Plenary Speakers

Plenary Speakers

The Pathways team is thrilled to announce the following line up of speakers for the Pathways for Salmon conference.


Representative Debra Lekanoff represents the 40th legislative district of Washington state, which includes parts of Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties. She is a proud mom who fights every day to ensure younger generations, including her daughter Emma, can continue to flourish. She is inclusive in her decision making process by listening to stakeholders, citizens and governmental bodies. She is known for her experience and capacity to work with vast parties, and on vast issues, and get the job done. Sworn in to the Washington State House of Representatives in January 2019, Representative Lekanoff is the only Native American woman to currently serve in the Legislature. 

Representative Lekanoff has called the Skagit Valley home for almost 20 years. In addition to serving in the Legislature, Representative Lekanoff served as Governmental Affairs Director for the Swinomish Tribe. With over 20 years of government relations experience,  she engages on a variety of issues at the international, federal, tribal, state, and local levels.  

Representative Lekanoff’s background and experience provide valuable knowledge and perspectives that allow her to lead on a wide range of policy issues, including but not limited to, environment, natural resources, climate change, education, housing, and agriculture. To learn more about Rep. Lekanoff’s work in each of these areas, please visit her issues page. Representative Lekanoff is Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environment. She also sits on the Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee and the Capital Budget Committee. She is also co-chair of the Joint Legislative Taskforce on Water Supply.  

Debra Lekanoff


40th Legislative District


Leonard Forsman is Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, a position he has held since 2005.  In 2017, Forsman was elected President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, which represents 57 Northwest tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, southeast Alaska, Northern California, and Western Montana. In 2013, President Obama appointed Chairman Forsman to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP); he recently completed his tenure on the ACHP. More recently, he served on Governor Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force.  Chairman Forsman was formerly director of the Suquamish Museum and a Research Archaeologist at Larson Anthropological and Archaeological Services. Forsman holds a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.A. from Goucher College.  The Suquamish people continue to live in the Puget Sound area as they have for thousands of years. Among their historic leaders are Chief Seattle and Chief Kitsap. The name Suquamish comes from the Lushootseed term for the “People of the Clear Saltwater.”

Leonard Forsman


Suquamish Tribe


Dr. Gretchen Greene has over 25 years of diverse economics experience in natural resource, energy, agricultural, and community economics. She has worked with numerous federal, state, tribal, and municipal agencies, as well as private industrial clients and law firms helping each evaluate investment in the natural environment. Gretchen’s areas of focus include ecosystem service valuation, cultural economics, recreational and commercial fisheries, water management, climate change, decision analysis with uncertainty, and environmental justice. She earned a Ph.D. and master’s degree in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.

Gretchen Greene

Principal Economist

Greene Economics


Øystein Aas is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and senior scientific advisor at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. He has worked with salmon governance analyses and researched the human dimensions of Atlantic salmon fisheries in Norway and throughout the North Atlantic region through work for the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) for approximately 25 years. He also edited and published the book Atlantic Salmon Ecology for Wiley in 2011. When not at work, he is an eager angler, with significant experiences also from steelhead and salmon fishing in British Columbia, Canada.  

Øystein Aas

Professor, Senior Scientific Advisor

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research


Mark Titus is an award-winning writer + director and founder of August Island Pictures in Seattle.

Since 2004, Mark Titus has written and directed brand films for clients like: Amazon, Microsoft, The Nature Conservancy, T-Mobile and the United Nations Development Programme.

As a filmmaker, Mark Titus has directed and produced short films since 2003. In 2014 Mark Titus helmed The Breach – an award-winning feature documentary about wild salmon. The Breach screened at over 25 international film festivals and in 2015 completed a 20-city national theatrical tour across The United States. The Breach is now available worldwide on VOD and disc.

Mark Titus is currently releasing The Wild – a new feature documentary examining the fate of Bristol Bay, Alaska and its storied wild salmon runs.

mark Titus

Filmmaker, Director and Founder

August Island Pictures


Sen. Christine Rolfes represents the 23rd Legislative District, which includes the Kitsap County communities of Hansville, Kingston, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Keyport, Silverdale, and East Bremerton. Since her election to the state House of Representatives in 2006, Christine has become a leading voice on education funding and reform, small businesses, ferries, military-families and veterans, and the environment. Her efforts have yielded tangible results for the 23rd district and Washington State as a whole.

She chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, responsible for leading the development of the state’s $52 billion biennial budget. Under her leadership the legislature has, for the past two legislative sessions, delivered a four-year balanced budget on-time, with billions set aside in strategic reserves and historic investments in environmental restoration and public education. In August of 2019, the state’s bond ratings were upgraded by Moody’s Investor Services to Aaa for the first time, due primarily to sound fiscal practices and a diversified and strong economy.

Read Rolfes’ full biography here.

Senator Christine Rolfes

23rd Legislative District



Jarred Michael-Erickson

Natural Resource Committee, Fisheries Committee
Nespelem District Representative


Chase was raised in the foothills of the Cascades and on the beaches of Hood Canal, instilled with a passion for fish and wildlife and a sense of responsibility to conserve them. Prior to joining Conservation Northwest in 2014, Chase coordinated outreach for statewide political campaigns, worked on corporate accounts for Starbucks Coffee Company, and spent three years as a lobbyist and public affairs consultant in Seattle and Olympia, supporting Northwest tribes, agencies and foundations. Chase studied Political Science and Communications at Washington State University, where he wrote for the university newspaper and served as a director in student government. He lives in Ballard where he can fish and crab on Puget Sound from his kayak before work. In his volunteer time, Chase has been an active voice on other local conservation issues, including stints on the Board of Directors for the Wild Steelhead Coalition and the Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

Chase Gunnell

Communications Director

Conservation Northwest


Kelly Biedenweg is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions at Oregon State University’s Fisheries and Wildlife Department. Her research interests are in human wellbeing, social values, and decision making in natural resource management.  She has spent the last ten years focused primarily in the Puget Sound and the ten years before in Latin America, often collaborating with The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service´s Pacific Northwest Research Station, the Puget Sound Partnership, and King County, among others. She received a EPA Early Career Award for her research on Integrating Human Wellbeing and Ecosystem Services in the Puget Sound and is a former NSF SEES, NSF IGERT, American Association of University Women, and University of Florida Alumni fellow. She has a PhD from the University of Florida in the human dimensions of natural resource management, with certificates in Environmental Education and Communication and Latin American Studies, and a concentration in Tropical Conservation and Development. She also holds a master of science in conservation biology and a bachelor of science in marine ecology.

Kelly Biedenweg

Assistant Professor

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Oregon State University