Dave grew up in the Mid-Hudson Valley in upstate New York. He spent his summers at his family’s cabin on Page Lake in northeast Pennsylvania, waterskiing, fishing, and exploring the beaver complexes at the lake inlet. These childhood summers instilled a love for water resources. Dave pursued this passion as an undergraduate at SUNY Oneonta, where he majored in Environmental Science and minored in Water Resources and Math, in addition to being a distance runner on the cross-country and track teams. A defining moment of his undergraduate experience was spending two weeks at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, where unchecked agriculture and sewage runoff threatens lake water quality and the wellbeing of the local population. In addition to taking water samples and brainstorming solutions to water resources issues, he was privileged to help install water filters in high-need homes and to teach a lesson on recycling to local schoolchildren.
Dave fell in love with the American West on a family road trip during the summer and, following his graduation, promptly moved to Colorado to be a ski instructor at Breckenridge. He became entranced with rivers while learning to whitewater kayak on the Arkansas and Colorado. This infatuation grew while serving a six-month AmeriCorps term restoring riparian vegetation along the magnificent sand-bed rivers of southern Utah. After three years of working seasonal jobs in Colorado and Utah, he moved to Missoula and the University of Montana to complete his master’s degree in Geosciences. At UM, Dave studied the hydrogeomorphic response of mountain streams to severe wildfire in the Western Cascades, Oregon. Through his thesis research, he developed skills in geomorphic and hydrologic surveying, UAS surveying, hydraulic modeling, and geographic information systems. Dave also completed a summer internship with Trout Unlimited, conducting drone surveys and mapping of channel migration and floodplain connectivity in degraded reaches of Ranch Creek in western Montana. This experience solidified his desire to pursue a career in river restoration, which became reality when he joined RDG in 2022.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”