Micah Russell

Micah Russell

Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability


B.S., Pacific University, Environmental Biology, 2002
B.A., Pacific University, Piano Performance, 2002
M.S., Louisiana State University, Oceanography and Coastal Science, 2005
Ph.D., University of Idaho, Water Resources, 2020


Micah Russell is a teacher and naturalist, with expertise in watershed management and restoration. He hails from the Pacific Northwest, having lived and worked primarily in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. His work and thirst for adventure has taken him to several other states and abroad. He is passionate about his family, music, and recreating outside.

How did you discover Western?

My aunt graduated from Western. In general, I’d hoped to return to Colorado to be near my extended family and the places I’ve always loved to recreate (including the Gunnison valley).

What are some of the highlights of your career?

I directed a Council of Governments designing and implementing large river and wetland restoration projects in the Lower Columbia River (Oregon and Washington). Later I taught marine and environmental sciences for Southwest Florida State College. More recently, I completed a Water Resources Ph.D. from University of Idaho, utilizing NASA and National Science Foundation fellowships (and remote sensing tools) to study snow hydrology and the effects of intensifying droughts on seasonal wetlands.

What most excites you about your field?

I get excited about collaborating with public lands agencies and private landowners to restore ecosystem services across large landscapes — particularly water resources. Furthermore, I’m passionate about mentoring students interested in pursuing careers in public lands management. I strive to ensure they have the project management and interpersonal skills they will need to make an impact right away.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

The friendliness and down-to-earth quality of its residents. That and the unlimited trails to explore! I enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing, and paddling.