Office Location 7831 East Bush Lake Road, Suite 302 | Bloomington, MN 55439 Phone: 651-224-2880
Kirsten Wallace was appointed executive director of UMRBA in 2017, following over 10 years focusing on the Association's ecosystem, navigation, and flood initiatives. Kirsten works with UMRBA's member states to develop regional positions, advocate the states' collective interests before Congress and the federal agencies, and facilitate and foster interagency coordination, cooperation, and communication.
Kirsten serves on the Board of the Interstate Council on Water Policy, America's Watershed Initiative, and the National Waterways Foundation.
Kirsten's favorite spot on the river is from the view of the pilot house, especially passing by tributary confluences.
Mapping and Spills Program Director
Mark Ellis took on the role of Mapping and Spills Program Director in 2017 after 10 years as the Inland Sensitivity Atlas Project Coordinator. Mark directs the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination Group and works with state, federal, tribal, local, and private sector partners to increase prevention of and preparedness for spills of hazardous materials in the region. He also leads mapping work to support USEPA Region 5’s Inland Sensitivity Atlas.
Mark enjoys sightseeing and hiking the trails along the Mississippi River bluffs at Effigy Mounds National Monument, near Harper’s Ferry, Iowa.
Policy and Programs Director
Lauren Salvato has been with the Association since 2018 and focuses on clean water and ecosystem restoration initiatives. She convenes the Water Quality Executive Committee and Task Force, Interstate WQ Monitoring Program efforts, including coordinating the Reaches 8-9 pilot, and WLM initiatives. Lauren serves on the Board of the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District.
Her favorite place in the Upper Mississippi River Basin is along the St. Croix River.
Policy and Programs Director
Andrew Stephenson joined UMRBA as Policy and Programs Director in fall 2018. He focuses on UMRBA’s ecosystem-related work as well as flood risk and sediment management planning, aquatic nuisance species, external communications, and advocacy on behalf of the five states’ shared interests. Andrew has predominantly been working to facilitate state-federal collaboration on the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) program.
Andrew enjoys exploring the trails through the hardwood forests, steep bluffs, and flat bottomlands of the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park.
Natalie Lenzen joined UMRBA as Operations Manager in spring 2022, maximizing and strengthening the internal capacity of the Association as a well-respected, high-impact organization. Natalie works on all things administrative, assists in external communications, and arranges our meetings and workshops. She supports the UMRBA Board and staff in advancing the states’ priorities and regional programs and projects.
Natalie enjoys cooking and traveling with her family. She also spends a lot of free time fishing and riding trails with her husband. Natalie has two daughters and a son as well as a Dogo Argentino named Duke.
Mapping and Planning Specialist
Tyler Leske joined UMRBA in 2016 as a GIS and Planning Assistant. Tyler works on the Inland Sensitivity Atlas for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois and assists with the creation of site-specific spill response plans on the Mississippi River.
Tyler is an avid fisherman, chasing walleye in Pool 2 and Pool 4 all year long.
Erin Spry joined UMRBA as a Project Specialist in 2022. In this role, Erin will assist in implementing UMRBA project-specific priorities such as research, communications, and developing opportunities and means for interagency collaboration and coordination. Erin's area of work will primarily focus on water quality and quantity as well as ecosystem health.
Erin’s previous experience includes serving as a hydrologist for Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and as a wildlife technician for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Erin holds a Bachelors in Geology from University of Minnesota.
Erin enjoys gardening, playing music, and sewing. She spends a lot of her time hiking, camping, and kayaking with her partner. Erin has three cats and four chickens and hopes to one day turn her city chickens (and city life) into farm chickens.
GIS and Planning Specialist
Ken Petersen joined UMRBA in the spring of 2023 as a Mapping and Planning Specialist. In this role, Ken assists in building and updating the Inland Sensitivity Atlas for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
Ken is a lifelong learner and an avid observer of the natural world. He especially enjoys photographing wildlife and landscapes. A favorite spot on the Mississippi River is Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.
GIS and Planning Assistant
Sam is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a Bachelors of science in Geography and a minor in Climatology. He joined UMRBA as a Mapping and Planning Specialist in May of 2023. Sam works on the Inland Sensitivity Atlas for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. He hopes to learn new mapping techniques and deepen his understanding of extreme weather phenomena.
Sam loves fishing, cooking, and going to Cars and Coffee events.