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Downeast Salmon Federation


People have been living, working and fishing in and around the waters of Downeast Maine for centuries.  Today we are proud to help caretake that legacy.

Tora Johnson


George Leinbaugh

Karen Svenson


Vice President

Tora Johnson has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Oregon and an M.Phil. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy at the University of Maine.


Since 1996, she has taught marine, environmental, and geographic information systems (GIS) at the college level. She teaches GIS and environmental studies at the University of Maine at Machias and serves as the director of the GIS Laboratory and Service Center.


Tora was the principal investigator for a statewide GIS education initiative in GIS education involving nine colleges and universities.

George has always been interested in ecology, dating from the beginnings of the modern environmental movement in 1970. After retiring from the military he settled his family in Downeast Maine, which afforded him the opportunity to volunteer his time over the last fifteen years to the conservation effort of the Atlantic salmon.


Toward this effort he has held the position of President of the Narraguagus Watershed Council and served as past Board President of the Downeast Salmon Federation. In his off time he enjoys fly fishing, kayaking, hunting, and snowshoeing.

William Otto


William Otto is an analytical chemist with a very strong focus on the environment.  He is interested in environmental monitoring with a focus on the Downeast rivers that are home to the endangered Atlantic Salmon. 


He also has a strong interest in energy, working with students to identify green features to be incorporated into new buildings at the University of Maine at Machias.  He has also developed a greenhouse gas inventory for the university.

Joseph Robbins

Sunrise Realty, real estate appraisals and sales; semi-retired.  Joe is an avid sports fisherman and has been involved with DSF since it was established in 1982.


Joe has actively served on the Board of Directors and been a proponent of the DSF mission for over 30 years. 


He was raised Downeast and spends time both here and near Augusta with his wife Gretchen.

Don Sprangers

Alan 'Chubba' Kane

Alan “Chubba” Kane of Gouldsboro, Maine is a retired marine engineer. His career at sea was heightened by opportunities to work on a variety of merchant vessels including tankers, bulkers, freighters, and containerships. His travels took him to ports all over the world, with one voyage including a circumnavigation. A career ending accident and injuries moved him ashore, and back home to Downeast Maine.


It also opened up the chance to devote more time to his passion for water-related activities. His work with the Narraguagus Watershed Council led him to the Downeast Salmon Federation. Having served on their board as president, he also served on the board of the Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation as their president.  


He is also a member of the Union Salmon Association board of directors.  DSF is an active affiliate of the MCASF, and Chubba used his position to champion and advocate their missions.  His voice and efforts have enhanced fisheries restoration and conservation in Maine, especially for the Downeast region. He has helped promote the East Machias Aquatic Research Center (EMARC), which now houses the Peter Grey Salmon Hatchery. Chubba enjoys sailing, canoeing, boating of all types, fishing, and hanging out at camp.

After a career as a Research Scientist studying the genetics of metabolic diseases and promoting the mouse as a model system for understanding and treating human disease, Karen now nurtures her passion for the richness of Maine’s natural resources; enjoying, sustaining, preserving and promoting the environmental health of its interdependent ecosystems. Joining the Board of Directors for DSF has rekindled her interest in fly fishing and inspired a new dedication to understanding and treating environmental issues facing Maine’s land and waters today. Karen loves hiking, paddling, swimming and camping, and making maple syrup. She moved to Maine from California in 1994, and is happy to claim Maine ancestry on her mother’s side. Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a PhD in Medical Genetics from the University Medical College, Groningen, The Netherlands. She was a leader in research and education at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine for 28 years.

Mike Look

A lifetime Down Easter, Mike graduated from Washington Academy in 1971 and UMM in 1975. He taught math/science and coached in local high schools for 27 years. He retired from teaching in 2003 and now raises 160 acres of wild blueberries.


Mike has been involved in conservation for many years. He founded and was president of the Washington County Conservation Association. He is currently the president of the Down East branch of The Quality Deer Management Association. He has been the chairman of the East Machias school committee for ten years and has been on the DSF board for eight years.


Mike also loves to hunt deer and rabbits, and fish and hike. Active politically, Mike has made many trips to Augusta to testify on education and conservation issues.

Gerry Zegers

Don Sprangers was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin and moved to East Machias, Maine in 1990. Don is a secondary science educator with 33 years of teaching experience; serving students at Washington Academy in East Machias, Maine since 1992.  Don is the recipient of the 2002 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching sponsored by the National Science Foundation. 


He was also honored in 2007 by The Conservation Fund with the International Paper Environmental Educator of the Year Award.  Don has good organizational skills that serve the efforts of DSF with collaborative partnerships and educational programs, including the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Schools Network. 


Don has been a board member since 1995, has served as the president and vice-president of DSF, and currently is the treasurer of the Maine Council Atlantic Salmon Federation.  In years past, Don served on the education working group to the Atlantic Salmon Recovery Plan. 


In his leisure, Don enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, and woodworking.

Joseph Horn

It was through teaching canoeing over a decade ago that Joe first realized the tremendous power of outdoor education to immerse and captivate students in the content of their lessons. Since this early realization,


Joe has studied natural history and education from California to Maine, Missouri to Wyoming, and many places in between. Joe graduated from Unity College in Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology.


He also earned his Master’s of Business Administration in Sustainability and Master’s of Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education at Antioch University New England

Gerry is an associate professor of biology at the University of Maine at Machias where he teaches a variety of biology and recreation courses.  By training, Gerry is a conservation geneticist. 


He serves the DSF as the Downeast Rivers Land Trust Committee Chair and has held positions on the executive board as President and Vice-President.

In his spare time, Gerry enjoys hunting and fishing. He tries to get out on our local rivers as often as he can.  When he can’t get outdoors he pursues his interests in traditional boat making and craftsmanship.

Serena Evans

Stephen Wagner

Jill Brookbanks

Al Eggleston

Advisory Board

Al Eggleston is a member of the Union Salmon Association, serving on the DSF as a liaison.  Hatchery work on the Union River was a primary USA program. 


He and his wife are 50-year residents of Ellsworth and have two daughters who are true Downeasters.


His experience as an engineering geologist with the Maine DOT is an asset in reviewing many DSF projects. This includes waterway restoration projects and the Union River Dam relicensing in Ellsworth.

Greg Gilka

Advisory Board

Greg Gilka is a carpenter who lives in Machias, Maine with his wife, Suzanne. He is a graduate of the University of Maine Machias and his favorable hobby is target shooting. Greg represents Pleasant River Fish and Game on the DSF Board. He has a strong interest in environmental issues and in promoting productive relationships among sports, business, and conservation concerns in rural Maine.

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