Conservation Experts & Contacts

National Headquarters
One Waterfowl Way
Memphis, TN 38120
Phone: (901) 758-3825
  

Paul Schmidt 
Chief Conservation Officer


Dr. Scott C. Yaich
Director of Conservation Operations
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University
M.A., Southern Illinois University
B.A., University of Delaware

Dr. Yaich oversees or is engaged in conservation programs and policy issues that transcend the scope of regional offices. He provides national coordination of the state grants program, serves as the lead science contact in DU's policy work on wetland protections and the Clean Water Act, and provides science support to the Washington, D.C., office on other policy issues. He currently chairs the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency's Waterfowl Working Group, and is DU's representative on the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative Committee. Before coming to DU in 2001, Dr. Yaich worked for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for 13 years as wetland coordinator, chief of the wildlife division and assistant director over wildlife, fisheries and law enforcement. While with AGFC, he served on the Mississippi Flyway Council and Technical Section, was actively engaged in the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, and was involved in many other wetland, waterfowl and wildlife management efforts. He also spent four years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as wildlife management biologist for Arkansas.

Dale D. Humburg
Chief Scientist
M.S. Michigan State University
B.S. Iowa State University

Mr. Humburg's waterfowl education began with his dad in a duck boat in 1955.  More formal exposure to wildlife research began with the Iowa Conservation Commission as a seasonal employee (1969-1976) where he worked on red fox telemetry, pheasant nesting, duck banding, nesting studies, duck harvest data analysis, and early Canada goose restoration.  His professional career continued as an upland research biologist during 1976-1977 in Iowa.  The majority of his professional career was as a wetland and waterfowl research biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC - 1977-2002) and more recently served as the division chief for the MDC's Resource Science Division (2002-2007).  He retired after 30 years with MDC to begin another career in September 2007 as DU’s Chief Biologist.  Experience in wetland and waterfowl research has involved semi-permanent marsh management, invertebrate dynamics, willow wetlands, Canada goose wintering ecology, evaluation of waterfowl hunting programs, surveys of waterfowl hunters, and a number of studies following the 1993 flood on the Missouri River.  Recent emphasis has been on employing adaptive management concepts as a framework for more explicit management and policy decisions.  Mr. Humburg is a wetland owner and manager, and 50 years later, is passing on lessons learned in the duck boat to his grandsons.
 

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Western Regional Office
3074 Gold Canal Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Phone: (916) 852-2000

Dr. Fritz Reid
Director of Conservation Planning 
Ph.D., University of Missouri 
M.S., University of Missouri
A.B., Hamilton College 

Dr. Reid has more than 20 years of experience working in wetland ecology, and has a direct knowledge of most western wetland complexes. His biological expertise in the tundra and boreal habitats of Alaska has helped facilitate satellite inventory of more than 100 million acres of this land cover by DU. With this information, land managers can better understand impacts to these regions. Landscape planning in the Central Valley of California identifies key complexes and nutritional needs of waterfowl. Dr. Reid's background in waterfowl ecology in wintering and migrational habitats helps others understand those needs.

Mark Biddlecomb
Director of Operations, Western Regional Office
M.S., University of Alaska
B.S., Utah State University

Mr. Biddlecomb has over 15 years of experience in wildlife and habitat management. After obtaining his M.S. in wildlife management, he accepted the position of resource area biologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. At DU, he first served as a regional biologist in the Intermountain West and completed a myriad of projects thoughout Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. Since 2002, he has served as the Director of Conservation for the South Pacific Flyway which includes California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. As such, he oversees all conservation activities within this 4 state area. 

Dr. Mark Petrie
Manager of Conservation Planning
Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.S., University of Missouri

Dr. Petrie assumed his current position with DU in 1997. Previously, he was a research assistant at the University of Missouri, where his graduate work focused on the role of the mallard in the decline of the black duck. He currently serves as research coordinator for the black duck joint venture as well as a member of the monitoring, evaluation and research team of the Gulf Coast joint venture. His current responsibilities include the development of a strong research program befitting DU's conservation programs in areas important to non-breeding waterfowl.

Thomas J. Dwyer
Conservation Director, Pacific Northwest and Wetlands Hawaii Initiatives
M.S., University of Wisconsin
B.F., State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry
B.S., Syracuse University

Mr. Dwyer spent much of his professional wildlife career in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Before joining Ducks Unlimited in May 2000, he was deputy regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Pacific Region that encompassed six western states and Hawaii. He began his career with the government as a research scientist studying waterfowl in the U.S. and Canadian prairies and eventually became chief of the Office of Migratory Bird Management for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. At DU, he oversees all aspects of conservation program delivery in the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii.

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Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office
1220 Eisenhower Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Phone: (734) 623-2000

David Brakhage
Director of Operations
M.S., University of Missouri
B.S., Virginia Tech

David oversees all aspects of DU's work in the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, including habitat conservation, land protection, research, engineering and public policy. Prior to coming to work for Ducks Unlimited in 1998, Brakhage worked 13 years for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in their waterfowl management program. As the state waterfowl biologist for Florida, he developed population and habitat management programs for waterfowl in that state and served as Florida's technical representative to the Atlantic Flyway Council. While at the University of Missouri, he received extensive training on waterfowl management and wetland ecology.

Gildo M. Tori
Director of Public Policy
M.S., Ohio State University
B.S., Michigan State University

Mr. Tori, who joined DU in June of 1997, is responsible for directing and coordinating public policy issues within the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, including the Farm Bill, NAWCA, SWANCC, Great Lakes Restoration, state specific wetland protection legislation, and other policy issues. Gildo also coordinates GLARO's State Grant Program, which works with state wildlife agencies to generate funds in support of the NAWMP in Canada , and provides oversight to GLARO's land protection program. Prior to joining DU, he was the wetland wildlife projects leader for the Ohio Division of Wildlife responsible for waterfowl research and hunting regulations, wetland wildlife research and management, and wetland protection and restoration. His experience with the division of wildlife included bald eagle, river otter, trumpeter swan, and osprey reintroduction projects.

Kurt Dyroff
Director of Conservation Services


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Southern Region
193 Business Park Drive, Suite #E
Ridgeland , MS 39157
Phone: (601) 956-1936

Dr. Curtis Hopkins
Director of Operations, Southern Region
Ph.D., Texas A & M
M.S., Mississippi State University
B.S., Mississippi State University

Dr. Hopkins oversees all of Ducks Unlimited conservation programs in the 13-state Southern Region. In addition to maintaining more than 1.7 million acres of wetland habitat, the programs enhance, restore and/or protect 50,000 acres of wetland habitat annually. Dr. Hopkins first joined Ducks Unlimited in 1981 as regional director for the northern Mississippi Region, and served in that capacity until 1989. He then served as senior regional director in Mississippi until 1990, when he was promoted to Director of Private Lands Conservation. He became Director of Conservation Programs in 1999 and assumed his current position in 2007. Dr. Hopkins continues to remain active in various other professional, academic, and technical organizations and committees, including leadership roles. Prior to joining the DU team, Dr. Hopkins was an instructor of wildlife management at Texas A&M University and a wildlife biologist at Desoto National Forest and the Delta National Forest.


Craig R. LeSchack
Director of Conservation Programs, Southeast (AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA)
M.S., Auburn University
B.S., Michigan State University

Mr. LeSchack joined DU in 2000 as a regional biologist in Texas where he helped implement conservation programs on private and public lands throughout Texas and New Mexico.  In 2002, he was promoted to his current position where he oversees all of DU’s conservation efforts in the southeast area of the Southern Region.  Prior to joining DU, Mr. LeSchack was a wetland biologist and district wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where he managed wetlands and provided technical assistance on waterfowl and wetland management issues in a 12-county region.  Mr. LeSchack has conducted research on waterfowl in the southeast and also on arctic-nesting geese, and has extensive experience in wetland management issues.  He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and a member of The Wildlife Society and also a management board member on the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture.

Dr. Scott M. Manley 
Director of Conservation Innovation
Ph.D., Mississippi State University
M.S., Mississippi State University
B.S., Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos

Dr. Manley has research experience in the winter ecology of waterfowl, agriculture-waterfowl relationships, wetland functions and values, water quality, statistics, scientific writing, extension education and public relations. He also has research experience in the Northern Prairies, California 's Central Valley, Gulf Coast and Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Dr. Manley has conducted additional research in southern oceanic ecosystems and southeastern U.S. Piney Woods. His work for DU is focused on development of new, innovative approaches to conservation that generate both great habitat and new revenue to further our mission. Toward that end, Dr. Manley oversees mitigation, agri-business, carbon and all land transactions.

Dr. Thomas E. Moorman
Director of Conservation Science & Public Policy
Ph.D., State University of New York, Syracuse
M.S., Auburn University
B.S., Ohio University

Tom MoormanDr. Moorman joined DU in 1991 as a regional biologist working on waterfowl habitat restoration in partnerships with state and federal wildlife agencies in the 15-state Southern Region. He was promoted to director of conservation planning and served in that capacity from 1998-2007 with responsibility for planning and evaluation to strengthen the science underlying DU conservation programs in the Southern Region. In 2007, Dr. Moorman was promoted to director of conservation programs, South Mississippi Flyway (MO, AR, LA, MS, TN, KY, AL). He was given additional responsibility of administering conservation programs in the seven states comprising the South Mississippi Flyway management unit of the Southern Region. In 2009, the Southern Regional Office reorganized some staff responsibilities, and Dr. Moorman became Director of Science & Public Policy. Presently, Dr. Moorman oversees planning and evaluation to strengthen the science underlying DU conservation programs, regional conservation communications, and coordination of public policy work the Southern Region. Prior to joining DU, he performed research and published findings on mottled ducks and wood ducks. He is a member of The Wildlife Society, the Society of Conservation Biology and several ornithological professional societies. He has extensive experience with waterfowl and wetland research and management issues in the southern United States.

Dr. J. Dale James
Manager of Conservation Planning 
Ph.D., Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville
M.S., Texas A&M University-Kingsville
B.S., Texas A&M University

Dr. J. Dale JamesDr. James assumed his current position with DU in January 2008. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science, he worked for 3 years as a Regional Biologist with DU in the South Atlantic Field Office working on wetland projects in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. While there he also served as Land Protection Coordinator overseeing the conservation easement program administered under the Lowcountry Initiative. His previous research experience has been related to the breeding ecology of black-bellied whistling ducks and nutritional ecology of redhead ducks primarily along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Within the Southern Region, Dr. James is responsible for the development and synthesis of information to refine regional conservation plans, programs, and policy work. In addition to these duties, he also serves as a member of the waterfowl working groups of both the Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast Joint Ventures.

 

Bobby Massey
Director of Conservation Services
B.S., University of Mississippi

Mr. Massey joined DU in 1993 as a Regional Engineer and was soon promoted to Regional Engineering Supervisor over the then 15-state Southern Region. Prior to 1993 he worked for state and federal organizations, as well as a private construction company. Mr. Massey has over 35 years of engineering experience in civil construction and design and is licensed in 10 states. In 2003 Mr. Massey was promoted to Director of Conservation Services, but still retained oversight of the drafting department and technical oversight of the engineering staff. He is also responsible for agreements, contract compliance, and budget oversight.

Jerry Holden Jr.
Director of Conservation Programs, Southwest (LA, OK, MN, TX)
M.A., Kansas State University
B.A., Kansas State University

Jerry Holden Jr. and JakeMr. Holden joined DU in 1999 as a remote sensing and GIS analyst working on conservation planning in the Southern Region. He served as GIS and Remote Sensing Manager from 2001-2005, and worked to evaluate and the status of waterfowl habitats in Southern Region. In 2005, Mr. Holden was promoted to Director of Conservation Programs for Louisiana. His responsibilities included administration of conservation programs in Louisiana, including the Gulf Coast and the floodplain of the Mississippi river. In 2008 he was promoted to Director of Conservation Programs, South Mississippi Flyway (AR, LA, MS, TN, KY, & AL), the six states then comprising the South Mississippi Flyway management unit of the Southern Region. Prior to joining DU, he worked for the USAF as a GIS Manager and the State of Kansas on NASA funded research on greenhouse gas emissions. From 1986-2003 he was employed in various management positions by Wal-Mart stores Inc. He is a member of the Wildlife Society.

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Great Plains Regional Office
2525 River Road , Bismarck, ND 58503-9011
Phone: (701) 355-3500 
 


Dr. Stephen E. Adair
Director of Operations, Great Plains Region 
Great Plains Regional Office
Ph.D., Utah State University 
M.S., Texas A&M University  B.S., University of Texas 

Dr. Adair began his tenure with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. at its national headquarters in June 1997. He has served on several national committees and delegations including the Citizens Ambassador Delegation for Wetland Conservation to Australia and New Zealand, the U.S. Forest Service's national riparian roads team, and the agricultural task force of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Dr. Adair has extensive experience in conservation program development, strategic implementation, supervision and evaluation. Current responsibilities include supervision of Ducks Unlimited's conservation program delivery in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wyoming. Dr. Adair has been involved in wetland research and waterfowl management throughout the United States and has co-authored numerous scientific journal articles and management handbooks.

Blake Vander Vorst
Agronomist
M.S., University of Nebraska, Lincoln
B.S., North Dakota State University

Before coming to DU, Mr. Vander Vorst worked as the executive secretary for North Dakota state soil conservation committee for more than a decade, directing the staff, programs and budget, including map finishing and digitizing soil survey information. Mr. Vander Vorst also served as president of the Natural Association of State Conservation Agencies. AGvantage Consulting, an agricultural consulting firm, was started by Mr. Vander Vorst and continues to operate. In addition, he has worked as an extension agronomist and Walsh County extension agent for North Dakota State University for seven years, SCS area resource conservationist for three years, and has owned a farm since 1981 and operated it for 13 of those years. In his current position, Mr. Vander Vorst draws on his experience to provide crop production information to farmers, while coordinating and managing an extensive winter cereal program in the Dakotas being implemented by DU. 


Roger Smith
Director of Conservation Services GPRO
B.S., North Dakota State University

The majority of Mr. Smith's professional career has been spent at Ducks Unlimited, starting as a regional engineer in 1984. Along with his directorial duties, he remains the engineer for Montana and both Dakotas, working with DU biologists on wetland restoration projects. He oversees DU engineering, accounting and contract compliance personnel in the eight-state region.

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Washington , D.C. Regional Office
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 402
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: (202) 347-1530

Gary Taylor
Director of Governmental Affairs

Mr. Taylor began his career in 1973 at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources , leaving there in 1991 after having served as the Director of the Wildlife Division. He then spent 21 years at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies as the legislative director, representing the collective perspectives of the 50 state fish and wildlife agencies before Congress and the federal executive branch agencies. As Director of the DU Government Affairs Office since June 2012, Mr. Taylor manages the overall coordination, strategic direction, and implementation of DU’s public policy.

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