Personnel



Catherine Scarr, 
Owner

Ms. Scarr has a diverse background in education. She administers PlanTierra’s business. Languages: English, French, Spanish.

Education: B.A. in Linguistics (U.C. Davis) and M.S. in Instructional Research & Design (Purdue University). 






John Dickey, Owner; Principal Soil Scientist & Agronomist

Dr. Dickey brings 30 years of experience in environmental science consulting in the western United States, as well as in agricultural research, extension, production, and consulting in California, Indiana, Burkina Faso, and China. Dr. Dickey provides soils, agronomic, irrigation and drainage, water quality, and regulatory analysis and advice to agricultural and non-agricultural land and water managers. His technical proficiencies include assisting parties with planning and development of functional air and water quality regulatory requirements and programs, stabilization of large, arid land surfaces, modeling root zone processes (hydrologic, salt, and nutrient balance; ecological relationships), reuse and land application of solid and liquid wastes (municipal, animal, food processing, landfill leachate, fertilizer production), bio/phytoremediation of contaminated soils, land and watershed management, non-point source pollution control, water quality evaluation, cropping systems analysis, irrigated and rainfed agriculture, on-farm, as well as district- and basin-level salt and trace element management, irrigation, drainage, reclamation, return flow management, trace element mobility and bioaccumulation, rice production, soil ecology, soil stabilization/conservation/reclamation, water conservation, and site evaluation. He has also provided formal and on-the-job training in crop production, cropping systems, and research planning, research data management, and statistical analysis. Dr. Dickey is fluent in English and French, and also speaks Mooré, the language of the Mossi of Burkina Faso. Dr. Dickey's resume is available here. 

Education: B.S. in International Agricultural Development, M.S. in Agronomy (both U.C. Davis), and Ph.D. in Soil Science (Purdue University).
Registrations: Certified Professional Soil Scientist – American Registry of Certified Professionals in Agronomy, Crops and Soils (#03223).



Jim Richards,
Specialist in Plant Ecophysiology, Plant Stress Physiology, and Desert Ecosystem Dynamics

Dr. Richards has conducted basic and applied research on the interaction of plant root systems and vadose zone hydrology in desert, semi-arid, and riparian systems since 1987, and on research supporting vegetation applications to dust control at Owens Lake since 1991. This work established the plant physiological basis for limits of tolerance of salinity, boron toxicity, water stress, seed production and dispersal, seedling growth and establishment, and nutritional limits to plant growth in the Owens Basin and other desert environments.

Among his more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, thirty-nine demonstrate and quantify the multiple limitations to growth of saltgrass and desert shrubs in the Owens and Mono Basins. In addition to research activities, Dr. Richards serves as a Professor of Plant Nutritional Ecology at University of California Davis, where since 1990 he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in plant nutrition, plant stress physiology, plant ecophysiology, and plant-soil interactions.  At Utah State University, from 1981-1990, Dr. Richards conducted research in Great Basin and Chihuahuan Deserts and taught classes in plant stress physiology and worldwide savanna ecosystems. Dr. Richard's resume is available here.






Andrea Schmid, Specialist in Environmental Planning and Compliance

Ms. Schmid brings more than ten years of experience in regulatory support and negotiation, concise environmental analysis and documentation (pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act), environmental permitting (including local, state, and federal agencies), and water resources planning. She works closely with clients, regulators, and team members to develop practical and cost-effective solutions to a variety of natural resource issues.

Her expertise also includes
 clear, concise documentation and effective translation of complex technical concepts to non-technical audiences, including stakeholder outreach, public outreach, and political briefings. 
As a Soil Conservationist, Ms. Schmid also provided technical assistance to landowners with the development and implementation of conservation practices and programs. Ms. Schmid's resume is available here. 

Education: B.S. in Horticulture and M.S. in Natural Resource Ecology and Management (both Iowa State University).




Mary Hall, Specialist in Environmental Communications and Outreach

Ms. Hall has more than 20 years of experience transforming highly complex, technical environmental information into compelling and understandable communications for diverse audiences including local residents, elected officials, regulatory agencies, and community and advocacy organizations. Through active listening to and working with clients and their stakeholders, Ms. Hall has designed and implemented effective, outcome-driven communications and engagement programs (incorporating a broad spectrum of tools and techniques) for soil and groundwater cleanup programs, water resource planning initiatives, and engineering projects.  Her expertise also includes grant writing, technical documentation, and editing.

Education:  B.A. in Communication and Psychology (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) and M.S. in Wildlife Biology with a concentration in Environmental Education (Colorado State University).





Photo: Ryan Byrnes
Ryan Byrnes
, Soil Scientist & Agronomist

Mr. Byrnes has over 10 years of environmental health scientific and project management experience. As a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis, he conducted research to evaluate alternative irrigation strategies impact on nitrogen cycling in California alfalfa systems. Mr. Byrnes was awarded a fellowship by the United States Agency of International Development to collaborate with the Center for International Tropical Agriculture in Cali, Colombia to conduct a research project on nitrogen cycling in tropical cattle pasture systems. Ryan has also had the opportunity to work with UC Davis faculty and state agencies to draft an update to the Agriculture and Working Lands of the scoping plant for California Assembly Bill 32, in which he served as the lead author. Mr. Byrnes has extensive experience in project management and scientific experimental design and analysis, as well with communicating his results to broader audiences at scientific conferences and stakeholder meetings. Prior to his graduate education at Davis he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Africa where he worked with small-holder farmers in reforestation, environmental education and soil and water management trainings. Along with his duties as a Soil Scientist with PlanTierra, Mr. Byrnes currently supports the University of California Rangelands Laboratory as a researcher where he is currently conducting a global meta-analysis to determine grazing impacts on soil nutrient cycling.

Education: B.A. in International Security and Conflict Resolution (San Diego State University) and M.S. in International Agricultural Development (University of California, Davis)


Mary Reed,
Administrative Assistant

In addition to decades of administrative experience, Ms. Reed has extensive experience developing databases and spreadsheets, as well as with wordsmithing, graphic layout, and website design and management.

Education: B.A. from California State University, Chico, in Parks and Resources Management