Biological Monitoring Team
NWRS Regions 3 & 5


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Staff Profiles

Hal Laskowski, Region 5 Regional Biologist and BMT Team Leader (302-684-4028)

  • Responsible for overall vision and direction for the program.
  • Identifies monitoring and data management needs, and assures coordination among various NWRS efforts in the areas of monitoring and data management.
  • Coordinates various offices developing refuge biological databases to ensure proper relational structures and efficient use of refuge biological data.
  • Oversees the development of proposals and justifications for new monitoring programs, database products, special needs, and multiple refuge studies.

Hal is currently stationed at Prime Hook NWR, Delaware. He has worked on a number of refuges throughout Region 5. Presently as Regional Refuge Biologist he assists numerous refuges on a wide variety of wildlife and habitat management issues. Recently, through Promise Action Team efforts he has been involved in evaluating biological monitoring efforts throughout the NWRS, and identification and development of biological monitoring tools to assist refuges which have common monitoring needs.

Melinda Knutson, Ph. D., Wildlife Biologist (608-781-6339)

  • Responsible for coordinating the development of multi-refuge biological monitoring programs for both wildlife and habitat.
  • Works with numerous groups including refuge staff, subject matter experts, and biometricians to ensure that monitoring programs meet refuge needs and are statistically defensible.
  • Identifies appropriate data standards for monitoring efforts and database applications to ensure efficient exchange and utility of data among numerous offices.
  • Develops proposals and justifications for new monitoring programs, database products, special needs, and multi-refuge adaptive management research.

Melinda has ten years of experience as a scientist with the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center studying landbirds and amphibians. Prior to that, she worked in the health care field. She has a B.S.N. in Nursing, an M.P.H. in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University.

Todd Sutherland, Information Technology Specialist (608-781-6263)

  • Responsible for technical design and implementation of monitoring and resource database for the NWRS.
  • Reviews needs for national or regional NWRS database applications.
  • Designs and maintains appropriate database systems.
  • Provides training for invasive weed mapping and database applications.
  • Maintains BMT web pages.

Todd started his career with the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service in 1995. His experience with the Service includes geospatial application development, technical training, and facilitation. Todd is a member of the National FWS GIS Steering Committee representing the R9 Science Excellence Initiative. Todd has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Socheata Lor, Wildlife Biologist (608-781-6390)

  • Supports the Region 3 refuge biological program as the Assistant Regional Refuge Biologist.
  • Primary liaison between refuge biologists participating in multi-refuge adaptive management research studies and non-FWS research staff.
  • Coordinates development of inventory and monitoring protocols and databases for wildlife and habitats. 
  • Supports field stations with habitat and wildlife monitoring, evaluation, and research needs.

Prior to her current position in La Crosse, WI., Soch worked on several National Wildlife Refuges in Regions 3 and 5. She has been with the FWS for 16 years and she currently shares her duties as the Assistant Regional Refuge Biologist in Region 3 and as a biologist with the Biological Monitoring Team.  She received her degrees in biology and wildlife science from: Ripon College (B.S.), Cornell University (M.S.), and University of Missouri-Columbia (Ph.D).

Jennifer Casey, Wildlife Biologist (603-482-3415 x22)

  • Supports the Region 5 Biological Program
  • Assists with the development of biological monitoring programs and identification of database requirements
  • Assists refuges with the use of biological databases

Jennifer began her career with in the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1991 and has worked as a refuge biologist, assistant manager and assistant regional biologist. In her refuge positions she has worked with piping plover/barrier beach management as well as the day to day operations of a refuge as acting primary assistant. As an assistant regional biologist, Jennifer worked on biological issues that span multiple refuges such as biological surveys, vegetation mapping, and identifying biological priorities for CCPs and HMPs. As a co-leader for the biological inventory Promise's team, she gained an understanding of the fundamental biological challenges at the national scale of NWRs. Prior to the FWS, Jennifer has worked for State wildlife agencies, nongovernment wildlife groups such as TNC and the International Crane Foundation, and a database manager for a drug rehabilitation center. Jennifer has a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management and Biology from the University of WI - Stevens Point.


Last updated: October 14, 2008