Featured Speaker Bios

Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Sara LaBorde, Executive Vice President, Wild Salmon Center

Sara joined the Wild Salmon Center in August 2012 and has over 30 years of professional experience in natural resources policy, business management, and environmental education. Sara earned a B.S. and M.S. in Natural Resource Management from the University Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She brings a wealth of experience in working with federal and state agencies, Tribes, local governments, and other stakeholders in salmon protection and recovery. Prior to joining WSC, Sara was the Special Assistant to the Director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) where she worked on salmon recovery, hatchery and harvest reform, and the development of alternative fishing approaches for the Lower Columbia River. She served as WDFW’s federal liaison in Washington DC and was the Regional Director for WDFW’s Coastal and Hood Canal region as well as Special Assistant to the state’s Wildlife Commission. Sara also served as the Chair of the North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership.


Plenary Speakers

Tom Cooney, Research Fish Biologist, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service


Jeff Heer, Associate Professor, University of Washington Interactive Data Lab

As digital information becomes increasingly cheap and ubiquitous, how will we keep abreast with the rising tide of data? Jeff Heer's research group investigates the perceptual, cognitive, and social factors involved in making sense of large data collections, and develops novel interactive systems for visual analysis and communication.


Dan Isaak, Research Fish Biologist, U.S. Forest Service

Dan Isaak's research focuses on understanding the effects of climate change and natural disturbance on stream habitats and fish populations, monitoring and modeling of stream temperature and fish populations, development and application of spatial statistical models for stream networks, and use of digital and social media to connect people, information, and landscapes.


Gordie Reeves, Research Fish Biologist, U.S. Forest Service

Gordon Reeves' expertise is in the freshwater ecology of anadromous salmon and trout, conservation biology of those fish, the impacts of climate change on aquatic ecosystems and associated biota,and aquatic aspects of landscape ecology. He has studied the ecology of anadromous salmon and trout in the Pacific Northwest, northern California, Idaho, and Alaska and fish ecology in New Zealand and New York.


Phil Roni, Principal Scientist, Cramer Fish Sciences

Dr. Philip Roni has 25 years of experience as a fisheries research scientist and manages the Northwest science team for Cramer Fish Sciences (CFS). Prior to joining CFS, Dr. Roni led the Watershed Program at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center where he directed more than 20 scientists conducting habitat research. He has conducted research on stream restoration, salmon life history and migration, impacts of forestry and hydropower operations on aquatic biota, effectiveness of fish sampling techniques, and the identification of essential habitats for sensitive aquatic species. Phil focuses on designing, implementing and completing, and publishing definitive studies to address pressing questions related to protection, management and restoration of aquatic systems. His research for the last 20 years has concentrated on planning, prioritization, and evaluation of various watershed restoration techniques.


Jack Stanford, Professor, University of Montana, Flathead Lake Biological Station

Jack Stanford is most noted for his long-term studies in the Flathead River-Lake Ecosystem in Montana and British Columbia that demonstrated the 4 dimensional nature of rivers, ecological connectivity of aquatic systems, and food web cascades caused by introduction of nonnative species. In 1999 Dr. Stanford began extensive work on a suite of observatory salmon rivers in Kamchatka, Argentina, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and British Columbia; the research focuses on cross-site comparisons of the salmon and steelhead life histories and effects of marine nutrient subsidies on floodplain ecology. He has served on many national and international science review panels and published over 220 peer reviewed papers. Dr. Stanford recently relocated to Twisp, WA.