Ann McCauley

Programs Director

Ann is a Montana native and received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Montana State University-Bozeman’s College of Agriculture with an emphasis in soil science, sustainable cropping systems, and environmental biology. Ann has previous experience working for the Forest Service, writing extension publications for MSU, and working in water quality programs. Ann lives in Helena with her husband and her two kids, and in her rare spare time, Ann likes to run, ski, and bake.

Jess (2)Jess Makus

Programs Manager

Jessica has a background in biology, and a lot of experience working with water resources. She began her work in Montana with the Montana Natural Heritage Program, continued with the Department of Environmental Quality, and most recently spent time with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Jessica lives in Helena with her husband Erik, and their daughter, Cora. Jessica enjoys the outdoors and spends her free time running, hiking, and camping. She can be reached at

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Samantha Tappenbeck

Area Resource Specialist, Western Montana

Samantha provides technical support on water-related issues and coordination assistance to conservation districts and local organizations in the Clark Fork and Kootenai River Basins. Her background is in freshwater ecology and aquatic biogeochemistry, and she has conducted research in southeastern Appalachia, the tallgrass prairie of the Midwest, and the northwestern Rocky Mountains. Samantha has lived in the Flathead Valley since 2010 and has previous experience working for the Flathead Lake Biological Station. She lives in the foothills of the Swan Mountains with her husband, Tyler and son, William. When not at work, you can find them camping, floating a river, or hiking with their three dogs. Samantha can be reached at or 406-291-6314.


Kate Arpin

Communication and Outreach

Many of you will recognize Kate from her former position as the administrator and outreach/communications coordinator at the Madison Conservation District. She is also skilled in website design, and built websites for the Madison Conservation District, the Park Conservation District, and the Beaverhead Watershed Committee. Kate is the daughter of a longtime Ruby Valley CD supervisor and a native of Twin Bridges. She currently lives in Troy with her husband Al, who is a teacher and fights fire for the Forest Service in the summer.

Please see individual program pages for Program Staff.