Upper San Pedro Partnership Technical Committee Science and Technical Advisors

Mark Apel, Environmental Projects Coordinator, Cochise County

Mark has over 35 years of experience working in natural resources and environmental planning, with the past 22 years as a resident of Bisbee, Arizona. With a B.S. degree in Environmental Resource Management from Pennsylvania State University (1982) and a M.A. degree in International Affairs from Ohio University (1987), Mark began his career in natural resources as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco in 1982, and later as a river conservation planner for the National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers program in the northeastern U.S. In 1990, Mark accepted a position as a preserve manager with The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, exposing him to the extensive San Pedro River conservation and protection efforts in Cochise County. As a county planner and later with UA Cooperative Extension, Mark participated in the Upper San Pedro Partnership, which gave him a unique perspective on the environment and issues pertaining to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). 

Joel Biederman, Ph.D., Research Hydrologist, USDA-ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center

Dr. Biederman has served as a research hydrologist for the USDA-ARS in Tucson since 2014.  He has a Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering (Water and Wastewater focus) from Montana State University.  Joel works in surface water resources and studies how changes in climate, land use, and vegetation affect the water cycle in semi-arid regions.  He has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications (http://tinyurl.com/googlescholar-jabiederman). 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Hydrologist, U.S. Army Fort Huachuca

Mr. Fitzpatrick was born and raised in the Cochise County area and is also a Registered Geologist in the State of Arizona and in the State of Nebraska.  He has previously worked for Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in the Aquifer Protection Program and for South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Ground Water Quality Program both as a permit writer and inspector for those programs.  Some of his other work experiences include working with mine reclamation, groundwater management and compliance sampling with Newmont Mining in Northern Nevada.  He has also worked with groundwater remediation systems for environmental clean-up of contaminated aquifers both as a consultant and as a regulator. 

Sharon Flissar, Public Works Director, City of Sierra Vista

Mrs. Flissar’s background is in engineering, and she has been a Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of Arizona for approximately 14 years.  Sharon has worked with the City of Sierra Vista for the entirety of her 19-year career, which has given her the opportunity to become very familiar with the challenges of resource management in the Sierra Vista subwatershed.  She is currently the City’s designated technical representative to the Upper San Pedro Partnership, the Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network, and the Fort Huachuca Sentinel Landscape Restoration Partnership.  As the director, she oversees the operation of the City’s Environmental Operations Park, which recharges about 2700 ac-ft of treated effluent to the aquifer each year.  She has also been involved in the planning, design, and construction of a variety of stormwater detention facilities.

Haley Paul, Policy Manager, National Audubon Society

Haley Paul is the Policy Manager at Audubon Arizona, the state office for National Audubon Society. In this role, Haley works across the Audubon network and with decision makers to advance water policies and solutions that are good for people and birds. Prior to Audubon, Haley worked at the Town of Gilbert in the water department with a focus on water planning and water conservation. Her Master’s degree in Sustainability from Arizona State University analyzed the Groundwater Management Act. She holds a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Washington State University.

Holly Richter, Ph.D., Water Projects Director, The Nature Conservancy- Arizona

Holly Richter is the Arizona Water Projects Director for The Nature Conservancy. She works closely with Conservancy staff and many external partners in the development of water projects that enhance water supplies along the San Pedro River, Verde River, and the Colorado River/Delta in Mexico. Holly has worked for The Nature Conservancy since 1987, and completed her PhD at Colorado State University, focusing on hydrologic, geomorphic and ecological modeling. She was a founding member of the Upper San Pedro Partnership in 1998, served as Chairperson for the Partnership’s Technical Committee (from 2000-2007), and later as Chairperson for the Partnership’s Executive Committee (2008-2011). She was also appointed to the Organizing Board for the Upper San Pedro Water District by Governor Napolitano, and served as their Vice Chairperson from 2007-2011. Most recently she has served as one of the founding members of the Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network, established in 2015.

Russell Scott, Ph.D., Research Hydrologist, USDA-ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center

Dr. Scott has been a research hydrologist for the USDA-ARS in Tucson since 2000.  He has a Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona and an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Hydrology focus) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has been doing hydrological and ecological research in the Upper San Pedro Basin since 1997, focusing primarily on issues of vegetation water use, riparian ecosystem evapotranspiration and carbon cycling, and semiarid ecosystem water balance. He is the author on more than 130 scientific, peer-reviewed, publications (for details please see https://goo.gl/FN6it7) and has been involved with the Upper San Pedro Partnership since its onset, serving primarily as the agency representative for the Technical Committee.

Vashti “Tice” Supplee, M.S., Audubon Arizona Director of Bird Conservation

Tice has been with the National Audubon Society since 2005, after a career with the Arizona Game and Fish Department that included experiences in research, habitat management, game management, and urban wildlife. She coordinates Audubon Arizona’s science related activities with National Audubon Society programs and offices in other states and co-manages the Arizona Important Bird Areas program.  Sites that are critical to a complete life cycle for resident and migratory birds are given this status and the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is a Global Important Bird Area. She earned her B.S at Cornell University and M.S. at the University of Arizona, both in Wildlife Ecology. She has been a member of the Upper San Pedro Partnership Advisory Commission (PAC) since 2007. She also serves on the science committee for the Sonoran Joint Venture, a bi-national bird conservation partnership.

Libby Wildermuth, Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Libby began working with the USGS as a student in 2014, collecting repeat microgravity data used to estimate aquifer-storage change within the Tucson Active Management Area (TAMA). She became a full time hydrologist with the USGS after completing her M.S. in Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona in 2018. Libby currently manages three microgravity projects in the Tucson area, including the TAMA project she worked on as a student, and two projects designed to identify storage change occurring at two of Tucson Water’s artificial recharge facilities: the Heritage Project in the Santa Cruz River, and the South Houghton Area Recharge Project on Tucson’s east side. She has also collaborated on groundwater flow models using FloPy and pyEMU, and built an ESRI Story Map for the TAMA project. In 2020, Libby joined the Upper San Pedro Basin project where she works with USGS Hydrologist Bruce Gungle.