The Technical Working Group (TWG) contributed expertise towards developing conservation objectives, management strategies, and damage prevention and compensation planning. Summaries of Technical Working Group meetings are available at EngageCPW.org.
Technical Working Group Members
Scott Becker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wyoming Wolf Coordinator
Scott Becker is the Region 6 Wolf Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) based in Lander, Wyoming. Scott has been involved with large carnivore (grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lion, and wolves) management since 2000 when he began working as a large carnivore biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). Scott switched to strictly wolf management in 2008, working for both WGFD and then the USFWS, where he coordinated and directed wolf management activities around Cody, Wyoming between 2008 and 2012. Scott was the statewide wolf specialist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from 2012 to 2017, where he coordinated and directed field activities related to wolf recovery and management in the state prior to returning to Wyoming to serve in his current role. Scott received his BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Management in 1997 and his MS in 2008, both from the University of Wyoming. His MS research evaluated factors limiting population growth of the north Jackson moose herd in Wyoming.
Alan Bittner, Bureau of Land Management
Deputy State Director, Resources
Alan Bittner serves as the Deputy State Director for Resources and Planning at the BLM State Office in Colorado. The division provides guidance and policy direction to the four districts and ten field offices within BLM Colorado’s 8.3 million acres. The division includes all biologic resources, wild horses, water rights and cultural resource management. In addition, statewide planning guidance and recreation management are led out of the division. Previous to arriving in Colorado Alan most recently served as the Northern California District Manager in Redding, California since 2017 where he oversaw four field offices in a district that stretched from the coast to NW Nevada. Alan served as the Anchorage Field Manager, where he oversaw 24 million acres of BLM-administered public lands in western, south-central, and southeast Alaska. Alan also served as an Assistant Field Manager in Carson City, Nevada for four years where he oversaw the forestry, range, recreation, wildlife and wild horse and burro programs. Alan began his career in Idaho where he worked for the U.S. Forest Service and BLM for 15 years. He has a Bachelor's Degree in biology from Cornerstone University in Michigan and he enjoys getting outdoors with his wife Monique and their two boys.
Stewart Breck, National Wildlife Research Center
Research Wildlife Biologist
Dr. Stewart Breck, Research Wildlife Biologist, is a researcher for the USDA-National Wildlife Research Center and his research is focused on carnivore ecology and behavior and minimizing conflict between carnivores and people. Studies include testing nonlethal methods for preventing conflict, measuring the impact of carnivores on livestock, influence of urban environments on carnivore ecology, and population biology and behavioral ecology of carnivores.
Roblyn Brown, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Wolf Program Coordinator
Roblyn graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in 1993, then moved west as fast as she could. She worked on various carnivore (grizzly bear, mountain lion, lynx) and endangered species projects in CO, MT, ID, and Alberta for various NGOs, states, and federal government before moving to Oregon to monitor bighorn sheep in Hell’s Canyon. For the last 12 years, Roblyn has been working for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) implementing the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. She arrived in Oregon about the time wolves were naturally recolonizing Oregon and has monitored the population as it has grown from 14 to 173 and expanded across the state. She has been the statewide coordinator since 2016, with responsibilities coordinating and directing capture, population monitoring, evidence-based depredation investigations, wolf-conflict response, and information and education.
Wayne East, Colorado Department of Agriculture
Wayne was born in La Junta and is a fifth-generation native Coloradan. Wayne has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and a Master's of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. Wayne has enjoyed a diverse career in wildlife management and has served as the Wildlife Programs Manager at the Colorado Department of Agriculture since 2014. Wayne oversees programs that impact the agriculture and wildlife interface including Chronic Wasting Disease, Aquaculture, and Depredation. Wayne's honors include receiving the 2018 Wildlife Professional of the Year award from the Colorado Trappers and Predator Hunters Association, and the 2020 Friend of the Industry Award from the North American Elk Breeders Association.
Justin Gude, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Research and Technical Services Bureau Chief
Justin Gude has been the Wildlife Research & Technical Services (RTS) Bureau Chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) since 2008. The RTS Bureau consists of wildlife research, health, biometrics, and survey programs, and their work covers a variety of taxa ranging in size from songbirds and bats to moose, in all corners of the state. Justin is responsible for overseeing the work of the RTS Bureau and ensuring integration of the wildlife research and management programs at FWP. Justin has been involved in wolf predator-prey, population dynamics, monitoring, harvest, and depredation research and management for 25 years. He has an M.S. in Fish & Wildlife Management from Montana State University and a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida.
Jonathan Houck, Gunnison County
Jonathan Houck was recently elected to this third term and is chair of the Gunnison County Board of County Commissioners. Prior to serving in his role as commissioner he was Mayor of the City of Gunnison. A 30 year resident of Gunnison and graduate of Western Colorado University, he has spent his professional life as an educator before being elected commissioner.
He is deeply involved and experienced in public lands and wildlife issues. He formed and led the County Coalition for the Gunnison Sage Grouse, a collaborative of 10 southwest Colorado counties and one SE Utah County working to improve habitat and opportunities for recovery of the species. He has worked with numerous regional and statewide stakeholder groups, agricultural producers, conservation organizations and outdoor recreational advocates in his time as commissioner and has been a reliable bridge builder when working on challenging issues.
Mike Jimenez, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wolf Biologist, Retired
Mike Jimenez was a wolf biologist for 30 years, beginning in 1986. He has a master’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana. Most of Jimenez's career was with the USFWS in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. He was a field biologist and the project leader for wolf recovery in Wyoming for 18 years and project leader for the entire northern Rocky Mountains for 5 years. He also served as the wolf project leader for the Nez Perce Tribe to reintroduce wolves into Idaho in 1995/96. Jimenez was also the project leader for the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept. when wolves were briefly delisted in 2008. In addition to field work, his responsibilities included research and management publications in scientific journals, presentations at scientific symposiums and government agencies, articles and presentations to special interest groups, and working directly with the U.S. Dept. of Justice to delist wolves in the NRM. Jimenez retired in 2016.
Grand County Commissioner
Merrit Linke is part of a 5th generation ranch family and Grand County native. He lives on the original 160 acre that was homesteaded in 1883 by his great grandfather. He graduated from Middle Park High School in Granby, from Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, and from the University of Wyoming in 1985 with a BS degree in Secondary Education with a major in Physics and minors in Chemistry and Earth Science. From 1987-2001, he taught all levels of science, mostly chemistry and physics, and coached multiple levels of several sports ranging from 7th-grade girls basketball to intercollegiate rodeo. He started a livestock feed and supplement business in 2001, worked for the livestock nutrition division for an international company and continued with his own feed distribution business until selling it in 2018. Merrit was elected Grand County commissioner in 2012, and was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. He is currently chair of the Board and serving his 3rd term. He also currently serves as Board chair of Club 20; served as CCI Mountain diarist president for 3 years and currently serves as vice president of Middle Park Stockgrowers. He is a member of the Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Council (RAC) and serves as vice-chair of the Grand County Wildfire Council. Since 1999, he has owned and operated a livestock and hay production business in Grand country and continues to operate it today.
Steve Lohr, United States Forest Service
Renewable Resources Director, Rocky Mountain Region
Martin Lowney, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, State Director
Martin Lowney has worked for 34 years as a wildlife damage management biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services program. He has been the state director for the Wildlife Services programs in Colorado, New York, and Virginia and held other positions in Mississippi, Alabama and other states. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society and serves as an editorial advisory board member for The Professional, a news journal published by The Wildlife Society. Martin Lowney earned his Master of Science degree in Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Massachusetts. His job duties have been working with local and state governments, federal agencies, organizations and individuals to develop and implement projects to reduce damage caused by wildlife to protect agriculture, human health and safety, natural resources and property. Martin has broad experience working with the livestock industry to alleviate predation on sheep, goats and cattle from coyotes, bears, mountain lions and wolves. Additionally, he has lead projects for the restoration of shorebirds on the Atlantic coast and other wildlife depredated by native and non-native wildlife. Martin has published two training manuals on managing predation to livestock. Lastly, he has written grants for state wildlife agencies and non-governmental organizations for funds to conduct research on predation or to manage predation on native wildlife species.
Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Idaho Wolf Recovery Manager, Retired
Carter Niemeyer has Bachelor of Science (1970) and Masters (1973) degrees in wildlife biology from Iowa State University. He was a state trapper for the Montana Department of Livestock, and a district supervisor for USDA Wildlife Services in western Montana managing and controlling large predators. He was chosen as the wolf management specialist for USDA Wildlife Services covering the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. In that position, he was responsible for livestock depredation investigation, as well as wolf capture and removal. Niemeyer was a member of the wolf capture team in Canada during reintroduction in the mid-1990s. In 2001 he was recruited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to run the agency’s wolf recovery program in Idaho, and retired in 2006, coincidentally on the same day that wolf management was officially handed over to the state of Idaho. He also has worked on wolf issues in Washington, Oregon and California and Colorado, as well as England, Scotland, France and Kyrgyzstan. He wrote his first memoir, Wolfer, in 2010. His second memoir, Wolf Land was published in 2016. Carter lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife, Jenny.
Eric Odell, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Species Conservation Program Manager
Eric grew up in Colorado and gained a strong appreciation of the outdoors from an early age. He attended Middlebury College in Vermont, traveled extensively for a variety of field jobs and then began graduate school at Colorado State University where he completed his graduate degree in Wildlife Biology. He began working for the Colorado Division of Wildlife in 2000. He has worked for that agency, now Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in a variety of capacities since then - as a Habitat Biologist based in an NRCS field office, as a Conservation Biologist, as the Grassland Coordinator and now as the Species Conservation Program Manager for Carnivores. In this role he directs conservation and management programs to aid in the establishment and protection of native, non-game carnivore species to the state. He is the biological lead for the wolf reintroduction effort for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Mike Phillips, Rocky Mountain Wolf Project
Mike received his M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Alaska in 1986 and his B.Sc., Ecology from the University of Illinois in 1980.
Mike has served as the Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and advisor to the Turner Biodiversity Divisions since he co-founded both with Ted Turner in June 1997. Since inception, the organizations have stood as the most significant effort in the world to redress the extinction crisis through active reintroduction efforts on behalf of imperiled species. Before the Fund and Divisions, Mike worked for the U.S. Department of Interior leading historic efforts to restore red wolves to the southeastern US and gray wolves to the Yellowstone National Park. Mike has also conducted important research on the impacts of oil and gas development on grizzly bears in the arctic, predation costs for gray wolves in Alaska, and dingo ecology in Australia.
In 2006 Mike was elected to the Montana House of Representatives. He served there until elected to the Montana Senate in 2012, which extended through 2020.
John Sanderson, Colorado State University
Director, Center for Collaborative Conservation
John Sanderson is the Director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University. At the Center, John and his staff work to build the capacity of organizations, communities, and future leaders to achieve conservation impact, while applying CSU’s world-class research and education. John has been doing conservation work in the West for over 25 years, including at the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and at The Nature Conservancy, where as Director of Science he led a staff striving to protect land, manage rivers, restore forests, and mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. John earned a B.S. in engineering from Purdue University, an M.S. in botany from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University.
Doug Smith, National Park Service
Senior Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park
Douglas W. Smith PhD is a Senior Wildlife Biologist in Yellowstone National Park. He supervises the wolf, bird and elk programs – formerly three jobs now combined into one under Doug’s supervision. His original job was the Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project which involved the reintroduction and restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. He helped establish this project and position. Doug received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho in 1985. While working toward this degree he became involved with studies of wolves and moose on Isle Royale with Rolf Peterson, which led to long-term involvement (1979-1994) with this study as well as a M.S. degree in Biology under Peterson at Michigan Technological University in 1988. He then moved to the University of Nevada, Reno where he received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology in 1997 under Stephen H. Jenkins. He has published a wide variety of journal articles and book chapters on beavers, wolves, and birds and co-authored four popular books on wolves (The Wolves of Yellowstone & Decade of the Wolf which won the 2005 Montana book award for best book published in Montana) as well as publishing numerous popular articles. The third book, Wolves on the Hunt, came out in May 2016 and his fourth book Yellowstone Wolves came out in December 2020 and summarizes the first 25 years of wolf recovery. He has participated in numerous of documentaries about wolves for National Geographic and British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and recently on CBS 60 Minutes as well as other media and done about 2000 media interviews. He is interviewed widely and speaks often about wolves to audiences all over the world. He also recently gave a TEDx talk on wolves. He is a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team, the Re-Introduction Specialist Group, and Canid Specialist Group for the IUCN. Doug has studied wolves for 42 years. Besides wolves, birds, elk, and beavers, he is an avid canoeist preferring to travel mostly in the remote regions of northern Canada with his wife Christine and their two sons Sawyer and Hawken.
Robin Young, Colorado State University Extension Service
Archuleta County Extension Director, Natural Resources and Agricultural agent
Robin Young is the Archuleta County Extension Director, Natural Resources and Agricultural agent. She works closely with landowners, large and small, to define objectives using holistic methods to reach their goals. She started out her career in Flagstaff, Az. where she attended Northern Arizona University and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry. She worked for the United States Forest Service on the Coconino National Forest for six years before moving to Colorado in 1995. She worked in fire, silviculture, range, and recreation during her time with the USFS and gained a broader knowledge in those resource areas. After moving to Colorado, she ran a private forestry business for 20 years. The primary focus for the business was forest health and fire mitigation. She has also worked as a Conservation District Manager and a range tech for the NRCS.
Robin is in her 11th year with Extension and serves the communities of Archuleta County, the San Juan Basin region, and other communities around the state. She works with collaborative groups in the region and across the state. She served as the lead for the Natural Resources planning and reporting unit that led to a collaboration with the Center For Collaborative Conservation, the Center for Human Carnivore Coexistence, APHIS, and the Warner College of Natural Resources to address Wolf Education in Colorado. They published the Wolf information booklet for the public. She will be facilitating the training efforts for Extension Agents on their needs and the needs of their community members. Her expertise lays with communications and collaborations as a convener and a connector with people.