Valeen Madden, Executive Director
Valeen grew up in Grant County and brings a wealth of local knowledge to the council. She started her journey with the North Fork John Day Watershed Council in June 2009 as Business Manager, promoted to Private Lands Project Coordinator in January 2015, promoted to Assistant Executive Director in April 2017, and taking on directorship of the Council in May of 2018. She has a drive for being a team player and is always willing to answer a call for help. Valeen’s hobbies are spending time with her family, spending time outdoors and reading, when she can find the time.
Restoration Program Coordinator
Kristen was born and raised in Iowa. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Portland State University. Kristen moved to Monument in 2016 after working at sea in Alaska as a fisheries biologist for 2 years. She has a passion for conservation and is excited to explore the beautiful, rugged Eastern Oregon landscape. In her free time, Kristen enjoys spending time outdoors with her boyfriend and their dog.
Originally from Port Angeles, WA, Javan joined the Watershed Council in order to focus her efforts on local restoration work in aquatic environments. She brings a diverse background in fisheries and water quality monitoring and research gained through working for several state and federal agencies and universities, mostly in the Pacific Northwest. In her free time she enjoys exploring the great outdoors through a variety of activities.
Kris Thornton, Community Development & Outreach Coordinator
Kris comes all the way to Oregon by way of Mississippi, where he got his start in the natural resources field as a crew leader for a conservation corps working along the gulf coast. He is passionate about the environment and youth, and enjoys the perfect combination of the two where he can help formulate the next generation of land stewards. In his off-time he spends time with his pup, Bodie, and exploring the local wild landscapes.
Kaysi is from a rural community in central west Texas. She attended Texas A&M University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Since graduating from college she has worked in many fields including: livestock show production, marine biology education, office management, and hospitality. She moved to Grant County in the fall of 2019. Kaysi spends her free time reading, trying new hobbies such as painting and embroidery, and spending time with her boyfriend and their dogs, Luna and Trigger.
Justin grew up in Grant County, experiencing the diverse uses of our public lands. He received a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Eastern Oregon University. He has enjoyed work in every field from Computer/Network Technician to Ranch Hand, including 5 years with the Malheur National Forest as a Timber Marker/Cruiser. He has chosen to make Grant County his home and enjoys working in Watershed Restoration with such an enthusiastic team. Justin Coordinates and manages projects and monitoring across the landscape.
Alex grew up in a military family, moving from place to place on a regular basis. Oregon is his ninth state of residence along with two other countries. He has a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in forestry from Michigan Tech. Alex is passionate about conservation, ecological restoration, and working with landowners and local communities. He has worked in a variety of ecosystems from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes and the Marshes of Louisiana and is very excited to get to work in and learn about the people and lands comprising the North Fork John Day Watershed. In his spare time he likes to read and get outdoors as much as possible.
Join Our Team
NFJDWC Board of Directors
Ed Farren - Board Chairman, Eugene, OR
Ed is retired from his career as a hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service. He spent his later career on the Umatilla National Forest and has extensive background and knowledge in both restoration and local conditions.
John Zakrajsek - Treasurer, La Grande, OR
John is a biologist with the Umatilla Tribes. He brings a vast knowledge of project implementation and support to the project. His background will assure financial efficiency for the Council.
Amy Charette - Secretary, John Day, OR
Amy served as Executive Director of the North Fork John Day Watershed Council from 7/2008-4/2011. She currently holds the position of Watershed Restoration Coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Amy holds a Master of Science in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management.
Rick Henslee - Director, Long Creek, OR
Rick is a life-long resident of Grant County and of the Long Creek watershed. He is a rancher who directs a natural beef cooperative and sits on the Grant County Soil and Water Conservation District board. He has spent a lifetime of observing the landscape and citizens of the local community while doing all he could to help them.
Reiba Carter Smith - Director, Long Creek, OR
Reiba is a retired teacher who supports our education and outreach operations. She has taught and helped to raise many of the residents of our immediate area. She has a deep awareness of the strengths and conflicts for the local population.
Mark Reitman - Director, Heppner, OR
Mark runs a ranch in the northwest portion of our community. He is a long-term volunteer in his home town and will reach out to those members of the community that are geographically somewhat distant.