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TRPA Board of Directors Candidates

See below for the candidate profiles for TRPA Board of Directors Check your inbox or mailbox for a ballot to vote for 12 of the 15 candidates running for the Board to govern the TRPA.

Grace Arianoutsos (Dallas) joined the TRPA Board in 2020 as one of the representatives for the North Texas paddling community. She has many years of experience as a Program Manager, successfully leading teams and projects before leaving the corporate environment in 2020 to focus on  Outdoor Education.  “I enjoy sharing my passion for the outdoors by helping to support a safe enjoyment of our Texas waterways by teaching paddling techniques and leading paddle adventures.”  The focus of my recent tenure as Vice President has been to raise awareness of and increase membership of TRPA through communications on the website. I look forward to working with TRPA and continuing to serve the greater community to ensure safe and healthy waterways into the future.”

Bruce Bodson (Missouri City) has over 40 years of environmental experience as a scientist, consultant, attorney and academic.  His consulting/legal practice focuses on riparian habitat protection, water quality, and the environmental impacts of energy development.  He has been involved in the protection of Texas waters and riparian areas for over 20 years.  Bruce has served on the boards of Bayou Land Conservancy, the Christmas Bay Foundation, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, CEC Houston, the Houston Canoe Club, and the Bayou Preservation Association.  He founded and directs Lower Brazos Riverwatch and the associated land trust, the Columbia Bottomlands Conservancy, promoting clean water, riparian habitat protection, and recreational access to the Brazos River and tributaries.  He is a public interest representative on the Brazos BBASC.  Bruce is also adjunct faculty for Texas A&M University at Galveston, where he teaches Environmental Policy, and Environmental Impact Analysis for the Graduate Program in Marine Resource Management.  His Bachelors degree is from the University of Arizona at Tucson, in Fisheries Biology, his Masters is from the University of Texas at Dallas in Environmental Science, and his JD is from South Texas College of Law.  He has also done post doc studies in environmental and energy law at University of Houston Law Center.  Bruce usually spends any spare time on area waters, kayaking, kayak racing, biologizing, birding and helping other people get out and gain an appreciation of this amazing resource.

Robert Brischetto (Lakehills) sociologist, initiator in 2001 of the Medina River Cleanup, trained in river testing and founder of the Medina River Stream Team. “I run again for the TRPA board for three reasons: (1) to continue the work begun by Tom Goynes and others whose lives every day have been devoted to protecting Texas Rivers; (2) to support and expand TRPA’s influence on state enforcement of the rules governing permit provisions in a time of increasing development and pollution of Texas rivers and streams; and (3) to engage paddling and environmental groups throughout the state as active participants in TRPA efforts at river cleanup and protection.

Patti Carothers (Navasota), current secretary for TRPA and site manager for TRPA’s Hidalgo Falls campground on the Brazos River. ACA Kayak & SUP Instructor. Kayak Instructor Trainer, River/Touring, USCA Canoe Instructor Trainer. Former ACA board member, serving as VP and secretary, among several other hats. Long-time interest in San Jacinto and Brazos River watersheds. Representative for recreational water users on the Brazos River – Basin and Bay Area Stakeholder Committee (BBASC). Volunteer paddle instructor for TPWD’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop for 30 yrs, also serving on the board for Friends of BOW. Member of TRPA since 1995.

Nick Dornak (Wimberley) joined the TRPA Board in 2016. Nick is based in San Marcos as the Water Strategies Lead for Doucet and Associates and was the former Director of Watershed Services with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. Nick has served as President of Friends of the Brazos River since 2019. His professional work includes innovative water conservation strategies and community engagement with an emphasis on green infrastructure and One Water policy. Nick continues to work on projects from Big Bend to the Texas Coast and many points in between. Nick loves hunting, fishing, and paddling the rivers of Texas with his three kiddos. Nick lives just off the banks of the Blanco River in Wimberley, TX.

Tom Douglas (Houston) “I have had the good fortune to paddle waters along the three US coasts, and in Canada, Costa Rica, and Scotland, and to receive paddling instruction from world-class instructors at NOC, Otter Bar Lodge Kayak School, and Madawaska Kanu Centre. My training in whitewater rescue has been of benefit on those occasions when I have paddled a safety boat for the Buffalo Bayou Regatta. Currently, I am an ACA instructor for canoeing and kayaking, and Conservation Chair of the Houston Canoe Club, for which I write a monthly Conservation Report. My wife and I have organized and led outings for the Galveston Bay Foundation, Houston Canoe Club, Houston Sierra Club, Artist Boat, church and college groups, and Houston Museum of Natural Science. In addition to picking up trash during our trips, we have participated in many cleanups along rivers and bayous. My river scouting activities have played a key role in identifying areas along Armand Bayou suitable for highly successful wetland restoration/planting and for completing the application for approval of the Cypress Creek Texas Paddling Trail – both of which profited from my study of fluvial geomorphology.  I also authored paddler’s guides to Buffalo Bayou and a cypress swamp in the Lower Trinity River Basin. I have participated in the development of multiple Watershed Protection Plans and TMDL projects. For this, my professional training (Ph.D.) in biomedical science has proven particularly valuable. As a long-time faculty member at the UT Health Science Center, I taught courses in Environmental Health and published peer-reviewed papers on microbial and chemical contaminants in a Houston-area creek. I am currently advocating for updating our Recreational Water Quality Criteria, which are based on 19th century technology, to incorporate modern, DNA-based methods.”

Susan Eda (Houston) has been paddling Texas Rivers since 1968 when she first took Red Cross Basic Canoeing lessons as an 11 year-old Girl Scout.  She immediately fell in love with flowing waters and became a Canoeing and Kayaking Instructor as soon as she was old enough.  She is a founding member of the Spring Woods Girl Scout Canoe Group, which has since morphed into the Spring Woods Canoe Group, a nonprofit volunteer group of previously Red Cross and now American Canoe Association Instructors who provide low-cost paddling instruction in canoeing, kayaking, and swift water rescue skills to youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and community members as well.  She is an ACA River Canoeing Instructor Trainer and an ACA Essentials of River Kayaking Instructor and an ACA Essentials of Kayak Touring Instructor.  She is a Board Member for the Carolina Canoe Club and is a member of the ACA River Canoe and River Kayak Committees. She serves as a Merit Badge Counselor for the Canoeing, Kayaking, and Whitewater Merit Badges for the Scouts BSA program. She is a Section Leader for the San Marcos River and Medina River cleanups and participates in other cleanups as well.  She has attended every one of the Medina River cleanups as a River Section Leader.  She advocates for conservation and protection of both land and water and is a member of many environmental protection groups.  Susan believes that people will value and protect only what they are familiar with, and that to save and preserve our rivers and our wilderness for future generations, we must introduce the current generation to the special places that Texas Rivers can take us. Susan hopes to See You On the River Soon.

John Erskine (Austin) is a die hard water nut and has been paddling and fly fishing on Texas Rivers for more than 40 years. As an Austin resident for the past 30 years he has been involved in local and statewide conservation issues, and has been a strong advocate of water rights, access, and conservation of Texas waterways. In addition to having a background in Environmental Education, John serves as the Board Chair for Cleanup the Colorado and helps to spearhead the LoCo Trash Bash each year. John has previously served as the Board of Chair for the Colorado River Alliance and is a past Board Chair of Austin Youth River Watch.

Tom Goynes (San Marcos) has been paddling canoes and kayaks since 1967. He served as president of the TRPA from 1989 until 2022 when he retired.  He has decided to come out of retirement and serve on he board again. He and his wife, Paula, own a campground and have lived on the San Marcos River since 1972.

Todd Grier (Bryan) fell in love with Texas rivers in college, way later than he should have. Since 2005 Todd has taught paddling, rock climbing, and other skills in various university outdoor programs. In 2021 he returned home to Texas where he enjoys introducing new recreational paddlers to Texas rivers. He aims to inspire independent paddlers who know these rivers provide significantly more than recreation and that all rivers require stewards. Currently Todd is the Program Director for Outdoor Adventures at Texas A&M. He served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Outdoor Recreation ( from 2009-2012, two years as board treasurer. He and his wife hope their 2 boys will grow up loving Texas rivers way sooner than Todd did.

Jim Hatcher (Fort Stockton) Has served on the board of the TRPA for many years. Often represents our interest in the Big Bend area.

Mike McClabb (Martindale)  Martindale city Council Place 4. Elected to city council in May 2018.  I have a BBA degree from Texas State class of 1978. I have been a white water kayaker and canoe racer since the early eighties, also a member of TRPA and SMRF for many years. Have worked with Tom Goynes and TRPA with the state, counties and cities enacting can bans in order to keep trash out of the San Marcos and Comal rivers. Passed the can ban in Martindale on December 2018. What is good for the river is good for Martindale. In 2018 we also converted city owned river bottom lands to parks. As a city council member I have worked with Caldwell and Guadalupe counties with acquiring adjoining properties in our city limits. I have lived in the Martindale area since 1978 and I purchased a house in the city limits in 2008, therefore I am familiar with the area and know many Martindale and area residents for many years. San Marcos is currently experiencing explosive growth and within a short period of time Martindale could experience this type of growth, therefore with my thirty years experience as a project manager in oil and gas projects I have the experience in dealing with developers and contractors. Also currently there are many issues regarding the San Marcos River and these issues must be addressed in order to preserve our beautiful river and town. I have worked with both Caldwell, Guadalupe county judges, and commissioners regarding these issues.

Alexander Neal (Caldwell) joined the TRPA board in 2019. Alexander is a Program Specialist at the Texas Water Resources Institute where he focuses on watershed protection activities and riparian education across the Lone Star State. He received a B.S. in Geography from Texas State University in 2018 with a minor in Nature & Heritage Tourism. Alexander is a wildland- and volunteer firefighter and instructor for the Texas Stream Team. Alexander has worked as a Park Ranger for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and as a tour guide aboard the glass-bottomed boats at the San Marcos Springs. He is an advocate for Wilderness Areas and Wild & Scenic Rivers, and is deeply interested in keeping intact streams & wetlands undisturbed. He also advocates for resolving public access issues including the on-going issue at The Cutoff of the Trinity River.

David Price (Austin) current TRPA President. As president (and Professional Engineer), has forged new coalitions with many other groups regarding wastewater issues. Has been instrumental in some victories on wastewater permitting, has acted on behalf of TRPA in meetings with TCEQ, commissioners, and builders groups, including nutrient limits, and beneficial reuse., pushed for rework of TRPA website, and secured outside funding for this work(mostly led by others ),Otherwise, , Tailor, Soldier, Spy. A serious whitewater  guy, once upon a time. Chaser of floods to kayak. Don Quixote of wastewater permits and river-related stuff.

Joe Rivers (Houston) grew up canoeing the San Marcos and Guadalupe with his father. These early experiences instilled in him deep respect for the rivers and their conservation.  He now shares his love of paddling with his son, Wiley.  He was an ACA kayak and canoe instructor and taught paddling at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina.  Joe is an architect and principal at Rivers Barden Architects.  Their work includes residential and commercial design, and focuses on projects that engage the built environment with the surrounding site.

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