Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee

Aquatic Invasive Species

AIS Advisory Committee Members

AIS Advisory Committee Members

AIS Advisory Committee Ex-Officio Members

Committee member bios

John Barten
763-694-7841 - work
612-490-1320 - cell
John Barten is the natural resources director of Three Rivers Park District. He has been involved in AIS management activities for over 24 years, including inspecting watercraft, providing educational programs, monitoring the spread of aquatic invasive species in area lakes and wetlands, and implementing control programs for invasive plants. In addition, he participated in developing AIS management plans for numerous lakes and served on various DNR committees to assess AIS risk and review management options. Barten has an M.A. in Aquatic Biology from St. Cloud State University and has served on the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District AIS Task Force since 1989. He is a resident of Delano.

John P. Deurr
651-462-7406 - work
John Deurr is an Engineer who has been in the Marine Industry for over 40 years. Deurr graduated from Bemidji State University in 1972 with a BS in Industrial Technology. He currently works for Premier Marine, Inc., which builds Pontoon Boats from 16ft through 33ft, and is considered to be a very innovative and progressive company. Deurr first recognized the need to get involved in AIS prevention in 2004, when he discovered a boat in their repair shop that had traveled back to Minnesota from Michigan that was infested with Zebra Mussels. He started looking for ways to prevent the spread of AIS on their products. This lead to his current involvement in the attempt to get all manufacturers to use some of his company's techniques in production. He has presented design suggestions at the AIS Summit in 2015 and at both the NMMA Engineering Conference and the International Boatbuilders Expo and Conference in 2016. Deurr is hopeful that he can contribute more in the future and also hopes to be able to pass information on to our government agencies on construction, design, testing, and prevention through this committee.

Jeff Forester
952-854-1317 - work

Jeff Forester is executive director of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, formerly the Minnesota Seasonal Recreational Property Owners Coalition (MSRPO). Under his leadership MSRPO-MN Lakes and Rivers has been a key advocate in AIS work, and has committed substantial resources to educating the public about invasive species and advancing AIS efforts with legislative action. Forester is also a writer and has participated in Minnesota Asian Carp Coalition activities, and attended many DNR-hosted AIS Stakeholder meetings. A resident of Minneapolis, Forester enjoys a variety of water-related activities including fishing, boating, sailing, water skiing, and waterfowl hunting.

Jay Green

Jay Green is a software engineer and systems architect working primarily in the healthcare sector. He is an active member of Anglers for Habitat, an organization dedicated to preserving and improving aquatic habitat, clean water, and fishing in Minnesota. Green has served as a board member on several outdoor organizations, including the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation and the Minnesota Sportfishing Congress. Since 2010, he has been an active participant in the AIS stakeholder meetings hosted by the DNR, as well as on a number of AIS committees and task forces sponsored by local government units. He currently serves on the board of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District. A resident of Mound, Green is an avid recreational and tournament angler, and also enjoys many other outdoor activities.

Kenneth Grob
Park Rapids
763-218-1410 - cell

Kenneth Grob is a retired engineer who currently serves as chair of the Hubbard County AIS Task Force. He has been actively engaged in AIS education, awareness, and prevention efforts for over eight years, both in Hubbard County and at the state level. Grob was president of the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) for five years and has served as chairman of the COLA AIS Prevention Committee since 2004. He has participated on several DNR stakeholder groups, including shoreland rules and standards, water structure rules, and aquatic invasive species. Grob is currently a member of the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment and chairs the University of Minnesota Extension Committee for Hubbard County. He has an M.S. Degree from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. During his career, Grob worked with General Motors, Xerox, and Medrad, mostly in upstate New York and Pittsburgh. He grew up in the Houston County area of southeastern Minnesota, and is currently a resident

Tera Guetter
Detroit Lakes
218-846-0436 – work

Tera Guetter is the administrator for the Pelican River Watershed District, an organization dedicated to restoring and maintaining the health of waters in approximately 160 square miles of Becker and Ottertail counties. As a water resource manager, Guetter has a broad range of professional and personal experience with AIS issues, including research, public awareness, prevention, and education. She has served on a variety of committees for local governments units and lake associations, as well as the DNR’s AIS management committee. Guetter, who has a degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota-Morris, is currently serving on the Becker County AIS task force. She is a Detroit Lakes resident and seasonal cabin owner who enjoys boating, skiing, and many other water-related activities with her family.

Barb Halbakken Fischburg
Detroit Lakes

Barb Halbakken Fischburg is a committed advocate who cares deeply about protecting Minnesota’s public waters. She is currently president of the Lake Detroiters Lake Association, serves on the executive board of Becker County COLA, and also serves on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates (MLR). Fischburg has participated in numerous AIS stakeholder activities sponsored by the DNR, local government units, and lake associations, and regularly attends of AIS forums, conferences, and roundtables. She has served on the Minnesota Asian Carp Coalition from its inception and advocated in Washington, D.C. to advocate for increased federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Paul Hamilton
612-269-4580 - cell

Paul Hamilton is a Curriculum and Development Leader in the Orono Public School District and President of the Norway Lake Association of Cass County (NLACC). His education background includes 30 years of experience teaching secondary science including biology, chemistry and physics. Throughout his career his instruction has focused on engaging students with the environment and environmental issues, working with organizations such as the Freshwater Foundation, Lake Minnetonka Watershed District, and Minnesota Tree Trust to accomplish his goals. He was named the 2003 Forestry Educator of the Year by Minnesota Forest Industries in recognition of his work with students in the analysis of the present and future impacts of Buckthorn on local forest ecosystems. As President of NLACC, Paul coordinates efforts to control Curly-leaf pondweed in Norway Lake. He has a degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota, Morris, a Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota, an Education Specialist degree from St. Thomas University and holds a license in K-12 Administration. An avid pheasant hunter, he is a long time member of Pheasant forever and spends many fall days afield with his Brittany Spaniels in Southwestern Minnesota.

Gabriel Jabbour
612-599-2838 - cell

As a resident on Lake Minnetonka for over 40 years, and the owner of four marinas and a boat manufacturer, Gabriel Jabbour has always participated in and contributed to lake-related issues. He currently serves on the AIS committee for both the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Jabbour has worked with the DNR on public access issues and helped the agency facilitate four AIS training sessions for lake service providers. He also has extensive involvement in local government, including serving on the planning commission and as mayor for the city of Orono. In addition, Jabbour worked with Three River Parks and Hennepin County to acquire the Dakota Trail, and was involved in helping Orono wok with the State of Minnesota to acquire and preserve the Big Island Veteran Camp, where he presently serves as custodian. He has participated in a variety of AIS stakeholder meetings and committees sponsored by the DNR and local government organizations. Jabbour lives in Orono, where he pursues pleasure boating in his leisure time.

Robert Olsen
507-694-1344 - work

Robert Olsen is the Environmental Administrator for Lincoln County in South Western Minnesota. He currently serves as Supervisor for the Lake Benton Improvement District where he helps establish policies for managing AIS, specifically curly-leaf pondweed. He has participated in several DNR-hosted AIS stakeholder meetings, as well as AIS committees sponsored by local government units. Olsen is a lifelong resident of Lincoln County. He lives near Canby and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including fishing and boating.

James Stratton
Douglas County Commissioner

Donovan Strong
218-248-0277 - cell

Donovan Strong is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe residing on the shores of the Lake Vermilion Reservation, located near Tower, Minnesota. He is an avid fisherman and harvester of natural lake Minnesota grown wild rice. Working as a Lake Service Provider in the Ely, Tower and Virginia areas, AIS has definitely been thrust in the forefront of his daily open water activities, with installation and removal of water related equipment, docks, boat lifts, rafts, rail systems, attention to what is on the equipment is a task not taken lightly. With the introduction of spiny water-flea into the waters of Lake Vermilion, unfortunately this has made him more aware and vigilant of what needs to be done. Also owning a wild rice company that relies on "natural lake" Minnesota wild rice as it's only source, protection of natural wild rice lakes is vital to license and sell with the MN Grown Label. He may not be an avid waterfowl hunter, but plenty of waterfowl rely on wild rice lakes to feed on. He would like to provide two different perspectives to the AIS Advisory Committee.

Paul Thiede

Paul Thiede was just re-elected to his fourth term on the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners. During his tenure Crow Wing County has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for its Land Services reorganization, zoning ordinance rewrite and water planning efforts. He is a member of the Mississippi Headwaters Board and has served on numerous other boards and commissions. During four terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives he served as vice-chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and was on the national board of a state legislative conference. He is an avid hunter and fisherman. Raised in Motley, Minnesota, he is a graduate of the University of Dayton and a former editor/owner of a weekly newspaper. Paul and his wife, Dee, spent the last nearly forty years raising a family of eight children on the shores of Upper Hay Lake near Pequot Lakes.

Jen Wahls
651-565-4673 x109

Jen Wahls is the AIS Coordinator for the Wabasha Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). She relocated to southeastern Minnesota in March 2015 from Ely, Minnesota when she was offered this position. The program was new to the district. She has tailored the program focus towards the cold-water streams of southeastern Minnesota. Funding from the Local Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid allowed Wabasha County to be able to hire a full-time employee dedicated to AIS prevention. Her training in AIS started at age 11 or 12, 25 years ago when she found zebra mussels while harvesting threeridge mussels on the Minnesota side of Lake Pepin. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Outdoor Education from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Her husband and their dog Bill have enjoyed the move "south" with the extended growing season and being close to family.


AIS Advisory Committee Ex-Officio Members

Carol Altepeter
218-828-2334 work
218-820-0236 cell

Carol Altepeter is the northwest and central region manager for Explore Minnesota Tourism. She has a long history of communicating about AIS to Minnesota resorts and the tourism industry as a whole, and is committed to making sure visitors to our state know and understand our AIS regulations and why we have them. Altepeter previously served on the Shoreland Standards Advisory Committee, the DNR Invasive Species Terrestrial Advisory Marketing Committee, and the DNR Fishing Roundtable. A resident of Brainerd, she is an avid woman angler with a special interest in connecting children to fishing and the outdoors.

Norman W. Deschampe
Grand Portage


Norman Deschampe is an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and currently the Tribal Chairman of the Band, a position he has been elected to for the last 21 years. During Norman's career as Chairman he has served on many committees related to preserving the environment and protecting the rights of tribal members under the 1854 Treaty Authority to hunt and fish. As an avid outdoorsman Norman is committed to protecting our natural resources.

Michael Hoff

Michael Hoff is the Invasive Species Program Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the Midwest Region. He began working on invasive species issues in 1975, and has focused primarily on invasive species activities since 2001. Hoff played a lead role in drafting Aquatic Invasive Species Action Plans for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and for the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association. He currently works on coordinating invasive species program activities with representatives from the governments of Canada and Mexico, as well as NGOs, tribes, and industries in the Midwest region. Hoff is leading efforts to use risk assessment products for regulatory and non-regulatory decision-making, and is helping to lead early detection and response planning for the USFWS in the Great Lakes region. He received a B.S. Degree in Fisheries Management from U.W. Stevens Point, and an M.S. degree in Biology from Tennessee Technological University. A resident of Eagan, Hoff enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, kayaking, skiing, and running.

Douglas Jensen
218.726.8712 - work

Doug Jensen is the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program in Duluth. He has over 20 years of experience working on AIS issues, and is considered a national expert on the biology, ecology, and impacts of aquatic invasive species. With specialized experience in public communications, human behavioral science, environmental education and program evaluation, Jensen brings an outcomes-based approach to AIS outreach. He played an integral role in establishing the national campaigns for Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!, a behavior intervention campaign aimed at preventing AIS spread by boaters and anglers, and Habitattitude, designed to educate aquarists and water gardeners to prevent the release of aquarium fish and plants into waters of the state. He has participated in numerous DNR-hosted AIS stakeholder meetings, and holds leadership positions for many national and local AIS organizations including: the Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council, the National Invasive Species Council, the Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, and the Great Lakes Panel on ANS. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Great Lakes Aquarium. Jensen has an M.S. in Education and a B.S. in biology and from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in Duluth where he enjoys boating and year-round fishing.

Michael McCartney
St. Paul

Michael McCartney is a research assistant professor in the Minnesota AIS Research Center (MAISRC) and the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at UMN. Dr. McCartney earned a Ph.D. at SUNY Stony Brook and did postdocs at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Florida State University. He came to MAISRC to study zebra mussels after 13 years on the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. His research program has featured a broad range of marine and freshwater invertebrates and fishes—with a focus on mollusks—and he often uses molecular biology to study problems in ecology, evolution and conservation. By using the most modern genetic and genomic tools available, Dr. McCartney aims to describe the pathways of zebra mussel spread in Minnesota and to develop early detection methods that target zebra mussel veliger larvae. The goal of his research is to help AIS managers around the state direct their efforts towards areas of the highest risk of invasion.