Ainé Javier

Ainé Javier

Conservation Associate

650.712.7765 x 115

aine@sanmateoRCD.org

Ainé has a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection with minors in Geographic Information Systems and Biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. During her time in San Luis Obispo, Ainé gained experience in wetland conservation, dune restoration, and environmental permitting working at the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District. In this position, Ainé also worked on carbon farm plans, biological monitoring, and irrigation evaluations for local farms. Prior to joining the San Mateo RCD, Ainé worked on the Big Sur Coast monitoring its steelhead population and contributing to efforts aiming to assess salmonid status across California. Ainé is excited to bring her interest and experience in natural resource management to support habitat enhancement and water conservation projects in San Mateo County. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, running, and hiking. 

Amy Kaeser

Amy Kaeser

Senior Conservation Program Manager

650.712.7765 x 121
amy@sanmateoRCD.org

Amy manages the RCD’s Habitat Enhancement program, which works to ensure there are all the quality natural habitats needed to support our diverse local wildlife. This includes projects that restore ancestral fish migration access, improve in-stream habitat, enhance wetlands, restore uplands and grasslands for butterflies and pollinators, and more. Volunteering with her hometown conservation district in high school to monitor water quality in a local stream sparked her interest in watershed ecology and salmon. She went on to obtain a B.S. in Environmental Science & Resource Management from the University of Washington, with a focus in sustainable forest management, soils, and hydrology. Amy previously worked to restore salmon habitat in the Lake Washington-Cedar-Sammamish Watershed in the greater Seattle area and later ran a conservation and recreation nonprofit in San Francisco, connecting people to urban trails and nature while conserving important habitat for urban wildlife. One of her favorite things about working at the RCD is getting to be “boots on the ground” to make meaningful and lasting impact for the local community, wildlife, and environment.

Andrew Hall

Andrew Hall

Senior Conservation Technician

650.712.7765 x 120
andrew@sanmateoRCD.org

Andrew works to find innovative ways to free up water for fish, farms and people and to restore the watersheds that are used by all. Andrew earned a B.A. in Environmental Science from Colorado College and a Master’s degree, with a specialization in Water Resources Management, from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara. His Master’s thesis group project with The Nature Conservancy sought to determine the feasibility of freeing up water for migratory birds and people in the Sacramento Valley by using a variety of mechanisms including water markets and impact investing. Andrew has a breadth of experience in areas such as habitat restoration, data analysis, consulting, groundwater management, and environmental economics. Andrew grew up in northern Big Sur and has a passion for protecting wild places and getting people into nature. In his free time, you will find him pursuing outdoor adventures among rock, land, and all forms of water.

Barb Kipreos

Barb Kipreos

Engagement Officer

415.993.0636

barb@sanmateoRCD.org

Barb Kipreos serves as the Engagement Officer for the RCD, helping to deepen relationships, broaden engagement, and continue the the RCD’s weaving of JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) principles into their work. She is a member of the California Landscape Stewardship Network’s JEDI Roundtable for Healing Severed Connections and a facilitator for the Western Collaborative Conservation Network’s Emerging Leadership Working Group, which works to lower barriers within conservation career pathways. She recently completed a Climate Justice Fellowship with the American Bird Conservancy and earned a Master’s in Conservation and Restoration Science from UC Irvine. In her spare time, she likes to weave tapestries, carve wood spoons, and create block prints.

 

Caileen Viehweg

Caileen Viehweg

Conservation Project Manager

650.712.7765

caileen@sanmateoRCD.org

Caileen works as a project manager on the Habitat Enhancement and Water for Farms, Fish, and People Teams. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Gonzaga University. Her passion for the environment has led her to work on organic vegetable farms, sustainable bakeries, native plant nurseries, parks, and in the end-of-life industry. Caileen has a strong field background in ecological restoration, having worked on projects throughout the 82,027 acres of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Her work has always centered on conservation, community engagement, and creative problem solving. She’s excited to use her expertise to tend the habitat and communities of San Mateo County, which richly contribute to the diversity and beauty of the Bay Area.

 

Cesar Aguilar

Cesar Aguilar

Administrative Assistant

cesar@sanmateoRCD.org

Cesar supports the RCD as the Administrative Assistant. With more than 12 years in the hospitality industry, he is passionate about contributing to the team through smoothing processes and providing backbone support. Raised in Half Moon Bay, he has a big appreciation for the tight knit community in Half Moon Bay. In his free time he enjoys working out, trial running, and gaming.

 

Christina Kelleher

Christina Kelleher

Conservation Project Manager

650.712.7765×127
christina@sanmateoRCD.org

Christina is a project manager for the Habitat Enhancement and Water for Farms, Fish, and People teams. Christina is working on projects related to creek and wetland enhancement, butterfly restoration, and water conservation. She holds B.S. and B.A. degrees in Biology and in Sociology, as well as a M.S. in Biology from UC San Diego. Prior to joining the RCD, Christina worked as a wildlife biologist at an environmental consulting firm in Oakland for over 5 years, with a focus on bird and amphibian species. She has experience with environmental permitting and compliance, special-status species surveys, mitigation monitoring, and project management. In her free time, Christina enjoys reading, birding, and exploring local parks.

David Cowman

David Cowman

Forest Ecologist

650.712.7765 x 107
david@sanmateoRCD.org

David joined the RCD as a project manager working towards developing healthy, fire resilient forests and communities in San Mateo County. David holds a Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and an MS from San Jose State University in Environmental Studies. For his Master’s thesis he studied the effects of prescribed fire on old growth coast redwood ecosystem health and fuel load in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Before joining the RCD, David spent nearly five years with the California State Parks in the Santa Cruz district working in the Natural Resource Management program. While with State Parks he gained experience in the fields of prescribed fire, forest succession management, invasive species mitigation, and biological monitoring. Additional work experience includes making and maintaining trails, as well as commercial salmon fishing off the coast of California. In his free time you can find him running with his dog, gardening, or working on various building projects.

Doug Millar

Doug Millar

Conservation Project Manager

doug@sanmateoRCD.org

Doug is a Project Manager for the Agriculture Program where he works on compost and soil health projects. Doug has worked in San Mateo County agriculture for over 15 years, including at TomKat Ranch and The HEAL Project. He brings 25 years of experience in agriculture (including aquaponics!), composting, soil health, and carbon farm planning. Doug grew up in the middle of farmland and graduated from Ohio State University in Greenhouse Production and Management. Doug’s passion for soil and surf make San Mateo County his ideal home.

Eddie Sanchez

Eddie Sanchez

Conservation Project Manager

650.712.7765

eddie@sanmateoRCD.org

Eddie works as a project manager on the Forest Health and Fire Resiliency program, to support local forests as well as the protection of communities in the Wildland Urban Interface. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geographic Information Science from Humboldt State University. He has worked as a project manager for the FireSafe Council in Santa Clara County. He is also a cartographer, naturalist, and enjoys learning about the formation of earth’s geographical features. On his free time Eddie enjoys hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and road trips.

 

Eliza Milio

Eliza Milio

Agricultural Stewardship Program Manager and San Mateo County Agricultural Ombudsman

eliza@sanmateoRCD.org

Eliza serves dual roles as Agricultural Stewardship Program Manager and San Mateo County Agricultural Ombudsman. As Program Manager, she oversees a variety of projects concerning conservation, climate, and farming. As the Agricultural Ombudsman, she serves as a liaison between agricultural producers and County officials, helping farmers and ranchers navigate County permitting and assisting the County with improving its agricultural permitting process. Before joining the RCD, Eliza spent a decade farming organic food and flowers in Santa Cruz and Healdsburg. Eliza holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, a Certificate in Advanced Ecological Horticulture from CASFS, and a master’s degree in Environmental Conservation and Education from NYU. She is currently a Junior Fellow at the Safina Center, where she writes at the intersection of food systems and climate change. In her spare time, you can find her on the pickleball courts, playing guitar, or swimming in the ocean.

Erica Harris

Erica Harris

Conservation Ecologist

650.712.7765 x 104
erica@sanmateoRCD.org

Erica works as a project manager for the Forest Health and Fire Resiliency program. She’s involved in a collaborative effort to manage eucalyptus trees in San Mateo County. Erica holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, where she completed the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. Erica’s background in agriculture includes nursery work, landscaping, organic farming, and research. As a wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service, Erica worked on hotshot, engine, and helicopter crews, gaining experience in fuels management and prescribed burning. Her community organizing includes founding the Bay Area chapter of Skate Like A Girl, running a successful cooperative enterprise, and supporting cooperatives through mediation services. An avid birder, Erica participates in wildlife surveys and public education.

Grace Allen

Grace Allen

Conservation Project Manager

650.712.7765
grace@sanmateoRCD.org

Grace is a project manager with the Water Quality team assisting with projects that focus on monitoring, data analysis, and outreach. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after which she worked as a chemist at a Wastewater Treatment Plant for a couple of years and then as a research specialist at NC State University for 3 years. Her research focused on monitoring the water quality of rivers and conducting fecal source tracking in agricultural watersheds and she is excited to deploy those skills with the RCD. In her free time, Grace enjoys playing tennis and exploring the natural beauty of the Bay Area by hiking.

Jarrad Fisher

Jarrad Fisher

Water Resources Program Director

650.712.7765 x 114
jarrad@sanmateoRCD.org

Jarrad manages programs and projects addressing water resources, sedimentation, erosion, water stewardship, and habitat restoration. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography specializing in GIS and Remote Sensing, and a Master’s degree in Geographic Information Science from San Francisco State University. Jarrad’s master’s thesis monitored and evaluated a large floodplain restoration project for the RCD.  He brings considerable background in natural resource management, biogeography, and bioclimatology and spends much of his free time rock climbing and backpacking in Yosemite, Tahoe, and the Eastern Sierras.

Joseph Issel

Joseph Issel

Director of Stewardship

650.712.7765 x 106
joe@sanmateoRCD.org

Joe’s work focuses on creek habitat enhancement projects and efforts to restore streamflow through water conservation and stewardship. Joe has worked for RCDs since 2006, first in Santa Cruz County and in San Mateo County since 2011.  Joe holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and an M.S. in Geographic Information Science from San Francisco State University.  Joe spends much of his free time at his family’s property in Albion, near the Mendocino Coast where they are actively restoring their redwood forest.

Kellyx Nelson

Kellyx Nelson

Executive Director

650.712.7765 x 102
kellyx@sanmateoRCD.org

Kellyx Nelson is passionate about public service and building strong alliances to tackle thorny challenges. She has spent nearly 30 years in non-profits, government, and the private sector developing, implementing, and assessing programs and partnerships for environmental benefit and other public good. She has served as the Executive Director of the Resource Conservation District since 2006.  Her diverse career has included 14 years as an environmental educator for underserved communities in New York and San Francisco, driving a Freightliner cross-country as a long-haul trucker, delivering packages as a motorcycle messenger, and managing conservation projects for a local land trust. She has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University in Political Science and Environmental Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. Under her direction the RCD has achieved distinction, receiving the 2017 Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award, 2016 Sustainability Award from Sustainable San Mateo County, 2012 District of the Year from the California Association of RCDs and more. In 2015, Kellyx was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame in recognition of her contributions to the overall well-being of the County.

 

Lau Hodges

Lau Hodges

Administrative Officer

650.712.7765 x 119
lau@sanmateoRCD.org

Lau wears many hats as the RCD’s Administrative Officer, where she is excited to support its noble, boots on the ground conservation. Prior to working for the RCD, she spent 10 years managing the facilities and curating exhibits at a Victorian-era greenhouse and public garden in San Francisco. Lau holds degrees in History and French from the University of San Francisco and has studied Horticulture at Merritt College. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, nerding out on California history and tending to her garden in Half Moon Bay.

Maaya Hensman

Maaya Hensman

Conservation Associate

650.712.7765
maaya@sanmateoRCD.org

Maaya is on the conservation team working on projects addressing fish passage, eradicating slender false brome and habitat restoration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and went on to work in environmental consulting and habitat restoration in the Bay Area. She has spent most of her life living on the California coast and enjoys hiking, camping, identifying plants, cooking and overall adventure.

Mia Riddle

Mia Riddle

Conservation Project Manager

mia@sanmateoRCD.org

650.712.7765 x 130

Mia works as a Project Manager on the Agricultural Stewardship team, assisting local farms, ranches and urban agriculturalists with conservation plans and projects. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Natural Resources and the Environment from the University of Rhode Island, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and a Urban Agriculture Certificate from The Youth Farm in Brooklyn. She worked on various farms on the San Mateo coast before starting her own u-pick dahlia farm, The Pescadero Flowery. After a few years away she is returning to the area as a mother, and is excited work with local farms to reach their conservation goals. In her free time you’ll find her playing music with friends and exploring the redwoods with her family.
Sara Polgar

Sara Polgar

Conservation Program Specialist

sara@sanmateoRCD.org
650.712.7765 x123

Sara supports multiple efforts at the RCD focused primarily on climate, erosion and sedimentation, and regulatory compliance. She works in a variety of capacities including project coordination, data analysis and report preparation, policy analysis, development of permit applications, and workshop planning. As a planner with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) for over a decade, Sara worked closely with partner agencies and local governments on planning for sea level rise and other coastal hazards utilizing tools and communications resources that she helped develop. Sara holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Ryan Silsbee

Ryan Silsbee

Conservation Project Manager

ryan@sanmateoRCD.org

Ryan works as a project manager on the Habitat Enhancement and Water Resources teams helping bring to life projects that improve our coastal watersheds and serve the people, ecosystems, and farms of San Mateo County. Ryan’s studies for his B.A. in Political Science and Economics at UC Berkeley and Agroecology for his Advanced Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz provide a good background for working on projects at the crossroads of sustainable agriculture, water resource management, and land stewardship. Ryan has spent his career working on organic orchards in the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area, as a land manager in the Santa Cruz mountains, and as a project manager for water conservation, streamflow enhancement, and wildfire mitigation projects across Central and Southern California. Ryan enjoys surfing, outrigger canoe paddling, grafting rare fruit trees, finding new varieties for his small chile pepper farm, and spending time exploring the outdoors with his family.

Stephanie MacDonald

Stephanie MacDonald

Senior Project Manager

stephanie@sanmateoRCD.org
650.712.7765

Stephanie works as a project manager for the RCD, assisting with projects that focus on water resources, water conservation, and habitat restoration. Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went on to work as a Survey Technician before moving to the Bay Area in 2018, where she worked in Public Works Engineering for three years for a local municipality. She brings a unique background in surveying, construction, and local government operations, and has a deep passion for conserving our natural environment to benefit both people and the planet. In her free time, she enjoys reading a good book, cracking the latest crossword, and hiking in the many landscapes of the Bay Area.

Timothy Federal

Timothy Federal

Program Manager, Forest Health and Fire Resiliency

timothy@sanmateoRCD.org
650.712.7765

Timothy manages the RCD’s Forest Health and Fire Resiliency program, improving the ecological function of forests and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire.  He received his Master’s in Biogeography from Appalachian State University and his B.A. in Geography from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before coming to the RCD, Timothy worked for 13 years managing stewardship and restoration programs at Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore, and implementing restoration projects in 53 National Park units and conservation areas from the North Slope of Alaska to the borderlands of Arizona. Beyond the RCD, Timothy manages environmental compliance for the Burning Man Project, where he coordinates permitting with federal, state, and local agencies for the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. In his free time, Timothy can be found roller skating in Golden Gate Park, practicing guitar, or marveling at manzanitas on Montara Mountain.

Jim Howard

Jim Howard

NRCS District Conservationist

james.howard@ca.usda.gov

Jim has been managing ecosystem restoration projects for the past 15 years. He has worked for the U.S. Peace Corps, the private timber industry, two Resource Conservation Districts, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Forest Management from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree in Water Resources Management from Duke University.

Dillon Beatty

Dillon Beatty

NRCS Agricultural Engineer

dillon.beatty@ca.usda.gov
650.726.0494

As the Agricultural Engineer for NRCS in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, Dillon’s work focuses on the technical aspects of planning and designing conservation systems to conserve our soil, water, energy, plant, and wildlife resources. He graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelors degree in BioResource and Agricultual Engineering with an emphasis in water resources and agricultural automation.