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). 

Holly Ballantyne, Hydrologist, U.S. Army Fort Huachuca

Holly has over 20 years of environmental compliance experience. With an B.S. degree in Environmental Science and Biology from Washington State University.  Currently enrolled in the University of Arizona master’s Certification in Hydrology.  She has previously worked as a fisheries biologist/technician for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and Columbian Intertribal Fish Commission in the Pacific Northwest.  Holly started out her career in natural resources as a contractor for NOAA, as a fisheries observer on commercial fishing boats.  The last 7 years have been spent at Fort Huachuca in environmental compliance, some different areas of expertise is: Natural Resources, Pollution Prevention, Air compliance, hazardous waste/hazardous materials, waste water and hydrology.

Peter Christensen, Hydrologist, Bureau of Land Management

Pete Christensen is a Hydrologist for the BLM Tucson Field Office.  He has over 8 years’ experience working on public lands for various federal agencies in Utah, Missouri, and Arizona.  Pete has worked on several projects including stream restoration, stream gaging, and post fire monitoring.  He has spent the last 3 years working in Southeastern Arizona.

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.

David C. Goodrich, Ph.D., USDA-ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center

David C. Goodrich, (B.S-1980, M.S.-1982 Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D.-1990 Hydrology and Water Resources, Univ. of Arizona in 1990) Work experience includes positions with the USGS in Wisconsin and Alaska; consulting with Autometric, Inc. and, since 1988, as a Research Hydraulic Engineer with the Southwest Watershed Research Center of the USDA-ARS in Tucson, AZ. He co-led the SALSA (Semi-Arid Land-Surface–Atmosphere) Research Program centered on the San Pedro. He was an Executive Member of the National Science Foundation Sustainability of semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA) Science and Technology Center and has worked closely since 2000 with elected officials and decision-makers in the San Pedro Basin.  He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2007 he received the Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for original contributions in hydraulics and hydrology in arid or semi-arid climates.

Dick Larry, Friends of the San Pedro River

Dick served in the US Army for 30 years, 4 years in the USAF stationed at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson,  3 ½ years as a Tucson Police officer and 3 ½  years as a AZ DPS patrolman in Winslow AZ.  Presently he is President of the Wild Horse Homeowners Association (just south of 3 Canyons HOA).  Dick has attended Upper San Pedro Partnership (USPP) Technical Committee Science and Technical Advisors meetings in the past as an alternate representative of the Friends of the San Pedro River and would like to continue supporting.  As a laymen he is very interested in all aspects of discussion of the USPP especially groundwater usage and recharge as this directly affects residents of Wild Horse HOA.

Christina Perez, Fisheries Biologist, Bureau of Land Management

Christina has worked in the field of fisheries science for over 10 years and has worked in multiple states on a variety of fisheries projects primarily focused on native fish. She graduated in 2016 with a M.S. in Natural Resource Management with a focus on fisheries management and conservation from the University of Arizona. She currently works as the fisheries biologist for BLM in the Tucson Field Office.

Steven Prager, Director, Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society

Steven Prager has been with Audubon Southwest for over a dozen years serving in a variety of capacities including field biologist, frontline educator, conservation planner, science communicator, policy advocate, community organizer, agency liaison, and most recently Director of the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch. Steven earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability from Arizona State University, is a skilled conservation practitioner and naturalist, and has a special interest in birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and water policy.  He believes that to authentically and effectively engage people in conservation action, we must seek to build with our collaborators common ground, trust, and a mutual understanding of our working relationship and goals. In his work, he aims to center the expressed interests of those most impacted by environmental issues, collaborate with communities and partners that have been historically excluded by the conservation movement, understand and be responsive to individual communities’ cultures, needs, views, and expectations, and respect the rights of communities to maintain power over their own goals and outcomes.

Holly Richter, Ph.D., Resilient Rivers

Holly Richter founded Resilient Rivers, LLC in 2022 after a 35-year career in land and water conservation with The Nature Conservancy. Holly’s work with the Conservancy spanned several tributaries within the Colorado River Basin during her career. She completed her PhD at Colorado State University focusing on the development of a riparian ecology, geomorphology, hydrology simulation model for the Yampa River. She later worked on other western slope rivers in Colorado, before moving to southeastern Arizona. Holly was a founding member of both the Upper San Pedro Partnership in 1998, and 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. She was later a founding member of the Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network in 2015. She initiated the wet dry mapping project for the binational San Pedro River in 1999, an annual citizen science project that continues to engage volunteers along approximately 320 miles of the river and its tributaries for the last 25 years. Holly completed a Coda Fellowship with The Nature Conservancy to develop global groundwater guidance for the organization before retiring in 2022. As Principal of Resilient Rivers, she currently serves as the Coordinator for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army/Fort Huachuca, Cochise County and the City of Sierra Vista in 2021.

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.

Bailey Winston, Southern Arizona Water Projects Manager, The Nature Conservancy

In this role she supports San Pedro recharge projects through the Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network and co-leads San Pedro River Wet/Dry Mapping, in addition to conservation efforts in other watersheds. Prior to joining TNC in February 2023, Bailey directed Arizona Land and Water Trust’s Desert Rivers Program, and at University of Arizona she worked on water resources planning and stakeholder engagement with the Water Resources Research Center and the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions. Before focusing on Arizona water management, Bailey worked in national water sector resilience and emergency response at US EPA in Washington, DC and municipal water conservation at the City of St. Petersburg, FL. Bailey holds an MS in Water, Society, and Policy from University of Arizona and BAs in Environmental Studies and Economics from Eckerd College.

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.