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Meet the Ohio Ecological Services Field Office

The Ohio Ecological Services Field Office is responsible for implementing the Endangered Species Act and overseeing the recovery and conservation of 27 federally listed species across the state. They are the voice for Ohio’s natural resources and are passionate about conserving the remaining natural habitats and resources in the Buckeye State. The Ohio office maintains strong partnerships with federal, state, local agencies and non-governmental organizations for the conservation and management of listed species. Through their Endangered Species Act consultation process and collaborative efforts with the Ohio Department of Transportation, they have helped to restore and preserve more than 3,700 acres of roosting and foraging habitat for listed bat species within known maternity colony home ranges in several Ohio counties. With these partnerships, important recovery actions are ongoing for species like the eastern massasauga, purple cat’s paw pearly mussel and lakeside daisy. In efforts to recover the lakeside daisy, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources received federal funding to purchase and protect 118 acres of rare alvar habitat. Working with partners in Ohio and other states, they were instrumental in saving the purple cat’s paw pearlymussel from the brink of extinction through the implementation of a robust propagation, augmentation and reintroduction program.

In addition, Ohio Field Office staff worked with the renewable energy industry on several wind development projects and assisted with the development of the first habitat conservation plan related to wind energy and the endangered Indiana bat. They also partner with Ohio’s Interagency Review Team to ensure high-quality restoration of streams and wetlands via 25-plus mitigation banks and three in-lieu-fee programs in the state. Staff conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to highlight the importance of healthy stream ecosystems and maintaining clean water for the benefit wildlife and people. In support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, they analyze the effects of emerging contaminants on fish and wildlife and partner with state agencies to restore Great Lakes Areas of Concern. In addition, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds have been used to collect listed plants and seed from at-risk areas for dispersal in higher quality protected habitat along with conducting a lakeside daisy census to provide data for recovery activities. Their Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration program facilitates recovery of ecosystems long-degraded by Ohio’s history of industrial and urban pollution. The office goal is to help conserve sensitive lands, restore damaged wetlands and improve habitat for endangered species throughout Ohio.

Patrice Ashfield

Patrice Ashfield

Patrice Ashfield is the new Field Supervisor for the Ecological Services Office in Columbus Ohio. As the Field Supervisor, Ashfield oversees a team of 12 talented and dedicated folks who work on listing, recovery, Section 7, habitat conservation plans, Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Ohio Field Office works diligently to conserve listed species along with enhancing and improving habitat for all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trust resources. Before her position in Ohio, Ashfield was the Branch Chief for Consultations and Habitat Conservation Planning at headquarters, where she spent six years working on policy, regulations and the national pesticide consultations. Her Service career also included 11 years in the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Hawaii, supervising all consultations and habitat conservation plans in the Pacific Region that included Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. Ashfield started her career with the Service in the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office in California, where she focused on landscape conservation planning for seven years. When not at work, Ashfield loves to spend time with her husband, Jeff Newman, and their dog, Kaili, enjoying the outdoors – particularly birding, camping and hiking. When at home she enjoys cooking, reading and pampering her two fat, spoiled, indoor cats.

Jeromy Applegate

Jeromy Applegate

Jeromy Applegate has served as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist at the Ohio Field Office for the past 16 years. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and has a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Fisheries Management from the Ohio State University. Applegate provides endangered species technical assistance and conducts section 7 consultations with a variety of federal agencies. He also works on stream, wetland and fisheries conservation. His three kids keep him busy and free time is rare. However, when he gets it, he usually escapes to the woods or the river to geek out on all things nature.

Jo Ann Banda

Jo Ann Banda

Jo Ann Banda is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist who became interested in aquatic ecosystems and water quality while obtaining her Bachelor's in Environmental Science at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. After interning with U.S. Geological Survey at the Lake Erie Biological Station, she realized that she wanted to work with fish and was introduced to genetics while participating in the National Science Foundation Research for Undergraduates at the Great Lakes Genetics Laboratory. She expanded her research of the spatial and temporal population genetics of Lake Erie walleye spawning groups and received a Master’s in Biology, ecology track, from the University of Toledo. She was the recipient of a Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research Fellowship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, that was awarded to the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. There she participated in research to see how hypoxia and mercury exposure affect gene expression in yellow perch. Banda has served with the Ohio Field Office since 2010. She oversees Great Lake Restoration Initiative funded projects in Ohio, including assessing fish health, restoration in degraded ecosystems and contaminants assessments. She also does spill response.

Angela Boyer

Angela Boyer

Angela Boyer is the Endangered Species Coordinator at the Ohio Field Office where she has worked since 1999. She received her Bachelor’s in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and began her career with the Service in 1993 at the Ludington Biological Station in Ludington, Michigan working for the Sea Lamprey Control Program. She specializes in bat, freshwater mussel and eastern massasauga conservation throughout Ohio. In her free time, Boyer enjoys spending time with her dogs and chicken as well as gardening and woodworking.

Jenny Finfera

Jenny Finfera

Jenny Finfera has served as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Columbus Ohio Field Office for nearly 12 years. She is originally from northwest Ohio and previously worked for the Toledo Metroparks and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, before joining the Service in June of 2007. Currently, her responsibilities include monitoring and recovery actions of six federally listed plants and the Karner blue butterfly. She also works with Wayne National Forest to review their projects and Great Parks of Hamilton County to conserve rare plants. Currently, Finfera’s priority projects include habitat restoration and management at Huffman Prairie at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and working with U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on management for nonnative animals. She plans to assist with snake and fish field work this summer and enjoys learning about various insect species. Outside of work Finfera enjoys travel with her husband, often visiting national wildlife refuges. They also enjoy biking, hiking and canoeing on the local reservoir.

Karen Hallberg

Karen Hallberg

Karen Hallberg is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Transportation Liaison in the Ohio Field Office. She started working with the Service 11 years ago. In her liaison role, Hallberg works closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation to streamline environmental review of transportation projects, as well as conserve threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Hallberg holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biopsychology and earned her PhD in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University in 2007. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, she never imagined she would move to Ohio – and cannot believe she has now lived in the state for more than 20 years! Outside of work, she and her husband keep busy caring for and enjoying their furry menagerie of dogs, cats and horses.

Lindsey Korfel

Lindsey Korfel

Lindsey Korfel started her work as a contractor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2017 and just finished her first official year as a Transportation Liaison in the Ohio Field Office in April. Born and raised a Buckeye, Korfel has developed a great connection to Ohio’s ecology and feels lucky to be able to draw on that passion in her current position. She attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio where she earned a Bachelor’s in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies in 2012. Her love of herpetofauna, particularly snakes, has taken her all over the state. She has been fortunate to spend time up north on Lake Erie’s islands helping aid in the recovery of the Lake Erie water snake, working summer jobs in north-central Ohio monitoring populations of eastern massasaugas, plains garter snakes, Kirtland’s snakes and smooth green snakes and trekking the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio to radio track timber rattlesnakes. Away from work she enjoys working on home renovations with her fiancé, exploring the outdoors, running 5ks, dining al fresco and spending time with her family and friends.

Keith Lott

Keith Lott

Keith Lott is a Wildlife Biologist with the Ohio Field Office. He has been with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for eight years. During this time, he has primarily worked on wind energy-related projects, specifically their impacts on listed species of bats. Lott also manages the Service Bat Occurrence Database. Prior to working for the Service, he worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife as their Wind Energy Wildlife Biologist. He received his Bachelor’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and a Master's in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology from Frostburg State University, Maryland. In his spare time, Lott enjoys birding (closing in on seeing his 700th species!), kayaking and playing practical jokes on his coworkers.

Roger Miller

Roger Miller

Roger Miller is an Administrative Officer for the Ohio Field Office. He is a graduate of the Ohio State University. He enjoys working with the biologists and the many programs, both in the office and in the field, in supporting the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which he joined in February 2015. His work interests include pollinator habitat development. Miller’s hobbies include skiing, fishing, boating and home improvement projects. Away from work, he loves spending time outdoors with his family and two dogs.

Deborah Millsap

Deborah Millsap

Deborah Millsap has been a Biologist and Contaminant Specialist in the Ohio Field Office since 2010, moving from the Bloomington, Indiana Field Office where she also completed a Master’s in Environmental Science from Indiana University. Millsap grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee, developing a love of the outdoors which led to the pursuit of a Bachelor’s in Biology from East Tennessee State University and a Master’s in Entomology from the University of Tennessee (go VOLS!). She has worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee and at various superfund sites in evaluating the impact of contaminants on fish and bird populations and habitats. Currently, Millsap is the Natural Resource Damage and Restoration Case Manager for Ohio, working with the state and other partners to protect, preserve and restore impacted habitat throughout Ohio. She provides technical expertise related to contaminant issues to the staff. Millsap enjoys travel, hiking and backpacking with her family, making quilts and trying out new recipes. She is owned by a fluffy Samoyed and three elderly cats.

Jennifer Okajima

Jennifer Okajima

Jennifer Okajima has served as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2014, first at the Indiana Ecological Services Field Office and currently in the Ohio Field Office. She really enjoys the data-crunching side of the job, using models to explore the impacts of wind turbines on bat populations. Okajima has a Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Rochester, New York, and a Master of Public Administration from Indiana University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and playing cooperative board games.

Megan Seymour

Megan Seymour

Megan Seymour is a Wildlife Biologist for the Ohio Field Office, and a lifelong Buckeye. Her favorite projects involve conservation, monitoring or research on snakes including Lake Erie Watersnake, Kirtland’s snake, eastern massasauga, copperbelly watersnake and smooth greensnake. She is also involved in a number of habitat conservation plans for bats. In her spare time, she enjoys home improvement projects, swimming, hiking and “iNaturalizing” critters she finds with their app.

Susan Zimmermann

Susan Zimmermann

Susan Zimmermann has worked for the Ohio Field Office since December 2011 as Administrative Support, which covers a wide range of duties, too many to list - but if your office is running, you can bet a good admin team has your back. Zimmermann grew up on Long Island, New York, then did a tour of duty in the U.S. Army in Kansas. She spent 11 years at the National Archives and Records Administration at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, in Kansas, then an additional 11 years at The Nature Conservancy in Ohio in the same administrative role. She said adding “secretaries secretly rule the world!” Zimmermann loves Renaissance fairs, nature and all things creative. She also loves antiques and her hounds.

Last updated: May 6, 2019