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NRCS Employees

New Employee Jose Rodriguez 2017

Welcome José Rodríguez!

Hello my name is José Rodríguez, and I am the new soil conservationist of the Fallon Service Center.

I am originally from Puerto Rico, and I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with an agronomy degree. As a student, I started as an Earth Team Volunteer in Puerto Rico. Then I got selected a few years later as a pathways student in Hillsdale, Michigan, where I worked a summer and then 6 months with NRCS Puerto Rico while finishing my senior year. I was converted to a full time employee on September 2016 in Michigan and this fall I decided to escape the cold Michigan winter, and that brought me all the way to Fallon, NV.

I am really happy to be here and have the opportunity to learn and work on new things on the west side of the US.

Pictured: Jose in the warm Michigan weather.


Leah Mori Winnemucca Career Fair 2017

Winnemucca Career Fair 2017





Winnemucca had a packed house for their career fair, with more than 450 middle and high schoolers. Leah Mori and Heather Emmons, along with Marilyn Jones from FSA, held down a booth to assist students in learning about career paths with USDA NRCS and FSA.

Deb Koziol  Winnemucca Career Fair 2017



Thanks to State Wildlife Biologist Deb Koziol's creativity, kids (big and little) were drawn to the NRCS booth featuring a diorama at the TROUT-tober-FEST event last Saturday, Oct. 31.




Nevada State Conservationist Ray DotsonRay Dotson, NRCS State Conservationist for Nevada

Ray Dotson has served as State Conservationist for Nevada USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) since August 10, 2015.

Dotson oversees the agency’s employees and programs throughout Nevada. NRCS provides technical and program assistance to thousands of farmers and landowners on voluntary projects to conserve and protect natural resources. He is responsible for the agency’s multi-million dollar budget in Nevada, including federal conservation financial assistance to the state’s farmers and producers.

“It’s an honor for me to serve as Nevada’s State Conservationist,” said Dotson.

A native of Port Gibson, Mississippi, Dotson developed close ties to the land by laboring on his grandfather’s farrow/finish operation. During his formative years, he learned lifelong skills of perseverance, dedication, and tenacity.

Prior to his position in Nevada, he was Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations in Arizona and in Montana as Acting State Conservationist where he oversaw operations and fiscal accountability within the state.  With NRCS experience working in the Southeast, Midwest, and West regions, he broadened his agricultural scope and his ability to carry out the agency’s mission by working with producers and partners to get more conservation on the ground.

“Having a positive, trusting relationships with customers and colleagues is the foundation for successful conservation,” said Dotson.

Dotson graduated from Alcorn State University with a B.S. in agricultural sciences. In college, Dotson played basketball on a full athletic scholarship and was introduced to NRCS. He began working with NRCS as an intern, which led to his career with the agency.

Julie Malvitz is Nevada NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships.Reno NRCS State Office welcomed Julie Malvitz on Oct. 11, 2016 as Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships.

Julie previously served as the Assistant State Conservationist of Field Operations for USDA/NRCS in Great Falls, MT.  She oversaw field operations of 18 Counties and three Tribal Nations and managed 82 employees.

 Julie began her Federal Career after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a BS and MS in Natural Resource Management. She began her career with the National Park Service in Yellowstone as a biologist and naturalist.  Julie has worked in NRCS as a Soil Conservation Technician, Soil Conservationist, District Conservationist and Assistant State Conservationist,  in the States of WI, CO, ND, MN and MT.   Julie also worked at USDA/NRCS National Headquarters in Washington D.C. as the Organic Program Manager.

Julie is originally from Green Bay, WI, Go Pack!   She loves to travel and discover new places and is excited to be part of the NRCS NV team!

Reno NRCS State Office welcomed James “Jim” Komar, new State Soil Scientist, from Red Bluff, CA, who started his new role on Nov. 14th. His 28 Jim Komar is Nevada NRCS State Soil Scientistyears with NRCS were in California in a variety of roles. Jim is a results-oriented person, passionate about helping clients effectively manage their soil resource to maximize conservation and production goals.  “it’s a privilege and honor to be selected for this position, given the rich history and stature of the people who preceded me”, says Jim. 

Recognizing how much there is to learn, Jim looks forward to working with the conservation professionals across Nevada as he gets oriented to his new state and role.

Deb Koziol began working as the Nevada State Biologist in Reno this past November after working as an Area Biologist in the southern Idaho NRCS Area Office for the past eight years. Deb also previously worked for NRCS in western Colorado and for five years as a Fisheries Habitat Program Manager for a Soil and Water Conservation District in northern Idaho.

Working in a variety of places ranging from the Iowa flat lands to the Oregon mountains and from the Arizona desert to the Alaska tundra provided Deb with knowledge and experience of a wide diversity of fish and wildlife habitats. She also gained experience working with several conservation partners, including Burea of Land Management in Nevada, U.S. Forst Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corp of Engineer,  as well as for state and county departments. She completed college at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

Christopher Bernau, manager of the Great Basin Plant Materials CenterChristopher Bernau started as the new Manager of the Great Basin Plant Materials Center as of Oct. 2, 2016. Christopher was hired as Rangeland Management Specialist for Nevada NRCS in January. He served as the acting Plant Materials Center (PMC) manager and then was hired at the beginning of the fiscal year. Christopher is excited about this new position and looks forward to working with everyone. 
There’s a lot of plant materials and technology that can be explored.  At the moment they are focusing on developing a Poa secunda, the national cover crop trial, a cereal rye seeding rate demonstration, and evaluating the survival of 40 commercially available bunch grasses. The intent is to publish technical notes and provide trainings which are interesting and relevant to the field offices.  The future is really an open book, but it will be directed by the needs and resource concerns of the field offices. He would like to evaluate various restoration technologies that have been in the literature recently, such as the “black fingers of death” bacteria, seed coatings, mycorrhizal fungi, herbicides like Indaziflam, etc.  He would like to conduct those studies here at the PMC, and with replications across Nevada near each field office. Stay tuned to hear more about PMC activities that will benefit NRCS employees and producers!