LCI Staff

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James Ehlers, Executive Director
Click here to connect with James on LinkedIn
James has been the Executive Director at LCI for more than a decade. He holds more than 20 years of experience with water quality and conservation issues and has a proven track record of accomplishing challenging tasks.

Favorite thing to do on Lake Champlain
Fish, sail, water ski, take in vitamin D, just looking at it
Favorite Type of Fish or Lake Critter
Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, walleye, wood ducks, and hexagenia mayfly
Favorite Derby or LCI memory or story
Fire alarm pulled during an awards ceremony; lightning blowing up a weigh station scale during FDD
Largest fish caught
Most all are bigger than any Ross has caught
When not protecting Lake Champlain, what are your hobbies
Spending time with my wife, son, and daughter. Moose and deer hunting with friends in big woods. Vegetable and flower gardening. Physics, finance, astronomy, literature, wife’s cooking and baking, music, history, chess, Charlie Brown, beer, and entertaining friends in the Rabbit Hole. Volunteer at food shelf, church, and Meals on Wheels.
Thing people least likely know
Hosted two Iraqi war refugees in my house … racing stock cars is addictive—good thing for my family I was not any good at it.

Eric LaMontagne, Outreach Director
Click here to connect with Eric on LinkedIn
Eric grew up in the Upper Valley region of Vermont where he spent summers and weekends working for his father’s landscaping company. Being raised on the water, it was a natural progression to attend UVM where he received his BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. Eric has worked Natural Resource Instructor for the Green Mountain Conservation Camps and as a Biological Technician for Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Favorite thing to do on Lake Champlain
Being in it, on it, around it, near it. Hiking, fishing, boating, swimming...
Favorite Type of Fish or Lake Critter
Cormorants (HA! Kidding of course) . Gar, wood duck, any aquatic snake, Atlantic salmon. I’ll fish for anything that puts up a fight.
Favorite Derby or LCI memory or story
On a first date, I had a waiter recognize me for my role in the derby. He then sat down in the booth with us, took out his camera, and started showing us pictures of his derby fish. I didn’t get a second date…
Largest fish caught
10.2lb Lake Trout
When not protecting Lake Champlain, what are your hobbies
Playing with the “build your own” feature on car and truck companies’ websites, hunting, taking out my boat (the Dammit), photography, meeting local artists, hiking, and touring Vermont breweries.
Thing people least likely know
I have never lived more than a half mile from a body of water.

Wayne Laroche, Conservation Director
Wayne has 40 years of experience with fish, wildlife and conservation issues. He holds a MSc. in fisheries management and a Bsc. in wildlife management. He has worked extensively as a research biologist and environmental consultant publishing a dozen scientific papers. He was Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife for eight years.

Favorite thing to do on Lake Champlain
Fish, of course.
Favorite Type of Fish or Lake Critter
White perch. They fight hard, taste good and are abundant. They are my very favorite invasive species.
Favorite Derby or LCI memory or story
Dealing with the an angler whose fish was stolen while he slept. Seriously, who steals a fish?
Largest fish caught
I have caught the biggest of many species. Electro-fishing gear works really well!
When not protecting Lake Champlain, what are your hobbies
Hunting deer and moose. Photography, videography, research and writing about fish and wildlife.
Thing people least likely know
The same things that they least knew before they read this.

Elizabeth Ehlers, Business Manager
Elizabeth grew up on the Florida Panhandle, spending days crabbing on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and nights fishing for snook and grouper in the inner bays.
She studied Environmental Science with a focus on Sustainable Development, and completed field projects in the Florida Everglades, Peru, Guatemala, Panama and Nicaragua. Seeking a new adventure after graduation in 2000, she drove to Vermont to spend the summer, and met her now husband while planning a kids fishing derby on Lake Champlain. That 3-month trip has turned into 11 years.

Favorite thing to do on Lake Champlain
Watching our children explore and enjoy the lake, and seeing how excited they get reeling in their first fish.
Favorite Type of Fish or Lake Critter
Tern … love watching them ride the air currents.
Favorite Derby or LCI memory or story
Being 9 months pregnant during the 2008 derby, somehow holding out an extra two weeks and making it through the awards ceremony.
Largest fish caught
31-pound dorado
When not protecting Lake Champlain, what are your hobbies
Cooking, baking, restoring furniture and spending time with family.
Thing people least likely know
Worked as a marine mammal trainer with sea lions and dolphins for 8 years, and volunteered with The Stranding Network to rescue and rehabilitate stranded and injured wildlife.

Cathy Merrill, Let's Go Fishing Administrator
Cathy has been fishing as long as she can remember, and has many fond memories of canoeing and fishing as a child at the family camp on Kettle Pond in Groton.  A native Vermonter, Cathy recently retired from the State of Vermont after 38 years; 30 within the Agency of Natural Resources – the last 20 as executive assistant to seven ANR secretaries, and two Fish & Wildlife Commissioners.  Cathy was hired by LCI to administer the Let’s Go Fishing Program after the contract was awarded to LCI by the Fish & Wildlife Department.
Favorite thing to do on Lake Champlain
Appreciate it by fishing, boating, bird watching, taking pictures, ice skating, ice fishing, watching the sun set, exploring the beaches…
Favorite Type of Fish or Lake Critter
Largemouth bass.
Largest fish caught
5.25 lb. 20” Largemouth.
When not protecting Lake Champlain, what are your hobbies
Fishing, boating, bird watching, photography, knitting, reading, baking, visiting family.
Thing people least likely know
I like to play hockey.