Who We Are

Jessica Mounts, Executive Director

After nearly two decades in public service, Jessica knows that connecting people to water relies on personal relationships, as well as creative planning and solutions. Using her passion for rivers and streams and the belief that people can only love what they know, Jessica rallied support for the fish passage at the Lincoln Street Dam in Wichita, and secured the designation of National Water Trail for the Arkansas River in Kansas while working as a fisheries biologist at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. She has a diverse history of non-profit leadership, serving in various positions on and supporting several local non-profit boards, including the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center. In 2014, Jessica was named Water Conservationist of the year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation.

Jessica holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Newman University, earned a mini-MPA from Wichita State University, and holds certificates in leadership from Kansas University and the Kansas Leadership Center.

When she’s not working, she can be found hiking, backpacking, paddling, hunting and fishing across the prairie with her family.

Libby Albers, Assistant Director

Libby Albers has recently returned to her long-held career field in natural resources as Assistant Director of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Stream, after serving as Director of the Hesston Public Library for five years.  Prior to library work, Libby managed the WATER Center in Wichita, KS – a groundwater remediation and environmental education initiative – for twelve years. Her work experience with KDWPT Fisheries, the Great Plains Nature Center, and AmeriCorps reflects her passion for Kansas’ natural environment.

Libby was named Hesston, Kansas’ “Citizen of the Year” in 2015.  She received the “Water Conservationist” award from the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2011, the “Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Award” from KACEE in 2007, and KDHE’s “Pollution Prevention” award in 2011.

Libby has undergraduate degrees in English (Kansas Newman College) and Biology (Wichita State University) as well as a Masters of Science Natural Resource Interpretation (Stephen F. Austin State University) and a Masters in Library & Information Science (Emporia State University). She holds certifications from the Kansas Leadership Center, the Kansas Environmental Leadership Program, and the National Association for Interpretation.

Libby’s interests include treasured time with her kids, camping, gardening, and working on her 120-year-old house.  She loves Kansas and regularly geeks out on local history, native plants, and back road adventures.

Bob Culbertson

Bob Culbertson is the coordinator for Toronto, Fall River and Upper Neosho WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Teams. He also serves as the Eastern Kansas Wetland Coordinator. Bob knows that private landowners in Kansas hold the keys to conservation of natural resources in the state and believes that working directly with them is both rewarding and integral to conserving and improving our soil, water, grasslands, streams, forests, wetlands and wildlife. Bob has been involved with KAWS since 2015, having worked for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism as a Private Land Wildlife Biologist. He served as the Area Biologist in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Emporia working with District Conservationists and landowners in southeast Kansas.

Bob holds a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology from Kansas State University. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with the Wildlife Society, is certified in wetland identification and delineation and has completed numerous other training modules. Bob was recognized by the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2001 as Land and Soil Conservationist of the year.

Wes Fleming

Wes is the coordinator for the Eagle Creek Stakeholder Leadership Team.
He believes nature based solutions to ecological problems maintains the connection between people and the environment.

Wes started with KAWS in 2013. He quickly learned that the people involved with KAWS have the knowledge, experience, and passion to tackle the states most challenging water issues. He is a trained fisheries biologist and completed his masters of science at Fort Hays State University in 2012. His thesis work evaluated aging techniques and recruitment of walleye. Partnered with fellow Fort Hays students Wes helped secure a Chickadee checkoff grant to study fresh water mussels in the Smokey Hill and Saline Rivers.

Wes currently serves as an environmental biologist at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. Additionally, he is the Vice-Chair for KAWS, and the secretary of the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. He lives in Burlington Kansas, the Catfish Capital of the World, with his Wife Adrienne, and two children Sawyer and Twila.

Dan Haines

Dan Haines is the Co-Coordinator for the John Redmond Reservoir WRAPS.

Adam Bauer

Adam is the Coordinator for the Milford Reservoir WRAPS.

Megan Rush

Megan is the Coordinator for both the Middle and Lower Kansas River WRAPS.

Debra Baker

Debra Baker assists the Executive Director with project management, grant and report writing and organizational capacity. Debra recognizes the connection between the natural and built environments and works to integrate science-based decisions with people and their needs in mind. She believes that natural resource protection can be achieved through knowledge and understanding of these connections. She has more than 30 years of experience in the private and public sectors where she applied her extensive experience in ecosystem studies.

Debra has served on numerous non-profit boards including Friends of the Kaw, Kansas Ground Water Association, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, State Association of Wetland Managers, City of Lawrence Waste Reduction and Recycling Advisory Board, city of Lawrence Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition. She is currently president of the Kansas Land Trust and has been a conservation advocate all of her adult life. Debra holds a Master’s Degree in Botany from the University of Kansas and has completed numerous technical and leadership trainings as continuing education throughout her career.

Mary Howell

Mary Howell assists with program outreach at KAWS.

Mike O’Connor

Mike O’Connor is the Coordinator for the Labette Creek Watershed Regional Conservation Partner Project (RCPP) above Grand Lake of the Cherokees. His work focuses on soil conservation projects in the Neosho river basin above Grand Lake. Mike has 35 years of experience working as a soil conservationist with USDA before retiring in 2017 and joining the KAWS team.
Mike has a Associate Degree in Biology from Labette Community College & Bachelor of Science Degree from Kansas State University in Natural Resource Management.