Our Team

CREST employs a seasoned and dedicated team of project managers, biologists, environmental planners and GIS specialists who provide leadership and consultative guidance on planning and habitat restoration initiatives throughout the Lower Columbia River. The CREST team is also experienced in building and maintaining community partnerships to ensure collaborative efforts advance ecological and economic sustainability for the region.

April Silva

Lead Ecologist

April has discovered the coveted alignment of her professional goals with her personal passions in her role as Lead Ecologist for CREST. April’s primary responsibilities include applying a variety of techniques to characterize salmon life history patterns and overall ecological response to restoration, as well as overseeing the performance of laboratory work on fisheries samples. 

Denise Löfman


Denise joined the CREST team as Director in July of 2012. She is dedicated to working with communities to find solutions for their natural resource issues. Having moved to the Oregon Coast in 2004, Denise has applied her professional passion to resource management of regional watersheds. Before joining CREST, Denise was the Director of the Tillamook Bay Watershed Council. Similarly to the mandate of CREST, at the TWBC, Denise worked directly with landowners to improve watershed health and salmon populations.

Hannah Dankbar

Coastal Planner

Hannah joined the CREST team in 2016 in the role of Coastal Planner. Her primary responsibility is to establish both immediate and long-term plans for the Columbia River estuary region by collaborating with local government agencies in Washington and Oregon. In regards to environmental planning initiatives, Hannah believes that coordinating across multiple jurisdictions is the ideal way to work in the best interest of all stakeholders. She is excited to work with different communities and provide assistance in projects that they might not have the capacity to undertake on their own.

Holly Cook

Financial Assistant

Holly brings a wealth of organizational skills to the CREST team, which she joined in 2007. Holly works closely with the Fiscal Administrator managing accounts payable. She is also responsible for maintaining the CREST website, coordinating council meetings, maintaining the CREST libraries and other administrative support as needed.

Jason Smith

Habitat Restoration Project Manager

Jason grew up in Seaside, Oregon, just south of Astoria. Being able to do research that impacts his local community was a galvanizing factor in his decision to join the CREST team in 2009. Jason's primary reponsibilities include conducting field work related to the effectiveness of tidal wetland restoration projects, performing lab analyses, maintaining and repairing equipment.  Jason also develops pit tag array systems, and is gaining experience in elements of habitat restoration project management. 

Justin Saydell

Habitat Restoration Project Manager

Justin joined the CREST team in March 2013 and is a Habitat Restoration Project Manager. He is passionate about restoring habitat in order to encourage a return of healthy and sustainable salmon populations in the region.

Karli Neilson

Staff Accountant/Contracts Coordinator

Karli joined CREST in the role of Staff Accountant & Contract Coordinator in April 2016. To her role Karli brings many years of financial and operations experience in the private sector, including financial planning, global asset servicing, and exporting. She oversees key aspects of CREST’s internal finances including billing, journal entries, project file upkeep; she also investigates accounting issues.

Madeline Ishikawa

Habitat Restoration Program Manager

For Madeline, the most rewarding part of working at CREST is to see a restored site being actively utilized by salmonids. Madeline manages the planning and implementation of habitat restoration projects. Her primary responsibilitiies include landowner outreach, overseeing the quality of subcontracted work, restoration design, regulatory permitting, and construction.

Narayan Elasmar

Habitat Restoration Biologist

Narayan is most passionate about making things right.  Nature is right.  Opening historical channels, creeks, sloughs, and wetlands back up to the tidal, fluvial Columbia river is right!  Witnessing native plants, insects, birds, and salmon take residence in a restored habitat gives him great pleasure. His enthusiasm for habitat restoration inspired him to join CREST in 2014.

Paula Gerttula

Fiscal Administrator/Operations Manager

Paula joined the CREST team originally in 1997. After a brief hiatus, she rejoined the organization in 2003 and has been responsible for overseeing administration ever since. Paula's primary responsbilities include managing the day to day financial management of CREST, preparing the annual budget, financial tracking of CREST grant and contract projects, oveerseeing expenses and managing human resources.


Tom Josephson

Senior Habitat Restoration Project Manager

Tom holds the unique position of being the first CREST team member to be located in Portland, rather than Astoria  His locality enables him to liaise with various community partners located in the metropolitan area. Tom manages the planning and implementation of habitat restoration projects, particularly Lower Columbia River projects upstream of Ranier, Oregon. He performs landowner outreach and oversees the quality of subcontracted work, restoration design, regulatory permitting, and construction.