Karen Schneller-McDonald



North Carolina State University: B.S. Conservation of Natural Resources 1974;  Colorado State University Graduate School: Plant Ecology and Plant Geography

Selected Additional Training

  • American Writers and Artists Institute. Copywriting, website content, newsletters, 2012.
  • Pace Land Use Law Center, Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program. June, 2006.
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Stormwater  Management Program courses including: NYS DEC stormwater regulations, erosion and sediment control  planning, design of stormwater ponds and wetlands, infiltration/filtering practices (January-June, 2005).
  • “Jurisdictional Delineation of Wetlands in the American West”;  National Wetland Training Cooperative.
  • “Functional Assessment of Wetland and Riparian Ecosystems and Wetland Identification”; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Ecology Research Center.
  • Small Group Facilitation Processes (consensus decision making); Institute on Man and Science and Dynamac Corp.
  • Raptor Identification; Rocky Mountain Raptor Program.
  • Rare plant surveys, US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Selected Experience

Hickory Creek Consulting, Red Hook, New York. President. 2003 to present.  Environmental impact evaluation and pubic outreach services to municipalities and organizations; projects include wetland assessment; environmental impact reviews; interpretation and practical use of habitat and wildlife information in the planning process; biodiversity, watershed assessment and site prioritization for open space plans; site plan review; habitat assessment guidelines; natural resources inventories; mitigation guidelines; stormwater Best Management Practices review; assessment of impacts of natural gas development on ecological systems. Green Assets project for biodiversity outreach in seven townships surrounding the Shawangunk Ridge.  Development and implementation of wetland  and watercourse protection laws.  Watershed management plans. Outreach services include preparation of brochures, facilitation of meetings, workshops, and powerpoint presentations including  “Habitat Assessment, Ecosystems, and a New Approach for Evaluating Development Impacts” (NENHC Conference);“Habitat Assessment Guidelines for Wetland Habitat Protection”(Association of State Wetland Managers), “Effective Watershed and Wetland Protection: Development of Local Laws”(ASWM and Town of Gardiner), “Integrating Natural Resources Protection into Land Use Decisions” (Pace Land Use Leadership Alliance Training), “Wetlands, Watersheds and Fisheries” (Trout Unlimited).

Town of Red Hook Conservation Advisory Council, 2009- present.

Winnakee Land Trust.  Easement evaluation committee, 2009-present.

Sullivan Renaissance. Community project judge (volunteer), 2007-present.  Seasonal evaluation of local projects emphasizing beautification, sustainability, and community-building.  Projects located throughout Sullivan County.  Presentation on incorporating habitat protection into beautification projects.

Land Use, Development and Conservation Working Group, Red Hook, New York. Co-chair. 2004.

Wildlife Conservation Society/Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, Rye, New York. Biodiversity Coordinator: Hudson Valley Programs.  2001-2002. The Metropolitan Conservation Alliance (MCA) works with local communities and decision makers to create a balance between economic development and conservation of natural resources in the Hudson Valley.  This biodiversity project (in 15 townships/ 5 counties) was developed in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Hudsonia at Bard College. Tasks included: site selection for field surveys; contacting landowners for access permission; supervision of field survey team, coordination of survey schedule; preparation of educational presentations and reports; meetings with town supervisors, planners, environmental groups, open space committees, land trusts and others to collect information on survey sites and provide assistance with local planning efforts that affect habitat including open space plans, wetland ordinances, master plans, and land acquisition plans.

Cottonwood Environmental Consulting, Hamilton, Montana and Fort Collins, Colorado. Ecologist/ Wetland Specialist. 1991-1998.  Conducted wetland delineations and prepared environmental assessments, environmental impact assessments, wildlife studies, and mitigation plans for development projects in Colorado. Worked with developers, local government officials, and citizens’ groups on the mitigation of impacts for various development projects.  Compiled information on threatened and endangered species. .  Worked with the Larimer County Planning Department and local developers to compile guidelines for developers and an Environmental Assessment Form and Information Supplement containing mitigation guidelines and criteria for determining the significance of adverse impacts. This work included studies of appropriate buffer zones for riparian areas and wetlands.

Laporte Area Planning Advisory Committee, Laporte, Colorado. Member and Chair.  1994-1998.

ENTRIX, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado.  Natural Resource Specialist. 1990-1991.  Served as discipline manager for terrestrial and aquatic biology studies. Prepared biological assessment for oil pipeline project in southern California, advising the project proponent on compliance with numerous federal and state permits and environmental impact assessment requirements. Field surveys of habitats including species composition were conducted from the Simi Valley to the coastal areas north of Santa Barbara.  Compiled literature review and analysis of information pertaining to persistence of certain pesticides in the marine environment and in animal tissue samples (Houston, Texas).  Conducted habitat and wildlife surveys for protected species including gopher tortoise (Arizona utilities pipeline project, Lake Havasu), and ocelot (southwest Texas).

National Ecology Research Center (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Fort Collins, Colorado.  Wildlife Biologist and Technical Writer/Editor, 1986-1990.  Developed wetland creation and restoration data base and wetland functions and values information for research and regulatory purposes. Developed presentations of examples of creation and restoration projects and wetland values and functions in different parts of the U.S.  Compiled  wetlands functions and values data base and presented findings at research conferences and in research reports. Served as project officer for research on the restoration of riparian ecosystems.  Compiled research data on wetland restoration for wildlife habitat on gravel-mined areas, and on the design of restored and created wetlands.  Assisted with vegetative plot monitoring for riparian studies on Boulder Creek.

Laboratory for Information Science in Agriculture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.  Researcher and Operational Analyst, 1982-1984. Compiled state-of-the-art methods of assessing cumulative environmental impacts. Conducted extensive survey of the information needs for regulatory decision making processes in pesticide registration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs in Washington, D.C.

Dynamac Corp., Fort Collins, Colorado.  Information Specialist/Technical Writer, 1981-1982.  Researched and prepared document on the legal and regulatory status (including case studies) of cumulative impact assessment. Project also involved evaluating methods for assessing cumulative impacts of energy development (e.g. coal mining) on fish and wildlife resources. Activities included literature review, preparation of research reports, and planning and participation (as a facilitator) for a national workshop on the impacts of coal development on fish and wildlife, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Institute on Man and Science, Rensselaerville, New York.  Research Associate, 1980-1981.  Activities included research, report preparation, program coordination, workshop planning and small group facilitation.  Projects related to the interface between science and human values, including the scientific basis for establishing effective compensation for victims of toxic substance-induced disease.  Assisted with workshop planning and small group facilitation for Visual Impact Assessment and evaluation of the impacts of  power transmission lines in Eugene, Oregon.

City of Syracuse, New York.  Senior Planner/Environmental Specialist, 1977-1980. Community Development Block Grant program. Conducted and attended neighborhood meetings and planning advisory board meetings as part of the city’s Community Development Block Grant program.  Prepared and reviewed Environmental Impact Statements and assessments, conducted environmental reviews, implemented historic preservation procedures pertaining to National Register properties.  Prepared testimony for public hearings, provided technical assistance to City of Syracuse, conducted and compiled city-wide Urban Natural Resources Inventory and directed field work for open space and wetland inventories.

Sharpe Environmental Education Center, Fishkill, New York.  Teacher/Naturalist, 1975-1976.  Organized a new nature center including freshwater biology lab, library, wildlife observation center, and public exhibits.  Developed and taught environmental education programs for students and adults. Organized teacher workshops and lesson plans, led nature hikes, and taught classes in freshwater biology and ecology.  Supervised resident and non-resident school groups (up to 200 students).

Selected Publications and Reports

  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2012. Habitat assessment, ecosystems, and a new approach for evaluating development impacts. Northeast Natural History Conference, Syracuse, New York.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2012. Water resources protection: development of local laws. Powerpoint presentation for the Town of Gardiner Environmental Conservation Commission, Gardiner, New York.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2012. Lower Esopus watershed management plan: phase 1. Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership, Kingston, New York.
  • Kiviat, E. and K. Schneller-McDonald. 2011. Fracking and biodiversity: unaddressed issues in the New York debate. News from Hudsonia 25:1&2.
  • Kiviat, E. and K. Schneller-McDonald. 2011. Framework for assessing biodiversity impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. 2011 Northeast Natural History Conference, Albany, NY.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2009. Natural Resources Inventory for the Towns of Montgomery and Wallkill, N.Y.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2008. “Habitat Assessment Guidelines for Wetland Habitat Protection” presented at the    National Symposium: Wetlands 2008: Wetlands and Global Climate Change, Portland, Oregon.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2008. “Effective Watershed and Wetland Protection: Development of Local Laws” presented at the National Symposium: Wetlands 2008: Wetlands and Global Climate Change, Portland, Oregon.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 2005. Wallkill River Corridor Study: Town of Montgomery, Orange County. Hickory Creek Consulting LLC., Red Hook, N.Y.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K., S. Buff, F. Margiotta, L. Kingman. 2005. Habitat Assessment Guidelines: Town of Milan. Town of Milan Planning Board. Milan, New York.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 1992-1995. Cottonwood Consulting. Reports include: Spring Creek/Drake Road Crossing: Habitat Assessment and Stream Reconstruction Recommendations; Environmental Assessment Forms and Supplement for Larimer County, Colorado; Wildlife impact evaluation, mitigation recommendations, and management study: Breckenridge, Colorado.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K., L.S. Ischinger and G.T. Auble. 1990. Wetland creation and restoration: description and summary of the literature. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report. 198 pp.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. 1987. Wetland creation/restoration data base. Pages 352-354 in: J. Zelazny and J.S. Feierabend, eds. Increasing our wetland resources conference. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.
  • Schneller-McDonald, K. and G.C. Horak. 1986. Cumulative impact assessment: legal and regulatory status. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fort Collins, CO. 62 pp.