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 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 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.
Rebecca Steadman is the Coordinator for the Upper Wakarusa WRAPS.
Rebecca Steadman is the coordinator for Upper Wakarusa WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Team. Rebecca appreciates the difficult decisions Kansas farmers and ranchers make to maintain their livelihood and understands their commitment to preserving the land they operate.
Before coming to KAWS in 2019, Rebecca worked for over 30 years with USDA, primarily with the Risk Management Agency where she served as the Regional Office Director overseeing the Federal crop insurance program for the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado. She also worked at the national level for both the Risk Management Agency and the Farm Service Agency.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and is a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter. Rebecca enjoys spending her free time on the family farm in Franklin County where there never seems to be a shortage of things to do.
Dan Haines is the Co-Coordinator for the John Redmond Reservoir WRAPS.
For Dan, the environmentally compatible land use connections with our ecological resources are a source of wonderment and envy. Dan holds a Master of Science degree from Emporia State University in Environmental Biology.
Prior to joining KAWS, Dan’s career focused on natural resource management including land and water features, at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. He served as a member of several boards and initiatives, including the conservation District, Resource Conservation and Development, Neosho Basin Goal Setting team, Bi-State Water Quality Project, Equus-Walnut Regional Advisory Council, Coffey County Regional WRAPS, and various NGO’s.
Retiring (kind of), Dan now operates the family farm near Leon. Personal challenges and successes with cattle and crop production equip Dan with an ever-learning appreciation of producer’s and landowner’s opportunities for conserving natural resources.
Adam is the Coordinator for the Milford Reservoir WRAPS.
Adam Bauer, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has been hired as the Watershed Coordinator for the Milford Lake Watershed. Most recently, Adam worked for Pheasants Forever in partnership with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism assisting tenant farmers on the wildlife area and help to promote sustainable farming practices by using cover crops in crop rotations.
Adam brings his expertise in private lands, ArcGIS and Google Earth to the KAWS team.
Megan is the Coordinator for both the Middle and Lower Kansas River WRAPS.
Megan Rush is the Watershed Coordinator for Middle Kansas River Watershed. Megan is based out of Lawrence, KS and graduated from the University of Kansas with a master’s in Environmental Assessment. When she isn’t working on water quality, you can find her kayaking or stand up paddling boarding on the water, traveling, or petting every animal she comes across.
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 assists with program outreach at KAWS.