Voice of the River

Meet Three New Task Force Staffers

The Gallatin River Task Force has welcomed three new faces to the office in recent months. Brandy Moses Straub, Ryan Newcomb, and Valerie Bednarski bring diverse experiences and perspectives to our small, but dedicated team. We invite you to learn more about our river’s new stewards.

Brandy Moses Straub

Conservation Project Manager
I’m so excited for the opportunity to make a direct, lasting, and positive impact on the future of our local waters.

Brandy Moses Straub hails from the banks of Yellowstone River, where she says a childhood spent fishing nearby waters inspired her first connection to rivers. After starting a career, she and her husband, Pat, returned to his childhood home in Gallatin Valley to raise a family. The couple purchased the fly fishing shop, Gallatin River Guides, in 2012. For Straub, her position with the Task Force represents a return to her roots in watershed conservation after fourteen years working for a multinational environmental firm. She envisions the Task Force as a leader for collaborative water management that allows for both growth and river protection in Big Sky.

Ryan Newcomb

Director of Development
Our potential, with the enthusiastic backing of the community and work of the entire Task Force team and board, truly is endless.

From childhood canoe trips on Texas waterways to runs along the banks of the Potomac, Ryan Newcomb has always been in awe of rivers. Newcomb, a former White House intern, and then staffer, spent the past decade working in nonprofit development in Washington, DC sustaining work for causes such as mental health and affordable housing. After receiving a job with the Task Force, he and his partner, Dustin, drove west in search of drier air, outdoor adventures, and wildlife. In his new role, Newcomb will expand financial support and local partnerships to ensure the Gallatin River remains pristine, cold, and clear for generations to come.

Valerie Bednarski

Big Sky Watershed Corps member
In my first two weeks, I have felt inspired by the way the Task Force seems to help shape Big Sky.

Valerie Bednarski ventured from the ocean of Southern California to the mountains of Montana to serve as the 2019 Big Sky Watershed Corps member. Her diverse, oceanographic research experiences include studying hormones in dolphin blubber to determine pregnancy, investigating the effects of climate change on seas slugs, and exploring the impact of boat noise on fish behavior. Most recently, Bednarski worked for the Clos Du Bois winery in Sonoma County sampling fresh-pressed grape juice on its journey to becoming wine. She hopes to take full advantage of the extensive professional development offered by the AmeriCorps program to jump start her career.


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