MSAC Board & Staff

Pierre, South Dakota, city officials took the lead in forming MSAC, which was formally incorporated on June 8, 2001. On July 3, 2001 the Pierre Capital Journal reported then Mayor Gray Drewes’ explanation.

“locally, one of the reasons we’re doing this is we see the buyouts (in southeast Pierre and Fort Pierre) as being a temporary fix. We need to get sedimentation removed to see normal power generation, to see normal flood control, to see normal domestic water use and to continue recreation that was created with the development of the dams.”

Mayor Gary Drewes, July 3, 2001

Today MSAC’s office is located in Yankton, with a mailing address in Springfield, South Dakota. The 501c3 has an 8-member volunteer board with representatives from its four classes of members. Board of Director member terms are 3 years and members are eligible to serve multiple terms. Officers are elected annually. Members serve through the end of the year indicated and until the annual meeting the following year.

Mary Hurd

Board of Director Members
Mary Hurd, rural Wagner, South Dakota – Vice President (term expires 2025)
Mary Hurd is a founding member of the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition. She and her husband, Rick, sell farm equipment and are farmer-landowners along the Missouri River in southeast South Dakota. They also operate a vacation rental property overlooking the Missouri River along the Lewis & Clark Trail in southern Charles Mix County, SD. Mary has a BA in journalism from Mount Marty (’79) and has worked as an agricultural journalist and freelance writer for more than 40 years.

Each year MSAC hosts an Annual Membership Meeting which is open to the public. It typically is held in May. Cities, counties, tribes, water development districts, natural resource districts, organizations, businesses and individuals are welcome to join MSAC See the Join MSAC page for a membership form. Contact for more information.

Butch Becker

Butch Becker, Yankton, South Dakota – Secretary/Treasurer (term expires 2024)
Butch Becker grew up and around Lewis and Clark Lake behind Gavins Point Dam, which is situated between the states of Nebraska and South Dakota. Butch resides in Yankton and is a retired forensic insurance and engineering specialist.

Kersten Johnson

Kersten Johnson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota – (term expires 2026)
Kersten Johnson serves as a government relations liaison for Missouri River Energy Services where she leads and supports collaborative efforts to help inform the development of public policy impacting municipal electric utilities and the consumers they serve.  Before joining Missouri River Energy Services, Kersten’s career path included several years with the State of South Dakota as well as at the University of South Dakota.  She holds an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from USD and earned her MBA at the University of Sioux Falls.

Living in Pierre for many years, Kersten developed a love for the Missouri River that continues today.  Whenever she has the opportunity, Kersten enjoys taking advantage of the beauty, relaxation, and recreational opportunities the Missouri River provides.

Alan Wittmuss

Alan Wittmuss, Vermillion, South Dakota – (term expires 2026)

Alan Wittmuss is the Assessment Team Leader for Watershed Protection Program, which is part of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (SDDANR).  He has both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis on Aquatic Ecology from the University of South Dakota.

As an environmental scientist, Alan has worked in lake and stream watershed assessments for over 30 years focusing on surface water quality monitoring and total maximum daily load (TMDL) development.  The SDDANR Watershed Protection group works to assess, improve, restore, and maintain the health of South Dakota waters by providing local government bodies, natural resource management agencies, and the general public with information, funding, and technical assistance for watershed assessment and restoration projects.

Randy Holmquist

Randy Holmquist, Mitchell, South Dakota – (term expires 2024)
Randy Holmquist grew up on a ranch near the White River south of Reliance South Dakota.  He has witnessed the devastating flooding on his land caused by the buildup of sediment in the Missouri River at the mouth of the White River.  Although most of the sediment carried by tributaries to the Missouri River are natural occurrences, landowners can use regenerative land management to reduce the erosion of sediment.  As a Certified Educator of Holistic Management, Randy has promoted regenerative soil health practices to educate producers on the management of farmland and grasslands.  Healthy soils capture precipitation that prevents runoff into streams and rivers.  Randy believes that MSAC plays a vital role in educating and finding solutions to extending the life of our reservoirs on the Missouri River.

Paul Lepisto

Paul Lepisto, Pierre, South Dakota – (term expires 2025)
Paul Lepisto works for the Izaak Walton League of America in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa on issues affecting the Missouri River and our natural resources. Lepisto is a charter member of the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC). MRRIC provides guidance to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on river habitat recovery efforts.

Lepisto helps organize Missouri River clean-ups in several communities that remove tons of trash annually. He also works to raise public awareness to the issues facing the river and conservation. Lepisto is concerned about how sediment is impacting people’s ability to use and enjoy the river, he hopes long-term solutions can be implemented. A lifelong hunter and angler, Lepisto is passionate about the outdoors. He and his wife, Donna Leslie, live in Pierre.

Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson, Yankton, South Dakota – (term expires 2024)
Nathan Johnson grew up on a dairy farm in rural Bloomfield, Nebraska, that has been in his family for more than a century. He worked for more than a decade as a reporter at the Yankton Press & Dakotan, and is currently a communications and public relations partner for Avera Health. Nathan serves on the Yankton (SD) City Commission, and spent three years as mayor. He has been an advocate for the sustainability of the Missouri River and the ongoing development and success of the Missouri National Recreational River. Nathan is honored to work with the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition and its many stakeholders to preserve our reservoirs for future generations.

Alisha Bartling

Alisha J. Bartling, Santee, Nebraska – (term expires 2025)
Alisha serves as the Environmental Director for the Santee Sioux Nation (SSN) and is a lifelong resident of Knox County.  Alisha grew up south of Niobrara, Nebraska, and graduated from Verdigre, Nebraska.  She received a degree in Communications from Wayne State College in 1999. In 2013, she began working for the SSN in non-point source management and transitioned into the director position in 2014.  Currently, she and her husband Tim reside in Verdigre and have 2 grown children, Blake and Alexis.

“For years people have depended on the Missouri River to provide transportation, food, and recreation.  With the high amount of sedimentation, we are losing such an important resource for our future generations.  After spending the past 11 years working for the Santee Sioux Nation, protecting our water has become a top priority.  When asked to be a voice for the Santee Sioux Nation and local area by serving on the MSAC Board of Directors, I did not hesitate.  I look forward to the opportunity to work with others with like-minded concerns,” said Alisha after her recent appointment in 2023.

Scott Kostal

Scott L. Kostal, Executive Director
Kostal was born and raised in Springfield, South Dakota, growing up just blocks away from the Missouri River. From an early age, countless hours were spent fishing on the banks of the river. After graduating from Bon Homme High School in 1988, Scott entered the U.S. Army, completing Basic Training and Airborne school at Fort Benning, GA. He was then assigned as infantry paratrooper to the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. During his enlistment he participated in combat operations in Panama in 1989 (Operation Just Cause) and the Mid-East in 1990/91 (Operation Desert Shield/Storm).

He returned to South Dakota and joined the South Dakota Army National Guard. He earned an undergraduate degree in Physics and a master’s degree in Mathematics, both from the University of South Dakota. Beginning in the fall of 2001 he began working in various full-time capacities with the South Dakota National Guard, to include two federal mobilizations. In 2003, he was deployed to Iraq as the intelligence non-commissioned officer with the 153rd Engineer Battalion and in 2010 spent nine months as the garrison sergeant major of Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Upon his return from Afghanistan in 2011, Scott immediately spent two months on state active duty with the South Dakota National Guard in their support to the community of Dakota Dunes, SD during the historic Missouri River flood. In early 2013 he returned to federal active duty. With over 31 years in uniform, he retired from the service in December of 2019, having achieved the rank of Sergeant Major.

In May of 2022, Scott was sworn in as the mayor of his hometown, Springfield, SD. In November of 2022 he was hired as the Executive Director of the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition, bringing together two of the most important things in his life, his hometown and the Missouri River.

Sandy Stockholm, Communications Coordinator

Sandy Stockholm

Sandy has been intrigued by the ability of people to come together and spark change. This interest led her to study journalism and political science at South Dakota State University (BA/’95). While a local government daily newspaper reporter for the Brookings Register in the mid 1990s, Sandy developed a deeper appreciation of community involvement and went to the University of South Dakota to study public administration (MPA/’99). Sandy fell in love with the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Lake immediately after calling Springfield, South Dakota, home in 2000 when working as the community development coordinator. Sandy has taken on the educator role in a variety of settings including the past 12 years as an instructional designer and eLearning administrator with Avera Education & Staffing Solutions of Yankton. Sandy has worked with MSAC since 2002. Knowing the extreme changes outside Springfield in Lewis and Clark Lake, Sandy wants others to know what the future holds if the public and agencies do not address accumulating sediment in the Missouri River reservoirs.