Kate Hart is an attorney with Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. Ms. Hart’s primary area of practice is land use law. She represents the firm’s clients in processing all types of land use entitlements, and has extensive experience with the Subdivision Map Act, Mitigation Fee Act, and the California Environmental Quality Act. She has worked for both local agencies and private developers processing subdivision maps, conditional use permits, rezoning and general plan amendments, and variances, as well as negotiated development agreements and various types of easements for residential, commercial and industrial properties. Ms. Hart is a member of the State Bar of California and the Real Property and Environmental Law Sections of the Sacramento County Bar Association. She also previously served as Chair of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She earned a B.S. degree at Santa Clara University and a J.D. at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
ROB DONLAN, Vice President
Rob Donlan is a partner with the Law Firm of Ellison, Schneider & Harris L.L.P. His practice focuses on groundwater and surface water rights, as well as counseling on matters involving state and federal Endangered Species Acts, the California Environmental Quality Act, and other state and federal statutory and regulatory requirements affecting water users and water managers. Rob represents public agencies and private parties before the California courts, the State Water Resources Control Board, and other administrative agencies, and advocates on behalf of water users on policy issues involving water rights and water management.
SHAYLEEN MASTAGNI, Treasurer
Shayleen Mastagni is a Certified Public Accountant and currently serves as a consultant for the law firm of Mastagni, Holstedt, Amick, Miller and Johnsen. Previously Shayleen was a Senior Vice President in the Forensic and Valuation Group at Perry-Smith, LLP doing litigation consulting, business valuation and public accounting. She brings over nine years of experience in the forensic accounting field after graduating from the University of the Pacific with a Masters in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Finance and an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in accounting. In addition Shayleen is Certified in Financial Forensics and Accredited in Business Valuation. Shayleen has expertise in economic damages for personal loss, commercial business, damages in wage and hour litigation and consulting on City and County financial information analysis. She will be able to assists clients with detailed City and County financial analysis for labor negations and wage and hour damage calculations. She has active roots in her family's farm in Colusa County.
ROBERT J SLOBE, Secretary
Bob Slobe is the President of the North Sacramento Land Company. He is active in the community and has served as president of the North Sacramento Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the B Street Theatre board and remains active with many other nonprofits in the community as well. Bob graduated from Stanford University, and has a Master’s degree from The American Graduate School of International Management. Bob’s love of the outdoors is reflected in his hobbies of tennis, running, skiing, hunting and travel and spending time restoring habitat on the family ranch in Colusa County.
Cydney G. Bender-Reents, MAI is principle in charge of the firm of Bender Rosenthal, Inc., (BRI) a Sacramento based real estate appraisal, right of way (ROW) acquisition, and relocation firm specializing in appraisal services, right of way management, and right of way planning for small and large government and private infrastructure projects. Ms. Bender Reents' professional experience in real estate appraisal began in 1991 and encompasses a broad range of land uses and property types. As a member of the Appraisal Institute, she earned the (MAI) designation, and is a Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, in the State of California. Prior to her career in real estate, Ms. Bender attended California Polytechnical State University in San Luis Obispo, majoring in Agricultural Business Management. Upon graduation, she entered the commercial construction field as a Project Manager for a Sacramento based general contractor. Her unique real estate background enables Ms. Bender Reents to grasp complicated construction issues as they relate to right of way projects and valuation matters.
Curtis Fossum retired in 2012 as the Executive Officer of the California State Lands Commission. In that position he served on a number of boards including the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, California Coastal Commission, Delta Protection Commission and San Joaquin River Conservancy. The State Lands Commission manages over 4.5 million acres of land including the state owned rivers, lakes and the lands within 3 miles of the coast in the Pacific Ocean. Curtis worked on issues involving projects in virtually all California 's 58 counties focusing on land issues including: title, boundary, land use, leasing, exchanges and public access. Mr. Fossum is an attorney and served in a number of legal positions during his 35 years at the Commission including as it's Chief Counsel. He currently serves as a board member on the American River Parkway Volunteer Equestrian Trail Patrol.
Cassie Gilson is a registered lobbyist and lawyer with considerable political and legal experience, having served as an attorney and political advisor to a variety of clients on issues throughout California. Before founding Gilson Government Strategies, Cassie was a lobbyist at Sacramento’s largest lobbying and public affairs firm, where she represented energy, alternative transportation, land development, consumer products, insurance, healthcare and other business interests. Cassie’s government experience includes serving as Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Gray Davis and on the legal staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in The White House. Before she began lobbying full time, Cassie was an attorney at the law firms of Landels Ripley & Diamond and Farella Braun & Martel where she advised clients on air, water, hazardous waste and materials, and land use laws and regulations. Prior to that, Cassie was policy and program director for the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance. Cassie holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and a law degree from Stanford Law School. She is an active member of the State Bar of California.
Robert Jones is Vice President Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento. A native Californian, Robert served as a professor of political science at CSU Chico and has held senior administrative positions on four CSU campuses and with the President’s Office of the University of California. He worked as a staff consultant with the California State Legislature’s Assembly Committee on Education and was Treasurer of the International Association of University Presidents. Prior to his career as an educator Robert accepted a position with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on the Alaska Peninsula to enforce commercial salmon fishing regulations. With his wife Julianne and their two children he organized and led Sierra Club family outings for fifteen years to wilderness areas and rivers in California, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and Alaska. He is an aviator, waterfowl hunter, kayaker, and down hill skier. Robert is committed to assisting the Sacramento Valley Conservancy in the area of gifted resource development for the acquisition of open space, the protection working landscapes and habitat preservation.
Rick Rayburn retired in 2010 as Chief of Natural Resource Management for California State Parks, in which position he served for 26 years. He served on the Executive Committee of the California Biodiversity Council. He is co-author of California's 2009 Strategies for Adaptation and Climate Change for Biological Diversity. Rick is on the Board of Directors of the Santa Lucia Conservancy in Carmel. He also participates on two management oversight teams steering regional and statewide connectivity/linkage projects for government and non-profit sectors. He is past chair of the Managers Working Group for the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project--a multi-agency public/nonprofit organization committed to weltand acquisition and restoration. From 1973-1985, he worked in land use planning and regulation with the California Coastal Commission, including directing the North Coast Regional Commission in Eureka. He is a fourth generation Angelean.
Lynn Sadler is currently the Director of Government Affairs for the California Public Utility Commission. Previously, she was Executive Director of Science and Collaboration for Connected Wildlands, formerly known as South Coast Wildlands, and the Mountain Lion Foundation, a national wildlife protection organization. Other professional experience includes Natural Resources Director for the Planning and Conservation League, Assistant Director for Information and Policy Coordination at the California State Department of Personnel Administration, and Legislative Consultant for the California State Senate Joint Committee of Science and Technology. A twenty-five year veteran of advocacy campaigns across the nation, Lynn ran her own public affairs consulting firm, working for diverse efforts ranging from the President of the United States to city council candidates, and the Olympics to local charities. Lynn co-founded and performs with the Sacramento Choral Society and serves on several local, regional and statewide Boards of Directors. Lynn graduated University of Missouri and Pennsylvania State University with degrees in political science and journalism.
BEVERLY “BABS” SANDEEN
Dr. Sandeen is currently Vice Chancellor of Resource and Economic Development at the Los Rios Community College District and was previously Vice Chancellor of University Relations at UC Davis. Dr. Sandeen also previously served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association from 2002 to 2005 and as the UC Irvine Executive Director of the Alumni Association from 1998 to 2002. She received her bachelor's degree in political science and a doctorate in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine. Her volunteer activities have included service on the City of West Sacramento Planning Commission, the Woodland Opera House Board of Trustees, the National Board of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS), and the Girl Scout Council of Orange County board. She is professionally affiliated with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She has also served at UC Davis as co-chair of the Professional Development Committee for the Fundraising Council.
Chris Unkel currently works for American Rivers as Director of Conservation, Central Valley River Restoration on floodplain expansion and other issues. He was formerly Director of Public Policy for the Western Region of Ducks Unlimited and a Senior Field Representative for The Nature Conservancy, Cosumnes River/Delta Project. And, prior to that he directed the California Wildlands Program for the California Department of Fish & Game (a start up interpretive program for the state’s major public wildlife areas). He also served as a consultant for the Assembly Resources, Land Use and Energy, and Water Parks and Wildlife Committees. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and a B.S. from the University of Montana.
Jay Ziegler is the Director of External Affairs and Policy for The Nature Conservancy, California. Previously, Jay was principal of a Sacramento-based public affairs consulting firm, Ziegler Associates. The firm was founded in 2003 and specializes in land use issues, regulatory concerns and political communications. After graduating from UC Davis in 1984, Jay worked in the California State Legislature and later served as Deputy Controller for the State of California from 1989-1992. Jay also served in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt for intergovernmental affairs (1993-1996) and served as Assistant Trade Representative for Public Affairs (1996-1999). At the Department of the Interior Jay’s portfolio included coordination of strategies to advance collaborative conservation efforts between public and private concerns. In this capacity, he addressed a series of volatile and complex regional natural resource issues including as endangered species and habitat conservation, expansion of natural parks and monuments. Prior to starting his own consulting firm, Jay was the California state director for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign (2000) and then managing director, California Public Affairs Practice, for Burson-Marsteller, an international public affairs firm. Jay resides in Davis, California with his wife Carri and two children.
EMERITUS BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEMBERS
Russell Austin is the Managing Partner of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP. He has over 20 years experience in private practice, specializing in real estate law. His work has included a number of large, complex conservation transactions for non-profit conversation organizations including the American Land Conservancy. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law and as a Lecturer at UC Davis School of Law. He holds a B.A. from UC Santa Barbara and a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.
Dick Troy is former Deputy Director for Operations for California State Parks. He was responsible for overseeing the management and operation of more than 265 state parks, reserves, historic sites and recreation areas. Dick has a BA in Geography/Biology from San Diego State University. Dick also serves on the Board of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, the Anza Borrego Foundation and is the President of the California Recreational Trail Conference Foundation.
Sacramento Valley Conservancy Staff
AIMEE B. RUTLEDGE, Executive Director
Aimee Rutledge has been Executive Director of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy since October 1996. Previously, Ms. Rutledge helped found the Friends of the Sacramento River Greenway, worked with the American Institute of Architects, California Council as Director of Governmental Relations, and ran her own consulting firm, ABR Services, serving as legislative advocate for the California Bicycle Coalition and performing outreach and advocacy services for various other clients. She holds a BA in History from Pomona College and is a graduate of Sacramento High School. She also currently serves as a board member on Reclamation District 1600, a commissioner on the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and as California Program Manager for The Wilderness Land Trust.
WENDY BATY, Administrative Director
Wendy has worked with the Sacramento Valley Conservancy since its “Birth Event” in 1991. She has also worked for the American River Parkway Foundation, Sacramento Open Space, and other environmental groups. She received a B.A. in Home Economics/Clothing & Textiles at CSU, Sacramento. She is proud to be able to assist in the protection of local lands as a preserve for wildlife habitat and recreation.
LUCIE ADAMS, Stewardship Director
Lucie joined SVC in November 2011. Lucie is a biologist whose love of plants and the outdoors resulted in a degree in environmental studies and biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She moved on to a career as a field biologist and botanist for various government agencies and environmental consulting firms. Lucie also works for the Sacramento Splash program where she shares her love of vernal pool ecosystems with children and their families. Lucie enjoys spending her free time traveling to new places to hike, bike and enjoy the outdoors.
GINA SILVERNALE, Outreach Coordinator
Living in Folsom, California, Gina Silvernale considers the Sierra Foothills her personal backyard for her passion of the great outdoors, four-season adventure and her love of photography. Although Gina still appreciates to her roots from Montana, the characteristics of the local foothills supplies the wide open spaces, a trait that she is accustomed to from life on the family wheat farm in Big Sky Country. In addition to organizing youth (YES-Youth Education and Stewardship) day and backpacking outing and docent-led tour programs for SVC, Gina currently also leads fieldtrips for the REI Outdoor School on kayaking, photography and other subjects.
FRED TRACY, Program Assistant
Fred is a native of Carmichael and grew up in the greater Sacramento area. He comes to the Sacramento Valley Conservancy with some 20 years of experience in natural resource management and environmental education in Central and South America. As a Peace Corps volunteer, technical advisor, consultant, and project manager, he accumulated a wealth of experience with outreach programs. Fred earned a BS in Natural Resource Management at Humboldt State and a MS in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona, and is fluent in Spanish. Since returning to California in 2002, he is active as a Boy Scout troop leader and works for REI, including over 6 years in outreach programs for schools, scout groups and coop members. He looks forward to enabling local youth groups discover the wonders of the world around them at Deer Creek Hills.
MATT GAYLORD, Program Assistant
Matt was born and raised in Northern California and has always taken advantage of all the outdoor and recreational activities the area has afforded him. He grew up camping, hiking, biking, and enjoyed a variety of adventures while earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He was a Scholar Athlete playing baseball while earning his B.S. in Business from California State University, Northridge. He has been able to put his knowledge of and love for the outdoors to use while working at the Sacramento REI in the "Action Sports" department for the last three years. During his free time, Matt enjoys camping, playing sports, and mountain bike racing.
PAULETTE BURGESS, Administrative Assistant
Born in New Jersey, raised in the Canal Zone, Paulette has lived in California since 1962. Along the way, she earned an A.S. Degree in Electronics from Mission College in the Bay Area. A late bloomer to outdoor activities, she enthusiastically has tried just about everything at least once to see what it’s like. Currently she is semi-retired and a part-time employee with Sacramento REI in the “Camping/Climbing” department; her favorite outdoor activities are camping, hiking, climbing, birding, and cycling.
KELLY FIOCK, Administrative Assistant
Kelly is a Bay Area native who grew up camping, backpacking and sailing in the Sierras. With 7 years experience as a Girl Scout, Kelly has an enthusiastic and energetic attitude toward outdoor recreation, responsibility and education. Kelly is a Leave No Trace and PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids) trainer with 5 years of experience, reaching hundreds of kids in the greater Sacramento area. Kelly has a B.S. in Organizational Communication Studies from California State University Sacramento. When she’s not working, Kelly’s favorite outdoor activities include cycling, hiking and photography.