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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Laurie Zeller & friends

CD Bureau Chief Laurie Zeller




Phone: 406-444-6669


Karl Christians

CD Specialist Karl Christians

Karl started working for the DNRC in 1989 for a short stint in the water rights division in Havre. Shortly after that, he went back to the family farm/ranch in central Montana. While that venture didn’t work out, he re-joined the DNRC in the Floodplain Management Program. For 16 years he was the state floodplain coordinator.  During this time he founded the Association of Montana Floodplain Managers (AMFM) and was the Executive Director for 6 years.He was instrumental on national policies which lead to the development of the FEMA Map Modernization Program, as well as develop a state program that was recognized across the nation for its ability to work with locals to achieve success in floodplain management. 

Looking for new challenges, he joined the Conservation Districts Bureau (CDB) in 2006. Here he is able to bring his B.S. in Agricultural Business, agricultural background, business experience and his working with local, state and federal government experience to assist conservation districts across the state. In this position, Karl provides training of all aspects to conservation districts, project development assistance, everyday district operation questions and challenges, as well as assists supervisors in addressing natural resource concerns.

 Karl currently has a cattle and irrigated hay/grain operation in the East Helena valley. When he isn’t working on the ranch, he enjoys hunting, fishing and boating, and spending time with his family. He is currently the President of the Lewis & Clark Farm Bureau, and the Chair of the CTE Committee for the new East Helena High School. Karl has been married to Raelynn for 31 years and have three grown children.



Phone: 406-444-3022


Mary Hendrix

CD Specialist Mary Hendrix




Phone: 406-444-4253


Linda Brander

Oral History Program Manager and CDB Grant Administrator Linda Brander

Linda Brander has a Masters Degree in Public Administration. She has worked for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) for eleven years.  Prior to that she was employed the Montana Department of Commerce where she managed the Small Business Innovation Program, that helped small businesses secure funding and develop a commercialization plan for their research and innovations.

Linda manages DNRC’s 223, mini-education, and district development grant programs, coordinates educational and outreach activities and directs some of the Conservation District Bureau’s publicity programs that feature the conservation commitments of farmers and ranchers.

She also produced the book, Montana Women From the Ground Up, Passionate Voice in Agriculture and Land Management which has sold more than 2500 copies.


Email: l

Phone: 406-444-0520


Jason Garber

Stream Permitting Coordinator Jason Garber

Originally from Big Horn Wyoming, Jason has been living and working in Montana since 2015.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in Natural Resources form Utah State University. 

Jason transitioned to DNRC from DEQ where he was the Clean Water Act Section 401 Coordinator and 318 Coordinator. Jason has 20 years of experience working in cultural and natural resource fields and has worked closely with regulatory agencies and the public on stream permitting throughout the State of Montana. 

He enjoys trail running, skiing, gardening and making functional pottery.



Phone: 406-444-4340


Duane Claypool

Water Reservations Specialist Duane Claypool

Duane provides technical, administrative and policy assistance to Conservation Districts in all aspects of water reservations. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis in water resources from Montana State University, Bozeman and an associate’s degree in Agribusiness from Montana State University, Northern. He is certified through The Irrigation Association as an irrigation system designer.

Duane lives in Miles City with his wife and has two children, Anna who holds a master’s degree in Psychology and is a counselor with Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and Bryan who holds a bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering and works for a consulting firm in Minnesota.




Phone: 406-232-6359