NYCAFS Presidential Candidate Biographies




Joseph Cassone

I work as a Fisheries and Environmental Scientist at HDR based out of White Plains, NY.

I have experience in diadromous fish passage, fish community sampling, telemetry, impact assessment, GIS, and data science. I have worked on a wide range of fisheries projects ranging from the monitoring of acoustic tagged sturgeon in the Hudson River, assessing the impacts to fisheries resources of large scale infrastructure projects such as bridges and offshore wind, “designing” and installing upstream eel passage structures, baseline fish community surveys, and the operation of a municipal fishway with a dedicated group of community volunteers.

My graduate research at the University of Sacred Heart in Connecticut examined the migratory movements of silver eels in a system of drinking water reservoirs using radio telemetry and evaluated operational changes aimed at increasing downstream passage. I completed my bachelors at the University of Connecticut where I studied Natural Resources and the environment with a concentration in fisheries and wildlife conservation. During my time at the

I have always enjoyed learning new skills and sharing them with co-workers and my extended network; this is an outlook I would carry with me while serving as president. Some of my recent interests and projects have included a pilot study evaluating the use of an Adaptive Resolution Sonar Imaging (ARIS) system to monitor runs of salmonids into Lake Ontario tributaries. Use of R and specifically ggplot to develop code to automate the generation of Essential Fish Habitat maps by species and life stage.

Although I haven’t held any committee or officer positions within AFS since my undergrad days at UCONN where I served two terms as president of the UCONN student subunit, I’ve been an active participant of local and national AFS meetings. In 2018 at the Atlantic City National Meeting, I organized a successful 2day symposium on Applied Sturgeon Science. It was a tremendously gratifying experience to interact with researchers and scientists from across the country.

I also served as chair of HDR’s National Fisheries Science Practice Group for two years. This practice group connects our fisheries professionals from across the entire country and allows us to share our expertise and develop great relationships despite our geographical distance. Some of our practice group initiatives have included monthly technical webinars with internal and external presenters, securing journal access, monthly literature review, and sharing of coding/data analysis tools. Building an internal and external network of fisheries professionals has been one of the highlights of my professional and academic careers and is an aspect of serving as president I would truly appreciate.

As your president, I will strive to build upon the great successes of past presidents and promote more opportunities to gather and learn from each other across the state. Specifically:

  • I will leverage the widespread availability of video conferencing software to facilitate attendance at technical workshops and chapter meetings. I would plan to organize monthly technical webinars using these platforms to allow our members to share their expertise and connect with each other on a regular basis. While the pandemic has made it difficult to physically gather, it has given us the tools to connect more easily and affordably than ever before.
  • I would like to continue to build upon Dan Stitch’s great work making incredibly powerful R tools accessible and understandable to members. These skills allow professionals to make the most of their time and budgets by making data tasks efficient and repeatable. A support system through the NY AFS chapter would be a great asset to students and professionals learning and sharing these valuable skills.
  • As a former leader of an AFS student sub unit, I remember the impression that fisheries professionals made on our membership during guest lectures and tours. I also remember the challenges of arranging these events while still building a fisheries network. I would encourage our membership to have direct engagement with student sub-units and offer to provide a guest lecture or mentoring experience.
  • I would support ongoing efforts such as the Women in Fisheries program and others that continue to make NY AFS the inclusive organization that it is.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to run for President and hope to become part of the leadership of this special fisheries community.


Joe Cassone

Lisa Holst

Hi, I’m Lisa Holst and I work for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation in the Bureau of Fisheries. I have a Bachelors Degree in Marine Biology but have worked in various aspects of ecology and policy for my entire career. I have been the chair of the chapter’s Native Fish Committee for several years and belong to the Women in Fisheries subcommittee. I am passionate about improving science communication, both between scientists and the public, but also between scientific disciplines.


As Chapter President I hope to move our chapter forward in supporting our members in tangible ways with career development opportunities and guiding us to be an even better community to support much needed diversity in fisheries as a profession.