Town fills environmental planner position

By Tom Gresham
Observer staff

Williston did not need to look far to find the newest member of its planning department.

Carrie Saviers Deegan starts work in early September as the town’s new environmental planner, replacing Lara DuMond, who vacated the post in July to attend graduate school.

Deegan currently works in Williston for the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District. A large part of her work is implementing water quality and stormwater grants in Chittenden County, and she has previously collaborated with Town Planner Lee Nellis on projects in Williston.

Nellis said the town received several strong candidates for the position, but Deegan’s resume stood out.

“She has a lot of great experience working with land conservation and a lot of great experience working in stormwater issues,” Nellis said. “She’s very bright, very personable and she had fantastic references.”
In addition, Nellis said, “the fact that she worked right here in Williston and was familiar with the town didn’t hurt.”

Deegan, a Richmond resident, has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Colgate University and a master’s degree in resources management and environmental studies from the University of British Columbia. She has worked at the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District since October of last year.

Previously, Deegan served as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Vermont for two years, teaching Introductory biology, botany, animal behavior and biodiversity. She was also a research supervisor for Green Street Scientific LLC in Forest Hills, N.Y., from 2001 to 2004.

Deegan volunteered extensively for the Nature Conservancy of Vermont between 2001 and 2003, earning the volunteer of the year award for the large number of hours she contributed at the organization’s preserves.

Other work-related experience included working as a project assistant on a project to catalogue and map mosses and liverworts of Vermont, as a biologist/bid coordinator at a New York company dealing with government contracts, as a research technician at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and as wetland technician/reimbursement coordinator for a Massachusetts business.

Deegan said she was impressed with the diversity of the ongoing projects in Williston. She mentioned the Sucker Brook restoration project, a recent wildlife habitat inventory, the town’s efforts to protect open space and the burgeoning trail network as particularly interesting topics to her.

“It’s a great next career step for me,” Deegan said. “I’m excited to get involved in some of the projects that are going on in Williston right now.”

Nellis said Deegan’s experience working on stormwater issues would be particularly valuable in her new post. She agreed, saying stormwater was “a huge deal for Vermont.”

In her current job, Deegan has been working on a rain garden at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. The garden, which is set in a depression, is designed to collect stormwater.

The environmental planner position was expanded from a 30-hour-a-week job to a 40-hour-a-week job on July 1. Among Deegan’s responsibilities will be grant writing and serving as a staff liaison for the Conservation Commission.