Q&A with Dave Pfuhler, Environmental ScientistAugust 29, 2023
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Dave Pfuhler, Environmental Scientist for The Freshwater Trust, to ask him a few questions about his work. Dave has a wide range of experience as a consulting biologist and research technician. He holds a Masters of Science in Lake Management from SUNY College at Oneonta and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Natural Resources from SUNY Binghamton University.
In two sentences, tell us what you do at The Freshwater Trust.
At the Freshwater Trust, most of my work focuses on developing resilience strategies within the Cosumnes River Watershed. This takes many forms, such as applying for grants to help plan and implement projects throughout the watershed, serving in county and regional flood and drought taskforces, and coordinating partners across the watershed to align data resources around watershed resilience targets.
What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now?
The most important thing that I am working on is building the connection of project outcomes to shared resilience targets in the Cosumnes Watershed. This can then allow us to match funding sources to multiple desired outcomes in a more cohesive manner. It has been exciting to be a part of this project as it can become a new mechanism to build greater resilience in the face of climate change across the landscape in a more efficient manner.
What’s something that’s happening at the organization right now that you are very excited about?
The Harvest Water project is such an exciting program that helps build resilience against drought within our local agricultural community while keeping a focus on the conservation of a multitude of species, and it’s close to my own home here in Sacramento. While supporting some of the activities in this program, I have been able to meet with and learn from some incredibly knowledgeable local and regional professionals. The amount of support from the local community is an amazing thing to see and a testament to the hard work that the team has put in. I am looking forward to watching the project continue.
“Always keep an open mind and try to learn from everyone around you.”
What do you love about working for The Freshwater Trust?
I love that I am constantly learning and am challenged to think creatively. Whether it is in building coalitions, providing technical support, or conducting research, my work has been expansive across many different areas, which has allowed me to learn so much and pull on the threads of interesting ideas.
Last book you read or movie you watched?
The last book that I read was The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, the first part of a fantasy series that I am reading with some friends in our “nerd” book club. It is a great story following many different characters with some amazing world building and storytelling. I am currently reading The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green, which reviews different parts of our lives and modern experiences on a five-star scale.
I think the last movie I saw was either Werewolves Within, a fun, campy kind of horror movie that was made recently and features Sam Richardson, who is fantastic in every comedy he does, or the Barbie movie, which was just great in every way. I can’t remember which it was, but I recommend both!
Last place you traveled?
My last traveling experience was a two-week road trip with my wife Amanda and our dog Freyja to Northern Michigan to see dear friends of ours. We got to see some family and friends along the way and explore a bunch of state parks across the Midwest. Besides the friends and family, one of my favorite parts of the trip was to visit the National Grasslands in South Dakota, a truly vast and beautiful part of the country.
A quote you live by?
“Do a Good Turn Daily.” It’s the Boy Scout motto and some good advice.
Also, not a quote, but this bit of wisdom from Bill Watterson, the creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, has always stuck with me:
“If you could wish for anything, what would it be? A big sunny field to be in…”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I hope to be a bit better at disc golf and to have finally gotten around to reading The Silmarillion.
What’s the number one piece of advice you have for someone trying to get into this field?
Always check for ticks! On a more serious note, always keep an open mind and try to learn from everyone around you.