Staff Profiles

Dwayne Shaw, Executive Director

dwayne-headshotDwayne Shaw is Executive Director of the Downeast Salmon Federation, where he has led the development of the Federation’s fisheries and land conservation programs since 1989, beginning with the removal of the Pleasant River dam and the renovation of the facility as a hatchery and fisheries research center in Columbia Falls. In 2000 he led the removal of the East Machias River dam and received the National Coastal America Partnership Award from President George W. Bush. The East Machias site is now home to DSF’s Peter Gray Hatchery for the restoration of Atlantic salmon.

Dwayne holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies / Fisheries Concentration from University of Maine, Machias (1984). Dwayne has conducted research at UM Darling Marine Center and was employed as a Manager and Research Director at the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery for ten years. Dwayne also served as a fisheries biologist in the U.S. Peace Corps in Nepal. Dwayne has served on numerous fisheries boards and advisory committees including the ME Sea Grant Public Advisory Committee and the Federal Recovery Team for Endangered Atlantic Salmon.  Dwayne has held certifications as a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain and ME Licensed Master Guide.
(M) 207-598-8474

Russell Heath, Associate Director

Heath Headshot

Before he arrived at the Downeast Salmon Federation, Russell Heath was executive director of the Alaska Environmental Lobby where he derailed a number of really bad bills, including a plan to auction off huge chunks of Alaska state forests to logging companies. He also led the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council protecting the majestic old-growth coastal forests. He has worked as a systems analyst and has a Masters in English—so he brings both an analytical rigor and a touch of storytelling to his grant writing. Home is a drafty wood-heated cabin on the Maine coast.
(Office) 207-483-4336   (M) 207-598-7016

Tracy Shaw, Office Manager

Tracy and her family reside happily in Cherryfield. Tracy joined the DSF team part-time in 2002 as the Membership Coordinator having over fifteen years of experience with the State of Maine and Town of Falmouth, Massachusetts retirement systems. Tracy’s responsibilities with DSF have grown and she currently serves the organization as the full-time Office Manager. Tracy’s original interests were based with the land trust aspects of the organization, however, her employment and learning experiences have led to a deep appreciation of wild Atlantic Salmon and the Downeast fisheries.


Tanya Rucosky, Director for Habitat Restoration & Land Trust Programs

Tanya comes to Downeast Salmon Federation after running a multi-state citizen science program in Australia focused on water quality, riparian revegetation, invasive fish management, and iconic (platypus) monitoring. There, she was instrumental in creating the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach — a cooperative working group which included two states, three shires, a major industry and a half dozen NGOs that has made major habitat improvements on 90 miles of the Upper Murray-Darling River System. Here in Maine, Tanya has worked for the Downeast Lakes Land Trust as a Communications and Education Manager, and as Sunrise County Economic Council’s Natural Resource Program Manager.  Before moving to Maine, Tanya worked as a librarian in Washington D.C. and Taiwan, a park ranger and organic farm manager in Pennsylvania as well as been a project manager in South East Asia focused on HIV/AIDS Harm Reduction and Landmine Removal.

Tanya is deeply committed to restoring the connections people have to the landscapes in which they live.  She believes it is only through these connections that both our ecosystems and our own spirits remain healthy, vibrant and strong.

Office: 207-255-0676

Brett Ciccotelli, Fisheries Biologist

Brett PhotoBrett grew up not far from the muddy banks of a small tidal river.  Brett attended the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and found himself drawn to the watersheds of Eastern Maine. Between the banks of these rivers he became a whitewater kayaker and learned about the culture and ecology of the region. After graduating with a degree in Human Ecology in 2009 he traveled to river communities in Northern Canada, Italy, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Costa Rica. In these places, he saw how deeply tied people are to their rivers and fisheries. He returned to Maine after a few more meanders and has spent the last several years co-managing an organic farm on Mount Desert Island and teaching part-time at the Bay School in Blue Hill.  He is thrilled to be a part of DSF and to be serving as the organization’s ambassador for such an ecologically and culturally important fish — the alewife.

Sarah Madronal, Fisheries Biologist and Regional Organizer

Sarah Madronal joined the DSF team in May of 2017. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Policy from Colby College in 2014, which is where her love and fascination with sea-run fish began. Since that time, she has worked as a Law Clerk for the Environmental Law Division of a general practice law firm in the Hudson Valley of New York and most recently as the Fisheries Associate at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, formerly Penobscot East Resource Center, and Downeast Fisheries Partnership.

Zach Sheller, Hatchery Manager

Zach Sheller joined the DSF team in May of 2014. Zach earned his Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from The University of Maine, Machias in 2006. Since that time he has done a variety of jobs including Atlantic salmon restoration work, work as a fisheries technician at sea, endangered species observing, and sea turtle conservation work along with various other managerial jobs in the metal recycling industry. These various jobs have taken him all along the east coast from the Key of Biscayne in Florida to Downeast Maine. These past years of operating within the Peter Gray Parr Project (PGPP) have allowed him to not only raise salmon to restore the rivers but participate in the assessment of the PGPP in the rivers. Tasks including electrofishing, smolt trapping, habitat restoration, egg planting, and redd counting to name a few.
(M) 717-422-6847

Michelle Wright, Bookkeeper

Michelle Wright joined DSF in January as our new bookkeeper.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maine at Machias and over 20 years of bookkeeping experience.  She resides in Addison and enjoys camping and boating with her family.

Ed Walsh, Development Director

Ed is an active Registered Maine Guide and owner of Maine Stream Guides, Inc. He is a member of The Maine Professional Guides Association and the Maine Wilderness Guides Organization. He is also is a licensed Merchant Marine Chief Engineer, a Retired Naval Officer and has a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering from Maine Maritime Academy. Ed lives on the Pleasant River in Columbia Falls with his wife Susan. They have four children and seven grandchildren.


Mitch Monini, Peter Gray Parr Project Technician

      Mitch earned his Bachelor of Technology in Fisheries and Aquaculture from the State University of New York at Cobleskill in 2017. During his time at SUNY Cobleskill, he learned how to rear brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout, and arctic char hybrid. In the winter of 2016, he studied abroad in the Peruvian Amazon studying local fish and wildlife. He worked for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, rearing Chinook Salmon for 2 years. During his time with the IDFG, he helped release over 3 million Chinook Salmon into the South Fork of the Salmon River. He has always had a love for fishing and the outdoors, trying to do what he can for the others who have the same passion that he does.

Alex earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with a concentration in fisheries from Paul Smiths College in 2019. Alex worked with Project Share during the 2019 field season right here in Downeast Maine. There he assisted in salmon habitat rehabilitation along the Narraguagus River, to increasing spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon. He also assisted Ernie Atkinson, Marine Scientist II at the DMR Jonesboro office with electrofishing assessments of an egg planting habitat quality project. This consisted of electrofishing for young of the year salmon in the Machias, Narraguagus, and Pleasant River watersheds. With this data, they could determine the fry dispersal rates, or put another way, how far the young salmon had moved from the redd (nest). Alex has a passion for being outdoors, taking full advantage of what nature has to offer. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and hiking.