NEWPORT - A new watershed management educator - one of two being assigned to the Oregon coast - has begun work at the Oregon State University Extension office in Newport.

Mary Holbert will work with Lincoln County watershed councils, property owners and interested citizens on issues related to watershed ecosystem health, salmon recovery and water quality.

The new agent comes to the Extension Sea Grant position after seven years with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, most recently as the agency's Newport-based watershed council liaison.

"It's great to be able to bring the best aspects of my last job to the challenges of my new job," said Holbert, who started work in mid-April.

Evelyn Brookhyser, staff chair of the Lincoln County Extension office, said Holbert's previous work means she knows the territory and many of the people with who she will be working. "That's a real plus. It's as if she'd been here a year, not a month."

Holbert's position is one of several being created by the Extension Service, in association with Oregon Sea Grant and the OSU colleges of agricultural sciences and forestry, to help provide statewide information and technical advice to citizen watershed councils and others charged with implementing the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. Her academic home is with the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Holbert will work closely with Extension watershed and water quality faculty based on the north and south coast, Salem and Grants Pass and with campus-based specialists. She will also work with OSU's Watershed Stewardship Education Program, a nationally recognized effort that has developed a comprehensive training curriculum for watershed council volunteers.

Holbert has master's and bachelor's degrees in biology from the University of Oregon, and spent her early years with ODFW as a fish and wildlife biologist.

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Jay Rasmussen, 541-867-0370