Staff Directory

Breck Bowden

Lake Champlain Sea Grant Director
Institution: University of Vermont
  • Ph.D. 1982 North Carolina State University, Bioogeochemistry of nitrogen in coastal ecosystems
  • M.S. 1976 North Carolina State University, Microbial numbers and biomass in aquatic ecosystems
  • B.S. 1973 University of Georgia, Zoology and Chemistry

Dr. Bowden is the Robert and Genevieve Patrick Professor in Watershed Science and Planning in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He teaches undergraduate courses in the Environmental Sciences curriculum and graduate courses in the Aquatic of Ecology and Watershed sciences curriculum at the University of Vermont. He is the Director of the Vermont Water Resources in Lake Studies Center and leads the Vermont component of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.Dr. Bowden's research interests focus on the interactions among land use, land cover, and water resources. He has conducted research on wetland, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems in temperate, tropical, and arctic biomes and has been involved with strategic planning in universities and in government agencies.His current research projects focus on the effects of exurban development on stormwater runoff in Vermont and on climate change impacts in the arctic. Dr. Bowden is active in national and international programs to that seek to integrate science in resource management decision making, including the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, Hydrology for Environment Life and Policy (HELP), the National Environmental Observatory Network (NEOaN), and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH).

Erin De Vries

Aquatic Science Literacy Educator and UVM Watershed Alliance Coordinator
Institution: University of Vermont
  • M.S. Ecological Planning, University of Vermont, 2008
  • B.A. Environmental Science, concentration in Conservation Biology and Botany, Franklin Pierce College, 1999

Erin has worked as the UVM WA Education & Outreach Coordinator/Aquatic Science Literacy Specialist since May 2010. She has expertise in natural resource planning and management through community based involvement in watershed stewardship and restoration. She has focused on aquatic resource conservation through jobs in the private, public and non-profit sector throughout North America and the Caribbean. She enjoys her outreach work as a board member of the State-Wide Environmental Education Programs (SWEEP) and networking with Vermonters to increase environmental literacy of our precious water resources. Erin is interested in restoration ecology, exploring bogs with her son and husband as well as hiking, biking, yoga, and photography.

Ashley Eaton

Watershed Alliance Program Assistant
Institution: University of Vermont

Jurij Homziak

Emeritis Director of Outreach and Education
Institution: University of Vermont
  • Ph.D. Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1985
  • M.S. Agricultural Development (ABT), Wye College, University of London
  • M.A. Biology/Ecology, San Diego State University, 1977
  • B.S. Zoology, cum laude, San Diego State University, 1975

Jurij retired n March 2015. Prior to his retirement he oversaw the LCSG's extension and education activities to enhance awareness and understanding of coastal development, water quality, aquatic resources, nuisance aquatic species, land use and watershed management issues for New York-Vermont-Quebéc Lake Champlain Basin. He also conducted applied research in participatory, community-based watershed management and water quality protection, lay water quality monitoring and urban stream restoration.

Mark Malchoff

Aquatic Resources Specialist
Institution: SUNY Plattsburgh
  • M.S. Environmental Studies, Bard College, 1993
  • B.S. Natural Resources, Cornell University, 1976

Mark represents LCSG in regional and national fisheries and aquatic habitat initiatives. As the Aquatic Resources Specialist, he leads all activities associated with fisheries extension and aquatic invasive species, and he contributes to lake based sustainable communities and economic development. Prior to his work with LCSG, Mark was employed with New York Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension since 1984.

Timothy Mihuc

Co-Director, LCRI Coordinator, Associate Professor of Environmental Science
Institution: SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Ph.D. Biology, Idaho State University, 1994
  • M.S. Zoology, Oklahoma State University, 1989
  • B.S. Biology, Oral Roberts University

Timothy (Tim) Mihuc oversees LCSG's SUNY Plattsburgh operations and serves as the coordinator of the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh. Tim began his career with an undergraduate independent research project on nutrient limitation of algae in a small eutrophic lake in Oklahoma. He continued his education as an aquatic ecologist through studies on invertebrate life-history ecology in a Colorado alpine wetland (M.S.) and post-fire food web dynamics in Yellowstone National Park streams (Ph.D.). He spent several years at Louisiana State University as a post-doctoral researcher (1994-1996) conducting invasive species research in the Atchafalaya River Basin, the largest contiguous hardwood swamp ecosystem in the U.S.  From 1996-1999 Tim served as director of the Great Rivers Field Station (Illinois Natural History Survey) where he led a multidisciplinary research team working on the Upper Mississippi River. He has published over 35 research articles including journals such as Ecology, Freshwater Biology, Aquatic Sciences, Hydrobiologia, Journal of Great Lakes Research and American Midland Naturalist and has co-edited the book volume titled “Lake Champlain: Partnership and research in the new millennium,” published by Kluwer Academic publishers. Tim’s professional areas of interest include aquatic food webs, fish population dynamics, ecological integrity and aquatic biodiversity. He enjoys outdoor activities, particularly fly-fishing, skiing, hiking and mountain climbing (preferably combined). 

Linda Patterson

Land-Use Planning and Water Quality Educator
Institution: University of Vermont
  • MFA, Bennington College, 2003
  • MSW, University of Minnesota, 1981
  • B.A. Harvard University, 1978

Linda joined LCSG in August, 2015. She is responsible for coordinating our education programs to target professional groups and municipal board members on the impacts of land use on water quality. Linda will focus her efforts on a suite of courses targeted to Real Estate professionals licensed in Vermont and will expand those offerings to New York licensees. She will also further develop the Sustainable Landscape Stewards Program to offer high-impact programming targeting municipal planning and development review boards.

Linda’s life-long devotion to the health and welfare of Lake Champlain inspired her transition from a social work career to working for the Lake.  She is co-founder of Ahead of the Storm, a local tri-town collaborative providing education and resources for private and public landowners concerned with stormwater runoff.  Her involvement with local watershed initiatives includes her role as Lake Wise Leader through the Department of Environmental Conservation and Blue Green Algae tracker with the Lake Champlain Committee. Linda’s family has owned a summer home on Lake Champlain since the 1930’s.  She is an avid open-water swimmer, hiker, and cross-country skiier, and enjoys sharing time on the Lake with her extended family.


Elissa Schuett

Research Coordinator and Communicator
Institution: University of Vermont
  • M.S. Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology, Frostburg State University, 2007
  • B.S. Biology, Bradley University, 2001

Elissa has a background in stream ecology with expertise in biogeochemistry and macroinvertebrate ecology. She has done extensive ecological research across the country, including studying streams in Arctic Alaska as well as in Lake Champlain and streams in Vermont. Her research experience provides her with a strong background in ecological research and experimental design. In addition to research, Elissa is passionate about science communication and connecting researchers to users. 

Elissa manages the research program of Lake Champlain Sea Grant and works with researchers to develop outreach materials for their projects.  Elissa also manages communications, including content development and management of a Lake Champlain Sea Grant supported program ecoNEWS VT.  This online portal highlights key findings from ecological research and monitoring being conducted across Vermont. The portal connects scientists, practitioners, policy-makers, and other interested individuals with information distilled from the latest research and monitoring on Vermont's ecology. 


Kris Stepenuck

Extension Leader
Institution: University of Vermont
  • Ph.D., Environment and Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
  • M.S., Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1999
  • B.S., Water Resource Management, University of New Hampshire, 1995

Kris joined LCSG in July 2015. She will be overseeing LCSG Extension and outreach activities across the Lake Champlain Basin. Part of her efforts will include sharing UVM faculty research with communities to promote healthy coastal ecosystems, resilient communities, and an environmentally literate populace. She comes to LCSG after 14 years coordinating a volunteer stream monitoring program for the State of Wisconsin. Her previous research has included assessing impacts of land use on water quality, comparing water monitoring methods, and assessing outcomes of volunteer water monitoring programs. Her research interests also include assessing attitude and behavior changes that may result from water-related community outreach programming.

Grant Taylor

Green Infrastructure Collaborative Assistant
Institution: University of Vermont
  • Associate's Degree in Environmental Science with focus in Sustainable Building Technology, Community College of Vermont, Expected 2015

Grant is a member of a new program managed by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) called ECO AmeriCorps. He is serving for the next year as the Green Infrastructure Collaborative (GIC) Assistant with the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program and the Vermont DEC. The GIC is a facilitator of communication between professionals, organizations, agencies, and property owners throughout Vermont about Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) and Low Impact Development (LID). In his position he will be working to provide education and training to municipalities and residents to promote GSI and LID implementation.

Grant is currently enrolled as a student at the Community College of Vermont (CCV) and will be receiving his Associate’s Degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Sustainable Building Technology in December 2015. He has plans to begin a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont in 2016.

Grant has experience working with the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research on their Research on Adaptation to Climate Change program as well as several years working for a heavy civil construction company on projects including substation reconstruction, vapor extraction well installation, soil remediation, and stormwater pond construction. He enjoys hiking, snowboarding, volunteering, and playing soccer. He lives in Burlington, Vermont and is interested in community involvement as it pertains to sustainable growth and development.

Becky Tharp

Program Manager: Green Infrastructure Collaborative
Institution: University of Vermont
  • PhD Student, Plant and Soil Sciences Dept, University of Vermont
  • M.S. Natural Resources Management, Univeristy of Vermont, 2011
  • B.A. Extension Studies, Harvard University, 2004

Becky manages the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, a joint program of Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation developed in the summer of 2015. The Collaborative promotes Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practices as the preferred methodologies to manage stormwater runoff from developed lands in Vermont. This work includes the coordination of the Green Infrastructure Roundtable, an ad hoc group of individuals from the public and private sector who come together on a quarterly basis to discuss various aspects of GSI and LID. Further efforts include development of technical GSI trainings for design professionals, a new career conference for college students, and continued research and extension on the efficacy of GSI practices. 

Becky joined the Lake Champlain Sea Grant team as the Land Use Planning and Water Quality Educator in the spring of 2013. She brings with her an interest in using ecological systems to solve complex pollution challenges. She is currently pursuing her PhD in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department at UVM researching innovative technologies to address stormwater pollution in norther climates. Becky's past experience working in the stormwater sector in Vermont contributes to partnership development and project initiation across the Basin. She lives in Williston with her handsome husband, loveable sons, and brilliant dog.