2023 Northwest Straits Conference

The Northwest Straits Initiative MRC Conference was held on November 2-3, 2023 at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA.

This event brought together MRC members from all seven counties, local leaders, project partners, Northwest Straits Commissioners, and Foundation members. Below is a photo gallery from the event.

Photo Gallery

Celebrating 25 years of the Northwest straits initiative

Please check this website for more information we'll be adding!

Agenda: 2023 Conference Agenda


Climate Action and Resiliency Session
Kate Dean: Kate Dean was elected to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners in 2017 and re-elected in 2021. She moved to rural Jefferson County in the late 1990s as a young farmer and entrepreneur committed to growing the local food economy. She was the co-founder of Old Tarboo Farm, Finnriver Farm and Mt. Townsend Creamery. After leaving the farm, Kate started a consulting firm with an eye to projects that leveraged public, private and non-profit resources to find innovative solutions to complex rural issues. She coordinated the Jefferson Landworks Collaborative (a farmland preservation and enterprise development initiative), managed WSU Extention’s Small Farm Program, worked for WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, and was the Regional Director for the North Olympic Development Council, a council of governments tasked with community and economic development. Kate holds her Master’s in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. Link to Kate Dean's Bio.

Charlotte Dohrn: Charlotte Dohrn is a climate resilience planner with the Department of Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, where she works on climate change planning guidance and policy development. Her background includes climate adaptation research, conservation and restoration planning, and strategy development. Charlotte holds a Master’s degree from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and a certificate from the UW’s Program on Climate Change.

Robert KnappRobert Knapp, Environmental Planning Manager, Natural Resources Department, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, received an BS and MS in Environmental Science from Western Washington University. Robert has experience in ecosystem restoration, land acquisition, grant management, and recently leading the Tribe's climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation work. Robert has been on the Clallam MRC since 2018. When not at work, Robert can be found helping his wife on her dahlia farm and enjoys driving and learning about electric vehicles.

Jeff Rice: Jeff Rice is managing editor at the Puget Sound Institute, where he oversees digital content including the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. He holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his work has appeared in a wide variety of news outlets ranging from Newsweek and National Public Radio to The New York Times. Additionally, he holds a Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, and has produced multimedia extensively for museums, television, film, theater and the Web. Link to Jeff Rice's bio.

Kelp Panel
Max Showalter: Max Showalter is a Policy Advisor at the Washington Department of Natural Resources focused on marine and watershed resilience and restoration. In his role, Max helps drive implementation of DNR’s flagship salmon recovery strategy, the Watershed Resilience Action Plan, and is a co-lead on development of the Statewide Kelp Forest and Eelgrass Meadow Health and Conservation Plan. Prior to joining DNR, Max earned his PhD at the University of Washington in Oceanography and Astrobiology studying marine microbial carbon cycling in polar and extreme environments with additional focus on Indigenous environmental policy. Afterwards, he worked as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at NOAA Ocean Exploration helping to coordinate interagency ocean science and technology policy.

Todd Woodard: Todd Woodard, Infrastructure and Resources Executive Director for the Samish Indian Nation, holds an AA in Environmental Conservation Technology and a BA degree in Anthropology with a minor in Biology. Todd has over 20 years’ experience in field sample collection and environmental monitoring and data analysis, management, and grant administration mostly with Tribes in Western Washington. In addition, Todd has been involved in numerous stream and beach restoration projects involving riparian planting and large woody debris placement as well as grants management and reporting activities. In his current role for the Samish Indian Nation, Todd and his staff are tasked with “Preserving, Protecting and Enhancing Culturally Significant Natural Resources and Habitats within Samish Traditional Territory for Current and Future Generations”. In his spare time, Todd is an avid sea kayaker exploring the waters of the Salish Sea and beyond.

Jodie Toft: As Deputy Director of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, Jodie advances science, expands partnerships, and builds support for PSRF's unique brand of in-water restoration. Prior to PSRF, Jodie worked at The Nature Conservancy and The Natural Capital Project. She received her PhD in Aquatic & Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington. Her 2 kids keep her and her husband on their toes, exploring the wonders of the world, both great and small.

Future Visioning Facilitation:
Travis Tennessen: Dr. Travis Tennessen directs Western Washington University's Center for Community Learning and is the originator and lead convener of Community Engagement Fellows, which empowers educators and community leaders to nurture engaged citizens, serve the public, and improve the Salish Sea bioregion and the planet. His childhood adventures in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin (Sauk and Meskwaki territory) and Alaska's Kodiak Archipelago (Alutiiq/Sugpiak territory) inspired his curiosity about people and place, and his eagerness to help our species live more peacefully, collaboratively, and gently. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an honorary member of the Wenger-Trayner Social Learning Lab. Travis's family has lived in Bellingham's Happy Valley neighborhood since 2015.