Instructor Biographies



WTI is an association of more than twenty individuals from industry, academia, and government.  It is this amalgam of highly qualified and widely respected professionals that is the backbone of the wetland courses and information available through WTI.


Please note that some instructors have a link for their name, and have provided more detailed information about their experience and education.



PAUL ADAMUS, Oregon State University
Dr. Adamus is on the research faculty at Oregon State University and supervises ecological and geomorphic studies of wetlands and other ecosystems. He authored one of the first function assessment methods (WET) intended for national use and Oregon’s HGM methods, trained professionals in their use, and designed/directed regional assessments of wetlands in CA, AK, OR, WA, CO, and ME. Dr. Adamus has authored numerous publications.


SARAH SPEAR COOK, PWS, Cooke Scientific
Dr. Cooke has over 20 years experience in the wetlands/riparian restoration field in the Pacific Northwest. A pofessional botanist, she focuses on wetland and upland habitat restoration and is the principal author and editor of A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon .


SAM COLLINSON, Environmental Consultant
Mr. Collinson has over 30 years experience with wetland regulation, 26 of those in the Corps of Engineers Headquarters Regulatory Branch. For 20 years he had primary responsibility for development of the current Corps regulations, policy guidance, and the nationwide permit program. Since retiring in 2002, he has worked as a consultant on regulatory and wetlands issues.


DAVID DEARING, Attorney at Law
Having participated in some of the most significant legal actions to have shaped federal wetland policy, Mr. Dearing served nine years as a lead trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice representing the Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, and Coast Guard. He is currently in private practice (


MALLORY GILBERT, M.N. Gilbert Environmental
Mr. Gilbert is a former USDA NRCS employee with more than 35 years experience as a Professional Soil Scientist and Wetland Scientist. He is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS), and Certified Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) and has been providing wetland science training since 1988. He recently served on the peer review team for the “Draft Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Northcentral and Northeast Region”, and has provided training on use of the Regional Supplements and regional Hydric Soils Indicators.


WES KNAPP, Department of Natural Resources, Maryland
Wesley M. Knapp is a professional botanist and specializes in rare, threatened, and endangered species, taxonomy and morphology. He is an expert on Sedges (Cyperaceae), and Rushes (Juncaceae) authoring keys for various Floras. He also serves as a regional reviewer for the Flora of North America Project.


CHARLES J. NEWLING, PWS, CWB; Wetland Science Applications, Inc.
A wetland biologist with over 35 years experience in wetland delineation, restoration, monitoring, and mitigation banking, Mr. Newling has testified frequently in federal court as an expert witness on these issues. While with the Corps Waterways Experiment Station, he participated in writing the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual and served for 8 and a half years as the national technical coordinator for Corps wetland training. He is recognized nationally as a specialist in professional wetland training.


The foremost U.S. authority on the identification of hydric soils, Mr. Parker led the project that developed the definition of hydric soils and the original list of hydric soils of the U.S. He also formulated much of the soils portion of the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual and served for many years on the National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils.


ROBERT J. PIERCE, Ph.D.; Wetland Science Applications, Inc.
Dr. Pierce has more than 35 years experience in wetland regulation, delineation, construction/restoration, and functional assessment, including participation in the development of the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual, training courses, and the Nationwide Permit program. He has frequently testified as an expert witness.


PHIL SCOLES, Terra Science, Inc.
Mr. Scoles is a Registered Professional Soil Scientist and principal of Terra Science, Inc. specializing in wetland delineation, permitting, and mitigation. He has extensive experience working with hydric soils and wetland hydrology.


W. THOMAS STRAW, Ph.D., CPH, PWS, Hydrogeologist
A nationally recognized hydrogeologist with over 30 years experience specializing in wetland hydrology, Dr. Straw has consulted for both private industry and government agencies, including the Wetlands Research Team at the Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station.


W. LARRY SWARD, HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc.
With over 25 years of exploring the natural history of southern California, Mr. Sward enjoys sharing his knowledge of botany, habitat restoration, and wetland delineation with his classes. He works as a biologist in the private sector and also teaches courses for WTI and Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA.


JAMES W. TEAFORD, PWS, CWB, J.W. Teaford & Co.
Mr. Teaford is a forester and wildlife biologist with over 30 years experience in integrated natural resources management in both wetland and non-wetland habitats throughout the country. He has conducted professional wetland training for government agencies and the private sector throughout the United States.



Dr. Thomasson is curator of the herbarium at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University. He has taught classes in aquatic biology, botany, dendrology, flowering plant taxonomy, and grass taxonomy for 30 years. He has numerous professional publications and has had major research funding from DOD, National Geographic Society, and NSF. Each year since 2002 he has served as a senior plant taxonomist consulting to the U. S. Forest Service, the NRCS, and a major mineral resources corporation.


SALLY TRNKA, HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc
A practicing restoration biologist and botanist for over 14 years, Ms. Trnka has extensive experience in implementing and monitoring riparian and coastal salt marsh restoration in southern California. She is currently an environmental consultant in the private sector.


Other instructors, or associates, who may be involved with WTI courses, include, but are not limited to, the following:


Barbara B. Beall; The Chazen Companies
Bill Brady; Biological Consultant
Jim Gibson PWS; Gibson & Skordal
Greg G. Mason; HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc.
Jeff Nania; Wetland Restorationist
Katie Northrup; Knudson, LP
Michael Whited; Soil Scientist


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