Board of Commissioners

2008 Water Quality Forum

Session 1

  • Dr. Shannon Briggs
    Dr. Briggs is a toxicologist for the Water Bureau of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She provides toxicological reviews of chemicals and pathogens for the protection of human health. She also manages Michigan's Beach Monitoring program that distributes state and federal funding to local health departments. Dr. Briggs is also a member and past-President of the Great Lakes Beach Association. She received a B.S. in Animal Science and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Michigan State University.
    Presentation : Beach Trends and Data
  • Dr. Phanikumar Mantha
    Dr. Mantha is an Associate Professor of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University. His research interests include fate and transport of contaminants in the environment, watershed modeling and coastal water quality issues. Students in his group combine field work with mathematical modeling to address questions related to both water quality and quantity.
    Presentation : Grand River Modeling:Water Quality and Land Use
    Handout : Evaluating Bacteriophage
  • Dr. Joan Rose
    Dr. Joan Rose serves as the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University, the Co-Director of the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA) and the Director of the Center for Water Sciences (CWS). Dr. Rose received her B.S., in 1976 from University of Arizona, her MS from University of Wyoming in 1980 and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Arizona in 1985. She served as a Professor in the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida (USF) from 1998-2002 and Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science, USF from 1994-1997. In 1995, she was an Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, USF, and from 1986-1989, she served as Research Associate/Lecturer, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UAZ.
    Dr. Rose is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety publishing more than 250 manuscripts. She has been involved in the investigation of numerous waterborne outbreaks world-wide. Her work has examined new molecular methods for waterborne pathogens and zoonotic agents such as Cryptosporidium and enteric viruses and source tracking techniques. She has been involved in the study of water supplies, water used for food production, and coastal environments as well as drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, reclaimed water and water reuse. She specifically interested in microbial pathogen transport in coastal systems and risks to recreational waters. She has been involved in the study of climate factors on water quality. Dr. Rose has been involved in the development of quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) frameworks, methods and data sets and considered one of the international experts in this evolving arena.
    She was named as one of the 21 most influential people in Water in the 21st Century by Water Technology Magazine in 2000 and won the Clarke Water Prize ($50,000 prize and one of 5 international awards for contributions to water science and technology). Current service on advisory committees include 1) Chair of the Drinking Water Committee for the Science Advisory Board for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2) Vice-Chair of USA National Committee for the International Water Association, 2002-05, 4) Member of the Strategic Council for IWA 2005-08, 3) Chair of the Specialist Group Health-Related Water Microbiology (IWA).
    She was appointed to Water Science and Technology Board of National Academy of Science, National Research Council, 1998-2004 and served as Vice Chair of the Board from 2002-04. Sources of recent grant and/or contract support include NOAA, EPA, Water Environ. Research Foundation, NSF, and AWWARF. She was recently awarded as PI a 10 million dollar grant for Directing the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment funded by the EPA and US Department of Homeland Security.
    Presentation : Occurrence and Survival of Protozoan Parasites
  • Adam London
    Adam London is a registered sanitarian and the Environmental Health Manager for the Ottawa County Health Department. He has worked in local public health for several health departments across the state. He has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Health from Ferris State, a master's degree in Public Administration from Grand Valley, and he is currently working on a PhD in Public Health. Adam is also the current President of the Michigan Association of Local Environmental Health Administrators. At the Ottawa County Health Department, Adam and his team of Environmental Health Sanitarians work to protect public health and the environment through a variety of programs.
    Presentation : 2008 Surface Water Report

Session 2

  • Mary Fales
    Mary Fales was recently hired as the Watershed Coordinator for the Macatawa Watershed Project at the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council. Her main responsibility is to oversee implementation of the Rural Program Development Grant (DEQ Section 319 grant), including updating the current Nonpoint Source Phosphorus Reduction Plan to current EPA standards. She also coordinates with numerous community partners and programs to carry out tasks related to meeting the target phosphorus reduction goals for the watershed.
    Previously, she worked in the Community Water Supply Program for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Bureau. While at the DEQ she also worked with concentrated animal feeding operations and with watershed groups in the Non Point Source Program. Mary Fales completed her undergraduate education at Michigan State University. There she earned two Bachelors of Science Degrees, one in Environmental Studies and Applications and the other in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. After graduation she worked as a Staff Scientist for an environmental consulting firm CTI & Associates, Brighton, MI. In 2003, she returned to school to pursue a Masters Degree at Grand Valley State University in the Biology Department. Mary is currently working to complete her thesis work.
    Presentation : Lake Macatawa A Resource Worth Protecting
  • John Scholtz
    John Scholtz has a Master of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Resources from Michigan State University and has been the Director of Parks and Recreation for Ottawa County since 1987. John reports to the 10 member Parks and Recreation Commission which oversees all parks and recreation functions including acquisition, development and operation of the 5,500 acre county park and open space system.
    Presentation : Upper Macatawa Natural Area
  • Andy Bowman
    Andy Bowman is the Planning Director with the Grand Valley Metro Council.
    For more information on the Lower Grand Watershed please visit
  • Dr. Alan Steinman
    Alan Steinman has been Director of Grand Valley State University's Annis Water Resources Institute, located in Muskegon, Michigan, since 2001. Previously, he was Director of the Lake Okeechobee Division at the South Florida Water Management District in West Palm Beach, FL. Steinman has published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters, is Associate Editor of two scientific journals, and has been awarded over $40 million in grants for scientific and engineering projects. His awards include Phi Beta Kappa, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Outstanding Planning Achievement Award, the Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal from the National Audubon Society, and a 2007 Journal of Environmental Quality (JEQ) Outstanding Reviewer.
    Currently, he is a member of U.S. EPA's Science Advisory Board, the International Joint Committee's Public Interest Advisory Group for the Upper Great Lakes Study, Science Advisory Panels for Minnesota Sea Grant and CMU's Beaver Island BioStation, and has served on the State of Michigan's Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council and Phosphorus Advisory Committee. Steinman's research interests have revolved around nutrient cycling in aquatic ecosystems, restoration ecology, and algal ecology. Current research projects include economic valuation of ecosystem services, ecological impacts of stormwater and nonpoint source pollution, and the use of created wetlands to mitigate nonpoint source pollution.
    His community activity services include: Board of Directors of Muskegon Rotary, Green Infrastructure Leadership Council of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, Institutional Review Board of Hackley Hospital (Muskegon), Environmental Committee of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, and former Board member of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.
    Presentation : Stormwater Management in Spring Lake
  • Ken Freestone
    Ken came to West Michigan Strategic Alliance (WMSA) as the Interim Green Infrastructure Project Manager in January 2008 and accepted the position of Project Manager in May 2008. He has worked with WMSA in the past, contributing to the Common Framework publication and serving on the Green Infrastructure Leadership Council (GILC). He also has been a consistent contributor to the community of Holland and the broader West Michigan region in leadership roles with environmental organizations, alternative energy projects, the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and the Holland City Council. He most recently worked as an independent contractor with Whitaker Associates, the AuSable Institute for Environmental Studies and the Holland Area Arts Council.
    For more information on WMSA's regional indicators, including the water quality indicator, please visit
  • Mark Knudsen
    Mark Knudsen is the Director of the Ottawa County Planning & Grants Department, a position he has held since January 1997. His responsibilities include land-use planning, strategic planning, program evaluation, legislative analysis, and grant administration.
    Knudsen joined Ottawa County after serving as a Chief-of-Staff and Policy Advisor to Senator John Pridnia. In the Senate, he worked extensively on rural development, health care, economic development, and other legislative issues. Prior to his employment in the Senate, Knudsen served as the Coordinator for Congressman Guy VanderJagt's 9th District.
    Knudsen has also served on several boards and commissions. He is a member of the West Michigan Regional Planning Commission, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council's Technical Committee, Building Restorative Communities Initiative, and the Grand Haven Planning Commission. Knudsen is also a past member of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council's Executive Committee, Grand Haven Zoning Board of Appeals, Grand Haven Airport Board, and Suttons Bay Planning Commission.
    Presentation : Countywide Water Resources Study and Assessment

Session 3

  • David Hamilton
    David A. Hamilton is Chief of the Water Management Section, Land and Water Management Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He oversees all of the Division's engineering functions, including the Hydrologic Studies, Dam Safety, Lake Level Engineering, Floodplain Management, and Transportation Project Review Programs. Mr. Hamilton previously managed the Surface Water Quality Division, which included NPDES permits and nonpoint source control; the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program; and the Inland Lakes Management Program. He has a B.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering from Michigan State University, with special emphasis in Soil Conservation and Water Management. He has a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with emphasis in Hydrology and Water Resources. He has worked for the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality, since 1978. His work involved both surface and groundwater hydrology, and both water quantity and water quality issues.
    Mr. Hamilton is one of the principal developers of Michigan's Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool. The Assessment Tool is designed to evaluate the likely impact of water withdrawals on stream fish populations. It is a unique combination of hydrologic, well hydraulics, and fish response models.
    Mr. Hamilton works extensively with many diverse groups interested in water issues, including state and federal agencies, local government, drain commissioners, universities, environmental groups, watershed councils, and professional associations. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union, Association of State Dam Safety Officials, and the Association of State Floodplain Managers.
    Presentation : Water Withdrawal Assessment Process
  • Amy Perbeck
    Amy Perbeck is a Toxicologist with the Department of Environmental Quality's Water Bureau. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences with a concentration in Public Health and a minor in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Public Health degree in Toxicology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her primary role with the DEQ is to perform risk assessments for the groundwater program, and provide support to the surface water and drinking water programs. In addition to her duties at the DEQ, Amy is an adjunct professor in the Science Department at Lansing Community College.
    Presentation : Pharmaceuticals in MI Waters
  • Sonia Joseph
    As Outreach Coordinator for the NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health at the Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory, Sonia's primary role is to manage all stakeholder involvement with Center activities. This involves developing outreach products and materials on Center research in order to broaden community ties to include medical, drinking water, water treatment, and beach management constituencies. As well as working with multiple stakeholder groups to identify and assess user needs and research priorities, in order to promote environmental literacy and reduce water-quality related illness.
    Presentation : Blue-green Algae Blooms and Volunteer Monitoring
    Handout : Harmful Algal Blooms in the Great Lakes
    Handout : Beach Closures and Human Health
    Handout : Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health
  • Dr. Dan O'Keefe
    Dr. O'Keefe is the Southwest District Extension Educator for the Michigan Sea Grant. He works with coastal communities and businesses in southwest Michigan to apply science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes and southern Lake Michigan issues. The southwest district serves Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren, and Berrien counties.
    Dr. O'Keefe's areas of focus including assisting Great Lakes charter boat, recreational, and commercial fishing industries in adapting to changing environmental, economic, and sociopolitical conditions; promoting understanding of connections between watersheds, rivers, drowned river mouth lakes, and Lake Michigan to highlight impacts of inland communities on Great Lakes fisheries; working toward development of emerging fisheries, fishing methods, and seafood products.
    Presentation : Invasive Species in the Great LakesInvasive Lakes
    Handout : Online Resources for Aquatic Invaders Information