Bear River Watershed Conservation Coordinator – Matt Coombs
Matt grew up in northern Utah helping his dad and grandfather on the family’s small farm and cattle ranch. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from the University of Idaho before moving to South America where he spent 3.5 years working with the Peace Corps to support local communities in sustainable agriculture, agribusiness, and natural resources projects.
Matt met his wife, Casey, just before leaving Ecuador and returned to her home state of New York where they spent several years working with and managing small farms and community supported agriculture programs in New York’s Hudson Valley. Matt became involved with the Orange County Land Trust (OCLT) after hosting one of their events at a farm he was managing and eventually went to work assisting with land stewardship and the development of several community-based conservation projects with both OCLT and Groundwork Hudson Valley.
Matt and Casey returned to Utah in 2011 to attend graduate school at Utah State University where Matt studied landscape architecture and earned a Master’s degree in Bioregional Planning. Matt’s graduate work included a baseline study to support development of a comprehensive management plan for Utah’s sovereign land resources along the Bear River. He was hired by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands as the Bear River Area Sovereign Lands Coordinator and spent 7 years working on everything from environmental permitting to vegetation management, recreational access and infrastructure projects at Bear Lake, Bear River and the north end of the Great Salt Lake.
Matt and Casey live in Cache Valley where they enjoy sharing the region’s many wonderful outdoor and recreational opportunities with their two children, Claire and Ben. Matt looks forward to working with private landowners and partners throughout the Bear River Watershed to help preserve critical components of the landscape, support the livelihoods of local farmers and ranchers, and maintain our rich quality of life and regional identity for future generations.
Operations Manager – Gabriel Murray
Gabe grew up exploring and adventuring on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. He developed a deep appreciation for watersheds and open spaces while fishing for salmon on the Kenai River and exploring the Chugach Mountains.
After leaving Alaska, Gabe earned a B.S in Environmental Engineering from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona. During his time at NAU, Gabe took a strong interest in water resources and environmental restoration. Upon graduation, he moved to Bozeman, Montana where he accepted a position with Confluence Consulting in the field of stream and wetland restoration. After several years of working on small and large restoration projects in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, he recognized significant opportunities for conservation and restoration exist on private lands.
In an effort to increase and improve restoration efforts on private lands, he moved from Bozeman, Montana to Logan, Utah and accepted the position of Bear River Watershed Coordinator with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Over the last four years, Gabe has worked with private landowners, conservation districts, government agencies, NGOs, and universities on a wide variety of projects including riparian restoration, weed management, soil health, irrigation, grazing management, and nutrient management planning.
Gabe has enjoyed working with many producers in Cache Valley and hopes to continue supporting agriculture and natural resources in his new role with the Bear River Land Conservancy. When Gabe is not working, you can find him exploring in the mountains of the Bear River Watershed, fishing in alpine lakes and streams, gauging the snowpack on skis, and floating down the Bear River.
Casey Snider, Executive Director, January 2018 - December 2020
Trevor Irish, Director of Community Engagement, January 2016 – April 2018