Staff

karen-web_100pxKaren Knudsen — Executive Director

Karen was hired as director in April 2007. She has worked with the Coalition for over 20 years in a variety of capacities, including director of its River Smart Growth program, communications director, business manager, and education and outreach coordinator. Karen is part of the Healthy Headwaters Working Group for Carpe Diem West, an organization that engages diverse stakeholders in developing strategies for addressing climate change impacts on water in the American West. She also serves on the board of the Watershed Restoration Coalition, a landowner-driven nonprofit working to conserve natural resources through stream restoration in the Upper Clark Fork basin. Prior to joining the Coalition in 1993, Karen worked as a research associate for a forestry/economics research firm in Portland, where she conducted economic, policy and financial research on national forest management issues. She holds a B.A. in economics from Colorado College and a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University. In her spare time, she’s outdoors as much as possible, enjoying Montana rivers and mountains with her husband and two children. Contact Karen at karen@clarkfork.org or call (406) 550-5503.

Sam Carlson — Staff Scientist

Sam joined the Clark Fork Coalition in 2024, and works to interpret, evaluate, and expand our scientific understanding of the Clark Fork River. He brings a determination to apply science to conservation challenges, and a broad interest in ecology, and a background in water quality, hydrology, and data science.  Before joining the CFC, Sam was an Assistant Research Professor at Montana State University, where he worked on investigations of landscape-scale patterns of stream temperature and stream metabolism, examinations of the relationship between streamflow and water quality, and efforts to develop accessible resources for sharing ecological insights and data.  He holds a PhD in Ecology and Environmental Science from Montana State University.  Outside of work, Sam can most likely be found in a canoe or on a bicycle.

Julia Crocker — Community Programs Coordinator

Julia joined CFC in 2022 as the community programs coordinator. Julia is licensed science teacher with experience in high school and middle school classrooms. She has a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in geology and a master’s degree in secondary science education. Julia was awarded the Partners in Science fellowship through the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust with Dr. Andrew Whiteley where she engaged in science-based research practices to develop research skills. She now manages programs, projects, and partnerships that increase watershed literacy, provide opportunities to care for the river, and build community around a healthy and resilient Clark Fork River system. She coordinates volunteer and community science opportunities, community events, and youth and adult learning activities. Contact Julia at julia@clarkfork.org or call (406) 550-5515.

Andy-Fischer-bio_100pxAndy Fischer — Project Manager

Andy works to restore streamflows to creeks and rivers in Western Montana. He partners with water right holders and irrigation groups on projects that benefit both fish and farmers. These types of projects include water conservation measures such as canal piping, water leasing and diversion reduction agreements. He works closely with water users and other stakeholder groups applying for grants, researching water rights, negotiating water purchase agreements, hiring and overseeing contractors and engineers, managing budgets and monitoring project effectiveness. Andy was born and raised in Missoula and has an intimate knowledge of the waterways of Western Montana. He holds an M.S. in resource conservation with an emphasis in water resource management from the University of Montana and a B.A. in environmental studies from Whitman College. Andy’s past experience includes working for the Deschutes River Conservancy in Central Oregon managing large-scale irrigation canal piping projects that conserved and pressurized irrigation water. In his free time, Andy enjoys exploring Montana through hunting, fishing, biking and skiing. Contact Andy at andy@clarkfork.org or call (406) 550-5501.

Chloe Gibson – Accounting Manager and Human Resources

Chloe recently joined the CFC team as the Accounting Manager. She brings with her a background in corporate accounting, mainly focusing on assurance services, and the aspiration to use her skills and knowledge in the conservation industry. At CFC she is responsible for all our accounting systems, operations, policies, and procedures, along with assuring compliance on grants and contracts. A West Virginia native, Chloe holds a B.S. in Accounting and MBA from West Virginia Wesleyan College. In her free time she enjoys all things outside! Contact Chloe at chloe@clarkfork.org or call (406) 550-5508.

Andrew Gorder — Legal Director

As CFC’s legal director, Andrew develops and advances advocacy strategies for protecting and restoring the Clark Fork watershed, and conducts research and interpretation of water rights, water law, and water policy. Andrew joined CFC in 2017. He previously worked as a Water Master for the MT Water Court, where he developed a deep working knowledge of the intricacies of Montana water law. Andrew also served as staff attorney for Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, litigating cases in public land, wildlife, and natural resource issues in federal court. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the Univ. of WY and a J.D. from the Univ. of MT School of Law. Contact Andrew at andrew@clarkfork.org or call (406) 550-5502.

Lily Haines — Community Programs Manager

Lily organizes and manages CFC’s community-based programming, including watershed education curricula for youth, water briefings and community science field outings for adults, and volunteer opportunities that build a culture of river stewardship and connect people to their local creeks and streams. Before joining the CFC in 2015, Lily worked for the BLM as a riparian health and restoration specialist, and was an educator for spectrUM Discovery Area, the Montana Natural History Center, and Ecology Project International. Lily grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in botany/ecology, a Master Certificate in GIS, and ancillary Master’s work focusing on aquatic ecosystems. Contact Lily at lily@clarkfork.org or (406) 550-5516.

Eric Hull — Streamflow Project Manager

Eric manages a suite of flow restoration projects in the Clark Fork basin, helping fulfill the goals of CFC’s Restoration Strategy by developing projects with private landowners and other partners. He grew up exploring the woods and waters of western Pennsylvania before moving to Montana on a college Exchange Program and a whim. He quickly fell in love with his new home and has spent the last 15+ years learning about Montana’s landscapes while working to conserve them. Eric’s been lucky enough to work all across western Montana, ranging from land stewardship in the Centennial Valley to tour guiding as a boat captain in Glacier National Park. He brings additional experience with (Tribal) water rights, habitat conservation, computer mapping, and cooperation with multiple stakeholders. He and his delightful wife (and their adventure cat) enjoy maintaining their small property in the Mission Valley. Off the property, Eric enjoys most outdoor pursuits as an avid backpacker, angler, and hunter-conservationist. Contact Eric at eric@clarkfork.org or (406) 550-5506.

Emily McGuirt — Monitoring & Project Coordinator

Emily joined CFC in 2021 as the streamflow monitoring technician and became the monitoring and project coordinator in 2022. Emily provides monitoring and technical support for instream flow projects as well as manages projects designed to improve water quality, streamflow, fisheries, and watershed health. She has a background in GIS, and conducts geospatial analyses and visualizations to support project development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from UNC-Chapel Hill and has extensive field and research experience with the Clearwater Resource Council, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, and NOAA. Contact Emily at emily@clarkfork.org or call (406) 550-5512.

Liz_2_100pxLiz Murphy — Development/Special Events Manager

Liz joined the CFC team in 2010 to support our fundraising and special event efforts. Liz comes to us from the Chicago area, where she had experience in fundraising, communications, and administration. She graduated in 2003 from St. Lawrence University with a B.A. in government. Liz is thoroughly enjoying all that living and recreating have to offer in Montana, and in her off time she enjoys hiking, music, animals, football and getting out to enjoy the local rivers and culture in Missoula. Contact Liz at (406) 550-5513 or liz@clarkfork.org.

Adam Switalski — Project Manager

Adam joined Clark Fork Coalition in 2021 as a project manager focused on stream restoration in the Bitterroot basin. He brings 20 years of experience in restoration ecology, working both for nonprofits and in the private sector as an environmental consultant. Adam works collaboratively with state and federal agencies, private land owners, and conservation partners to develop and implement restoration projects across the Bitterroot watershed. His specialty is restoring aquatic habitat and reducing erosion associated with roads, stream crossings, and streambanks. Most recently, Adam was Principal at InRoads Consulting which provided resource assessments, on-the ground restoration, and monitoring across the northwest. He holds an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife from Utah State University and spends his spare time hiking, skiing, and floating around Missoula with his family. Contact Adam at (406) 550-5510 or email him at adam@clarkfork.org.

Jess Walter — Development Director

Jess spent her childhood on the lakes and trails of Wisconsin before earning a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Northern Colorado. She spent four years fundraising for NPR affiliate KUNC then eight car-free ones in Amsterdam. There she worked as a freelance copywriter and photographer, traveled often, and mastered balancing her three kids on a bike. She missed exploring wild places and sitting a few notches lower on the food chain so packed up and joined Montana Public Radio as Sponsor Support Specialist in 2019, fostering connections across Western Montana. Jess is committed to ensuring the future of CFC through creative revenue generation and strategic community partnerships. More weekends than not, she and her family hit the river, xc ski trails, or wonderfully long road to their cabin. Contact Jess at (406) 550-5505 or  jess@clarkfork.org.

Jed Whiteley — Restoration Director

Jed joined the Coalition staff in 2013 and works to develop and implement restoration solutions for impaired tributary streams throughout the Clark Fork. Jed specializes in the development of flow and instream restoration projects in the Bitterroot Valley and the Middle Clark Fork. He is also responsible for the monitoring strategies that guide the way we manage project-area creeks and streams. Jed comes to the CFC with 19 years of experience in the field of river and ecological restoration, working in positions from field technician to company president. Most notably, he ran S&K Environmental from 2007-12 and was instrumental in growing the company. Jed is an avid fisherman, boater, hunter and backpacker, with a B.S. in natural resource management and forestry with a concentration in environmental management from California Polytechnic State University. Contact Jed at (406) 550-5509 or email him at jed@clarkfork.org.