Keith McKnight, Coordinator
Prior to coming to the Joint Venture, Keith worked with Ducks Unlimited where he served as a Regional Biologist responsible for coordinating conservation delivery projects in Texas and New Mexico. Prior to this, he held several positions with DU at their National Headquarters, including serving as a Conservation Program Specialist, Manager of Conservation Programs, and ultimately as the Director of Conservation Programs. In those positions, Keith led DU’s Ducks and More Program, supervised the National HQ GIS staff, served as DU’s staff support to the NAWCA Council, developed multi-scale international conservation strategies for shorebird conservation, and served as DU’s liaison to national and international bird conservation plans including PIF, NAWCP, and NABCI. In his early years, he spent some time teaching Ecology and Ornithology at Auburn University.
Keith has a Ph.D. from Auburn University where he studied the ecology of wintering Gadwall and American Coot, and a B.S. and M.S. from Texas A&M where he studied wetland regeneration ecology on reclaimed stripmine land. Keith works out of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department office located in Tyler, Tx.
Steve Brock, Mississippi Alluvial Valley Partnership Coordinator
Steve’s primary role with the LMVJV is to represent the partnership by advancing and supporting migratory bird related conservation delivery activities within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Prior to his current role, Steve worked within the USFWS Refuge Program as a Deputy Area Supervisor in the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, GA. Prior to working in Atlanta, he worked in other FWS Refuge program roles including Deputy Refuge Manager at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Southwest MS and as a Partners for Fish and Wildlife program biologist in the Northeast LA Delta, delivering technical and financial assistance programs to private landowners.
Prior to his roles with the FWS, Steve spent seven years as a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Forest Service on the Homochitto National Forest in South Mississippi. Early in his career, he worked four years with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as a Wildlife Biologist Supervisor, in the tidewater region of the state.
Steve received a B.S. in Forestry and M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State University. His Master’s project evaluated seed production of several moist-soil plant species in managed wetlands on Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. He currently works out of Ducks Unlimited’s Southern Regional office in Ridgeland, MS.
Bill Bartush, West Gulf Coastal Plain Partnership Coordinator
A native of Muenster, Texas, Bill graduated with a BS (1976) and MS (1978) in Wildlife Ecology from Oklahoma State University. A Certified Wildlife Biologist®, Bill has been in the wildlife profession for almost 40 years, and currently serves as Partnership Coordinator for the LMVJV coordinating conservation delivery in the West Gulf Coastal Plain. Throughout his career, Bill has remained active in private lands management, providing technical advice for agricultural, forestry, and wildlife operations in in the Eastern U.S., but primarily in the Gulf Coast States, and especially Texas and Oklahoma. He looks back with pride at his opportunities to work with, and learn from, exceptional natural resources managers, ecologists, and biologists.
Bill’s professional career has focused on wildlife management, both population and habitat specific, and more recently through strategic habitat conservation. Bill believes that building relationships is essential to any landscape level planning to promote functional delivery of conservation. He remains focused on bringing partners together – agencies, NGOs, and private landowners – with common landscape goals.
Blaine Elliott, GIS Applications Biologist
As a GIS applications biologist, Blaine serves a unique role within the JV partnership. His experience and education in both avian ecology and geospatial technology enables him to provide key functions in both the biological and technological aspects of conservation for the LMV region. Blaine studied ecological ornithology at the University of Arkansas where his research included avian depredation of citrus, measures to limit and reduce crop damage, education of local landowners, and the interactions of neotropical migrants with resident birds in orchards of the Stann Creek Valley region of Belize, Central America. He’s also participated in extended avian-related field research in the mountains of Arizona and Arkansas. Following completion of his M.S. degree, Blaine began a stint with the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Mississippi Field Station where he assisted in research regarding forestry management effects on breeding and wintering birds of the bottomland hardwood forests and cottonwood plantations of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. This led to a relationship with the JV Office and he eventually came on board as an intern GIS technician. After 15 plus years of GIS related education and experience, he now serves as the lead GIS analyst, cartographer, database manager, and technical liaison to numerous Working Groups for the JV. In addition to his M.S. degree from Arkansas, Blaine also holds a B.S. in Biology/Chemistry from Huntingdon College in Alabama. Blaine’s office is located in Vicksburg, MS.
Anne Mini, Science Coordinator
Prior to coming to work for the Joint Venture, Anne was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Oregon State University where she led a project to refine estimates of energetic carrying capacity for Cackling Geese in the Willamette Valley and determine distribution of geese on the landscape to inform winter conservation planning. Previously, she worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) as a graduate and undergraduate student. At the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Anne coordinated the Aleutian Goose Working Group to address crop depredation concerns regarding spring staging Aleutian Cackling Geese, and additionally worked as a contract biologist to develop a scientific foundation for a regional agricultural depredation management plan. Through USFWS, Anne worked at a variety of other National Wildlife Refuges, including the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex where she became drawn to waterfowl and wetland management. She has taught courses in Ornithology, Endangered Species and Society, and Wetlands and Riparian Ecology. Anne is a member of The Wildlife Society, American Ornithologists Union, Cooper Ornithological Society and the Ecological Society of America. In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking, birding, fly fishing, and agility with her border collie Scruff.
Anne has a Ph.D. from Oregon State University where she studied the comparative foraging ecology and habitat selection of wintering Dusky Canada Geese and Cackling Geese, a M.S. from Humboldt State University where she studied the energetics and foraging behavior of Aleutian Cackling Geese, and a B.S. from University of California, Davis. Anne works for the American Bird Conservancy out of the Ducks Unlimited office located in Ridgeland, MS.