Research Partners and Consultants:

Peter W. Fong was the leader of the 2018 Baikal Headwaters Expedition, a first-ever journey from the uppermost reaches of Mongolia’s Delgermörön River to Russia’s Lake Baikal (learn more at or on Instagram @2018baikalexpedition). His stories and photographs have appeared in American Angler, Fly Fisherman, Gray’s Sporting Journal, the New York Times, and many other publications. He lives in Tangier, Morocco.

View a slideshow of the 2018 Baikal Headwaters Expedition.


Dr. Betsy Gaines Quammen is an environmental historian, conservationist and writer. She founded and headed The Tributary Fund, an organization that identified religious traditions celebrating wildlife and their habitats, establishing projects in Mongolia, Bhutan and the American west. Betsy worked for the East African Wildlife Society in Kenya, later moving to Montana to focus on grizzly bear conservation, ecosystem protection and grazing issues in the Northern Rockies. She has served on several boards, including the national Sierra Club and the Montana State University Dean’s Council for the College of Letters and Science.

Lanie Galland is a conservation geneticist and avid fly angler working towards her Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Reno. A long time partner of TTF, Lanie and the greater taimen research team have made great strides in taimen genetics across Mongolia, as presented in her talk, “Genotyping by sequencing and analyses of geographic genetic structure to guide conservation of the world’s largest salmonid, Hucho taimen,” for which she has been invited to present at several scientific conferences internationally. She recently returned in late October from the 2018 Lake Baikal Expedition with Peter Fong and others, where she descended 1500 km from the headwaters of the Delgermörön River down to the Selenge River in a drift boat, all the way to Lake Baikal in Russia. During the expedition, Lanie and the expedition team collected thousands of biological samples to help determine the most effective and efficient conservation and management strategies for taimen across riverine ecosystems.

Yellowstone watershed educator Jessica Hanson joined our team of partners in April 2019.  She is a contributing author to the Watershed Warrior Curriculum developed by Chris Pavlovich.  Through her teaching, she has dedicated herself to educating youth on their native culture through place-based education and stewardship of the landscape.  Mirrored in her interest of the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout population and preservation of Native American traditional ways, she has embraced taimen conservation and Mongolian cultural history. Jessica will join our the team as when she co-leads the Watershed Warriors curriculum workshop with Mongolian educators in Hovsgol this summer, where she hopes to catch at least one river wolf.

Susan Higgins has a long background in natural resources management, landscape collaboratives and drought resiliency. She most recently finished eight years of program management with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, The Tributary Fund and The Taimen Fund, where she facilitated research activities, leadership exchanges and species protection planning in Mongolia, Bhutan and Montana. Prior, she was director for water research communications at Montana State University Water Center and a founding member of the Montana Watercourse water education program. She was board member of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Working Group on Religion and Conservation Biology, developing best practices for research scientists engaging with faith and indigenous communities. She now works to connect scientific researchers with rural and Native Montana communities for the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity and Montana INBRE at Montana State University.


Cliff Montagne is director of BioRegions International (, a nonprofit promoting exchange activities leading to research, education and service between rural Mongolia and Montana. BioRegions has worked in Mongolia’s Darkhad Valley for 20 years on environment, education, health, traditional knowledge and sustaining local economies. Cliff is a soil scientist and Emeritus Professor at Montana State University.

Award-winning teacher Chris Pavlovich developed the Watershed Warrior curriculum for her fifth-grade class at Livingston, Montana’s East Side Elementary School in 2009. This unique curriculum continues to deliver proven, hands-on, place-based, real-life applications to school subjects while bestowing stewardship of and access to a common thread in the students’ local landscape and culture. This curriculum addresses the Montana Common Core Standards for education and covers math, science, English language arts, writing, speaking and listening, and Indian Education for All standards. As originally developed, the curriculum addresses 66% of 5th grade science standards and the lessons can be easily adapted to other grade standards or regional topics, like taimen conservation and Mongolian cultural history. Mrs. Pavlovich is using her curriculum and the Watershed Warrior Program as a part of her PhD study at Montana State University.