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National Association of Wetland Managers - Staff

Marla Stelk, Executive Director, NAWMMarla Stelk, Executive Director (

Marla is the Executive Director at the National Association of Wetland Managers (NAWM) where she has worked on wetland policy and management issues since 2013. Marla has over 25 years of experience working on wetland, water, and wildlife issues, climate change, environmental policy and research, land use planning, communications and organizational leadership. Marla has led research at NAWM on topics such as ecosystem service valuation for wetland restoration, the role of wetlands in floodplain and natural hazard management, wetlands and watershed health, wetland mapping and communications. Prior to coming to NAWM, Marla worked for a variety of environmental and social nonprofit organizations helping to build organizational capacity, manage projects and improve internal processes. Marla earned her MA in Community Planning and Development with a focus on Land Use and the Environment at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service and her BA in Environmental Issues from Colorado College.

Donna DowningDonna Downing, Senior Legal Policy Advisor ( 

Donna Downing is the Senior Legal Policy Advisor at the National Association of Wetland Managers. Donna was the Jurisdiction Team Leader in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds from 2007-2020. Donna worked on a variety of issues at EPA, with a focus in recent years on the geographic scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. She also served as EPA’s staff lead for CWA section 401 water quality certification, and on wetland-related legal issues. Prior to joining EPA in 1998, Donna worked for the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment and in private law practice. She has a BA magna cum laude from Harvard University, an MPP from the University of California at Berkeley, a JD cum laude from Georgetown University Law School, and an LLM in Environmental Law summa cum laude from George Washington University Law School. Donna has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School since 1996, teaching environmental law. In what’s left of her time, she moonlights as a professional potter and an unprofessional horse trainer. Donna also enjoys traveling and has traveled by reindeer sled in the Swedish Arctic, gone winter camping with dog sleds in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, and bicycled the Burma Road in China.

Jeff Lapp, Senior Science Policy AdvisorJeff Lapp, Senior Science Policy Advisor ( 

Jeff is our Senior Science Policy Advisor here at NAWM. Prior to joining us he spent over 32 years with the Environmental Protection Agency, primarily in the wetlands program. Starting out in the wetlands enforcement program in Region 3, he conducted many wetland inspections and has testified as both an expert and fact witness in civil and criminal federal cases. For the past 12 years, Jeff has been the Chief of the Wetlands Branch at EPA Region 3 overseeing both the regulatory and non-regulatory wetlands programs, the oceans disposal program and the Watershed Resource Registry (a Geospatial tool to identify potential restoration and preservation sites.) He has also had a host of acting positions including the Deputy Director for the Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division, the Deputy Director for the Office of Public Affairs, the Wetlands Regulatory Branch Chief at EPA Head Quarters and the Wetlands Technical Enforcement Lead at EPA Head Quarters. His technical skills include conducting wetlands identification training for both novice and experienced delineators from state and federal programs. In addition to teaching wetlands delineation, he has taught cases in hydric soils and plant identification and been a guest lecturer at Penn and Temple University on wetlands and horticultural issues. An avid botanist and horticulturalist, Jeff designed and constructed the EPA exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show for 29 years earning several awards including best of show, gold and silver medals, the Buckley medal, American Horticultural Society award, and the Chicago Horticultural Society awards to name a few. At his home, he raises a multitude of plants including Sarracenia, Rhododendrons, Hosta and a host of other rare and unusual species in his greenhouse and shade houses. When not working for NAWM or messing with his plants he like to ride bike, hike, cook and sip a spot of wine!

Portia OsbornePortia Osborne, Project Manager ( 

Portia is a Project Manager at the National Association of Wetland Managers, where she provides program support including managing and implementing individual projects, coordinating overall project schedules, tracking project deadlines and outputs, delivering workshops and trainings, facilitating and coordinating various work groups, and moderating webinars. Portia has a decade of experience working in environmental consulting, during which time she conducted natural resource assessments and wetland delineations and prepared state and federal-level permit applications for transportation, oil and gas, and renewable energy projects located across the country. Portia earned her MS in Ecology and BS in Environmental Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).




Ian GrosfeltIan Grosfelt, Environmental Analyst (

Ian is an Environmental Analyst with NAWM wearing a variety of hats and working on a variety of projects. He has a BS in Agriculture from Cornell University and a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment. Ian has a decade of experience working in environmental fields starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal and continuing with environmental education organizations throughout New England as a facilitator, school gardener, and trainer. He is also trained in data analysis and geospatial mapping and has a passion for using these tools to further effective conservation. For side projects you can find Ian trying (and hopefully keeping) his hand at woodworking, biking new routes in Maine and building up a kitchen repertoire.



  Dawn Smith, NAWM

Dawn Smith, Communications Specialist (

Dawn works on multimedia projects, focusing on webinars and short videos. After working in the corporate world for several years, she is redirecting creative energies towards social media, documentaries and short film communication formats.  A lifetime resident of Maine, she has an appreciation for the preservation of local heritage and natural treasures, primarily from behind the lens. Working with the National Association of Wetland Managers, she has gained a greater appreciation for the local and national efforts to preserve and rebuild the wetland ecosystems that are all around us. 

Marti NorthoverMarti Northover, Accounting and Human Resources Manager (

Marti Northover is the NAWM Accounting and Human Resources Manager. Marti has over 30 years of professional experience in accounting, logistics and advertising. Marti has an undergraduate degree in Geography from Framingham State University in Framingham, MA and Master's degree in Environmental Science from Clark University in Worcester, MA. Professionally Marti has taught environment related courses at colleges in MA, was owner of an historic inn, worked as the Director of Accounting and HR at a logistic company in MA and a homeless shelter in ME. Six years ago Marti moved to Alfred, ME, where she lives with her husband Vernon, enjoying the lake life and her chickens, ducks and nice garden. Currently Marti is the Treasurer of the Parson’s Memorial Library Board of Trustees and is an Associate Member of Alfred Conservation Commission.

Laura Burchill, NAWM

Laura Burchill, Office Manager (

Laura is the Office Manager in the Windham office and has been with the Association since 2004. She is responsible for maintaining the membership information; assisting with the many tasks involved in preparing for webinars and workshops, preparing Association publications as well as general office duties. She has 30+ years’ experience in graphic design and also works part-time for Parent & Family, a local publication.  She lives in Windham, Maine with her husband Dave and their canine companion Jay. 

Sharon Weaver, Webmaster (

Sharon is the Publications Specialist and Webmaster for the Association in the Berne, New York office, where she has worked for the past 20+ years. Along with general office tasks, she works on the layout and design of Association publications, reports, and brochures. She helps coordinate NAWM workshops and symposia. She manages the NAWM website, which includes daily updates and prepares and designs new webpages. When she is not entertaining company, she enjoys some alone time with her husband, Ken, and grown children Karla and Pieter.  She adores her dog and cat, who complete the family nest.

Justin Farino, NAWMJustin Farino (

Justin is an Administrative Assistant for NAWM and works closely with the Office Manager and others to support NAWM’s staff with a variety of tasks and projects. Graduating from Georgia Southern University with a degree in Political Science, he promptly put it to good use by working in construction management, ultimately moving to South Korea to teach English to kindergarteners. Now back in the States, Justin is pursuing a J.D. at Maine Law, seeking to focus in Environmental and Human Rights Laws. Justin enjoys self-identifying as a photographer, red wine connoisseur, and outdoor enthusiast, but does not claim to be particularly proficient at any of them.