and a management issues related to aquatic ecosystems. Mr. Bisson has served as president of the North Pacific International Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (now the Washington-British Columbia Chapter) and president of the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society. He received the Rise To The Future and Jim Sedell Research Achievement Awards from the Forest Service, the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award from the Federation of Fly Fishermen, and the Award of Excellence (Western Division) and Worthy Coelacanth (Washington-British Columbia Chapter) Awards from the American Fisheries Society. He co-chairs the Monitoring Panel for the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Mr. Bisson received a bachelor of arts in environmental biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in fisheries from Oregon State University. 

Ken Currens, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Leska Fore, Puget Sound Partnership

Leska Fore has more than 25 years of experience in the statistical design and evaluation of monitoring programs. She joined the Puget Sound Partnership in 2012 and works with regional partners to share information about the effectiveness of recovery actions to restore salmon populations and habitat, reduce stormwater pollution, and protect shellfish beds. As president of her company, Statistical Design, she developed monitoring protocols and sampling designs to measure the health of plant, invertebrate, and fish communities in lakes, streams, bays, and coral reefs. She has worked with federal and state agencies in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, and the Virgin Islands; tribes in the Pacific Northwest; and local jurisdictions in Puget Sound to transform data into actionable information. Ms. Fore has served as an associate editor and manuscript referee for a dozen scientific journals. She graduated from Brown University with a bachelor of arts degree in biology and has an master of science degree in quantitative ecology and resource management from the University of Washington and a master of arts degree in organizational development from Seattle University.

Tracy Hillman, BioAnalysts, Inc.

Dr. Tracy Hillman is an Ecological Society of America-certified senior ecologist and chief executive officer of BioAnalysts, Inc. Within his 33 years of experience, he has studied the effects of hatcheries and land-use activities such as forestry, grazing, mining, and hydroelectric development on streams and fish. He has authored more than 200 scientific reports, including biological assessments and evaluations, recovery plans, and technical reports for habitat conservation plans and biological opinions. Dr. Hillman has several years of experience designing, implementing, and managing projects on fish and aquatic ecology. He is an expert in monitoring, hatchery evaluations, fish and habitat sampling, population dynamics, winter ecology, experimental design and statistical analysis, and animal behavior.

Stacy Polkowske, Washington Department of Ecology

Ms. Polkowske works in the Environmental Assessment Program at the Department of Ecology where she oversees the statewide watershed health monitoring program as well as multiple effectiveness monitoring studies. Her expertise in monitoring study designs and practices includes project implementation monitoring and metric reporting, multiple-scaled effectiveness monitoring strategies, ambient and continuous water quality and flow monitoring, biological sampling, and statistical status and trends approaches. She has worked in the salmon recovery field for more than 13 years as a watershed technical specialist, habitat restoration biologist, and fish passage biologist and brings this multi-faceted experience to the panel. Ms. Polkowske holds a bachelor of arts degree in environmental biology from the University of Montana and a master of science degree in environmental sciences with an emphasis on water resources from Oregon State University.

Jeanette Smith, Pacific Watershed Institute

Ms. Smith has more than 20 years of experience in watershed analysis and evaluation as an aquatic ecologist, with 15 of those years specifically focused on salmonid habitat analysis, monitoring, and restoration. As principal scientist with Pacific Watershed Institute, she was part of the team that developed the first watershed assessment modules for the Washington Department of Natural Resources and went on to develop and implement further fisheries and riparian habitat modules for assessment protocols for tribal entities via the Environmental Protection Agency. Much of her restoration and assessment work focuses on helping clients coordinate their efforts across ownership boundaries. Ms. Smith holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a master of science degree from the School of Fisheries at the University of Washington, where her research focused on the interactions of riparian and stream habitat in relation to salmonid habitat structure and function.

Micah Wait, Wild Fish Conservancy

Mr. Wait, an ecologist, is the conservation director for the Wild Fish Conservancy. He has developed, managed, and monitored floodplain, estuary, and near-shore research and restoration projects for more than 18 years at the conservancy. His work has included the restoration of the Dosewallips estuary and floodplain in Dosewallips State Park, the Stillwater floodplain restoration on the Snoqualmie River, and multi-year assessments of near-shore habitat use by juvenile salmonids in Admiralty Inlet, Grays Harbor, and Hood Canal.