Alex Conley
Executive Director

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Alex has been the Executive Director of the Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board since 2006. He grew up poking around the woods and coast of New England and has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Williams College in Massachusetts.  He spent four years in Senegal, West Africa as a Peace Corp volunteer and trainer working on agroforestry projects in small villages in the Sahel, before meeting a fellow volunteer (now his wife) who somehow convinced him to move west and away from salt water. During his five years in Tucson, he worked with and conducted research on collaborative groups addressing rangeland and forest management issues, and received a Master’s of Science in Renewable Natural Resource Studies from the University of Arizona.  He then spent five years running the North Fork John Day Watershed Council in eastern Oregon, where he worked with ranchers and other landowners to design, fund and implement fish habitat and watershed improvement projects. 

Alex enjoys learning about complex landscapes and the human livelihoods they support, and strives to bring together technical experts, stakeholders and policy makers to forge sound approaches to managing and restoring the river systems of the Yakima Basin. In his time off, Alex can be found tending to a project house and a few bee hives, reading too many books, or wandering the Cascades and the Blues with his family.

  Tricia Snyder
Lead Entity Program Coordinator

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Tricia Snyder joined the Board as Lead Entity Coordinator in March, 2017. She has a B.S. in Geography from New Mexico State University, with a focus on human-environment interaction and is completing an M.S. in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management from Central Washington University. A self-proclaimed desert rat, Tricia grew up along the (often dry) banks of the Rio Grande and the water resource challenges of the Southwest sparked a life-long interest in finding solutions for demand conflicts in the arid and semi-arid American West. She spent five years working for a regional conservation non-profit focused on protecting and restoring the wildlife and wild places of the Southwest borderlands. She moved to Ellensburg, WA in 2015 to pursue graduate school and fell in love with the rugged beauty of Central Washington. She lives in Ellensburg with her dog Mardy (pictured), named for Tricia’s favorite woman in conservation, Margaret “Mardy” Murie.

  Jason McCormick
Recovery Program Technical Staff

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Jason D. McCormick joined the Board as part-time technical staff in October 2015. Jason also runs his own water resources professional services business outside of time spent supporting the Board. Jason is recognized regionally as a water rights and water transaction expert, and has been involved in fisheries restoration work for a decade. His experience includes six years at Washington Water Trust (WWT) in Central Washington, specializing in water transactions, trust water, mitigation banking, representing conservation buyers, geospatial water rights evaluation, permitting, and water rights instruction. Prior to WWT, Jason worked as a permit writer for the newly formed Washington State Department of Ecology, Office of Columbia River (OCR) where he worked in water rights permitting, project planning, geospatial water resource mapping, program outreach, and coordinated initial grant solicitations. From his experience in the private sector, WWT and OCR, he excels at water rights permitting, water transactions, water rights evaluations, water resources problem solving, water rights instruction, and fisheries restoration. In addition, he draws a strong appreciation for the communities and unique local values of Eastern Washington from his local roots.

  Ashton Bunce
Recovery Program Technical Staff

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Ashton Bunce joined the Recovery Board as technical staff in March of 2017.  She grew up in rural Connecticut where she developed her passion for outdoor recreation including hiking, fly fishing and hunting.  While working on her undergraduate degree in biology from Juniata College in Pennsylvania, she completed multiple research internships in marine ecology and a brief stint in the Mojave Desert tracking tortoises.  In 2011, Ashton moved to Washington to pursue a career in freshwater fisheries conducting outreach and population monitoring for bull trout in the Yakima Basin.  She enjoyed this experience and the vast landscape of the Western United States so much that she spent the next several years working for state, tribal, private and non-profit entities on a variety of fish and aquatic habitat projects for salmon and steelhead.  She recently completed her master’s degree in biology at Central Washington University, where she developed and implemented a study examining the microhabitat use of young-of-the-year bull trout in Gold Creek near Snoqualmie Pass, WA.  Her favorite type of fisheries work is night snorkeling in freshwater systems, which she feels is an underrated sport.


Bull Trout
Photo Credit: Y. Reiss