The following Officers and Members of the Board of Directors contribute their time strictly as volunteers and do not receive any financial remuneration from the Alliance as part of these services.  The Alliance thanks them for their service, their passion and their leadership!


Ryan Palmer, President
Center for the Urban River at Beczak

Ryan Palmer holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island.  Ryan Palmer joined Sarah Lawrence College as Director of the Center for the Urban River in August 2013.  A Hudson Valley native, Ryan previously was Director of Clearwater’s Green Cities Initiative, focusing on urban watershed and environmental justice issues, green infrastructure projects, community organizing, and urban planning.  Ryan has training in land use law, stream monitoring, biodiversity assessment, watershed management and planning, and 10 years of experience in the environmental nonprofit field.  He joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors in early 2014, after having served as our first paid Coordinator when we were housed as a program of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  


Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D., Vice President
Siena College

Dr. Katherine Meierdiercks is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Siena College, Loudonville NY, where she teaches courses in watershed management; environmental field techniques; environmental research methods; Geographic Information Systems (GIS); and analysis techniques for soil, air, and water. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Princeton University. For the past several years, she and her students have been collecting field data and doing GIS mapping in the Kromma Kill watershed, a tributary to the Hudson River.


Phil DeGaetano, Treasurer
Albany Water Quality Coordinating Committee

Phil DeGaetano holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from RPI.  Since 2003, he has worked with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, providing assistance to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in review and revision of New York State's Water Quality Standards and advice related to New York State's involvement in the NY/NJ Harbor and Estuaries Program.  From 2011-2013, he worked with the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC), providing programmatic, technical and financial management assistance.  From June 2012 to September 2013, he served as Executive Secretary of the IEC. In 2003 he retired from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as Assistant Director of the Division of Water. During his 35 year career in the Division of Water he worked in varying other capacities related to water quality management including the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program, Long Island Sound Study, supervision of the state's water quality standards program, non point source program and Division of Water's public information/education efforts.  He supervised the development of initial MS4 and Construction Stormwater Permits.  He joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors in early 2014.  


Mary McNamara
Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership

Mary McNamara is an activist working on watershed and water quality issues in the Lower Esopus Creek Watershed. She lives in Saugerties, NY. After participating in Hudson River Watershed Alliance events and tapping into its resources as an active local watershed stakeholder for a number of years, she finally joined the Board of Directors in 2013.


Michael H. Finewood, Ph.D.
Department of Environmental Studies and Science, Pace University

Michael Finewood is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Science at Pace University, where he teaches and conducts research in environmental governance, political ecology, water, and sustainability, with explicit attention to environmental justice. Dr. Finewood received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of South Carolina. Over his career Dr. Finewood’s research has focused on how communities perceive and make decisions about water infrastructure, with the goal of improving community engagement and creating equitable outcomes. His current work centers on green infrastructure, stormwater, and the challenges of watershed-based governance. He is also the board secretary of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences.


Greg Mercurio
Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance

Greg Mercurio is a licensed landscape architect with experience in project design and management.  He is an active member of the Sparkill Watershed Alliance for the Sparkill Creek in Rockland County, NY.  He is currently the co-owner and manager of a plant nursery that’s affiliated with the landscape architecture firm he has worked for previously.  He lives in Fort Montgomery, NY.  He joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors in early 2014.  


Amanda Post

Amanda received a BS in Biology from Wagner College. She is an active member of the New York State Wetlands Forum, Inc. and the New York Flora Association. Amanda also actively volunteers her time participating in multiple environmental field surveys throughout Hudson River Watershed. 


Dan Shapley

As director of Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program, Dan Shapley coordinates the largest community science water quality project of its kind, sampling hundreds of locations throughout the Hudson River Watershed, primarily to show when and where water is safe for swimming. The data gathered is the basis for advocacy to stop water pollution, by catalyzing needed investments in water infrastructure and watershed management, including drinking source water protection. Prior to his work in the Water Quality Program, he focused on engaging Riverkeeper’s members in activism and volunteerism, including creation of the Riverkeeper Sweep, an annual day of service for the Hudson River.  A lifelong Hudson Valley resident and graduate of Hartwick College, he started his career as a reporter, columnist and editor for the Poughkeepsie Journal, where he won numerous awards for writing about the Hudson Valley environment. From 2007 to 2011, he edited, an award-winning website devoted to green living. He lives in Rhinebeck with his wife, son and dog.


Matthew Shook
Palisades Interstate Park Commission

Matthew Shook is the Director of Development and Special Projects for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. He has worked in and around New York State parks since 2004, when he began his career as a Student Conservation Association intern at Trailside Museums and Zoo at Bear Mountain. He later went on to serve as Assistant Director of the Highlands Environmental Research Institute, a joint PIPC-Rutgers University partnership before joining the PIPC as Program Manager in 2012. Mr. Shook has written and managed grant-funded project ranging from historic restoration efforts and trail construction, to scientific research and habitat management, archival management, staffing, environmental education, and public programming within NY State Parks. In addition to being a Board Member of the Alliance, he is also the Chair of the Board of Strawtown Studio.


Emily Svenson
Law Office of David K. Gordon

Emily Svenson’s career has centered on water quality protection and sustainable land use in the Hudson Valley.  Born and raised in Ulster County, Emily grew up with a strong conservation ethic and pursued a degree in environmental science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  After graduating, she worked for the New York State Soil & Water Conservation Committee managing grants to control nonpoint source pollution from farms.  She went on to become the coordinator of the Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts, where she focused on stormwater education.  Emily also got involved in local government by volunteering for the Town of Hyde Park Conservation Advisory Council and took an active role in the Fall Kill Watershed Committee.  She then ran for Town Board and is currently serving her fourth term as a councilmember. In that role, she works collaboratively to address issues ranging from neighborhood flooding to remediating an abandoned gas station.  Her focus is on hamlet revitalization through planning and infrastructure improvement, a program dubbed the Hyde Park Downtown Initiative.  She is also active as the Town’s representative to the new Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council.  Desiring to make a greater contribution to the Hudson Valley, Emily enrolled in Pace Law School in 2014.  In May 2018 she graduated with a J.D. with concentrations in land use law and environmental law, and she hopes to be licensed as an attorney in 2019.  She works as a law clerk at the Law Office of David K. Gordon in Poughkeepsie, which focuses on environmental and land use law.


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