Mary Fales has served as the Program Director for Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed since 2012. The program relies on using online decision tools, innovative financing mechanisms, an expansive public private partnership that engages the agricultural supply chain, education initiatives and behavior change strategies to deliver agricultural conservation where its most needed. Her work has led to several multi-million dollar projects, including the $10M Regional Conservation Partnership Program, focused on targeting agricultural best management practices to the fields that need them most to reduce nutrient and sediment laden runoff and increase groundwater recharge for the benefit of people and nature.
Mary has over 15 years of experience in watershed management in both urban and agricultural landscapes. She has previously worked in environmental consulting, for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water Bureau and for the Macatawa Watershed Project (Holland, MI). Mary previously served as the president of the Michigan Soil and Water Conservation Society and was awarded the 2014 Friend of Conservation Award from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts. She was a participant in the 2015 cohort of The Nature Conservancy’s Science Impact Project and is completing a Soil Health and Nutrients Coda Fellowship for the Midwest Division.
She completed her undergraduate education at Michigan State University, earning one B.S. in Environmental Studies and another in Fisheries and Wildlife. She obtained a M.S. in Biology, with an emphasis in Aquatic Ecology, from Grand Valley State University. Mary lives in Caledonia, Michigan with her husband and three boys and enjoys camping, hiking, gardening and watching her kids play sports.
Kerr, J., Meersman, M., Fuller, E. and Fales, M.K. 2016. Exploring the potential role of public drain managers in motivating agricultural conservation practices. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 42 (6):1386-1394. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0380133016301319)
Fales, M., Dell, R., Herbert, M.E., Sowa, S.P, Asher, J.P., O'Neil, G., Doran, P.J. and Wickerham, B. 2016. Making the leap from science to implementation: Strategic agricultural conservation in Michigan's Saginaw Bay watershed. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 42(6):1372-1385.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0380133016301836)
Eanes, F.R., Bulla, B.R., Ranjan, P., Singh, A.S., Fales, M., Wickerham, B., Doran, P.J. and Prokopy, L.S. 2017. Midwestern US Farmers perceive crop advisers as conduits of information on agricultural conservation practices Environmental Management. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0927-z)