Environmental Group Staff

Lucas M. Watkins

Principal Environmental Scientist

Mr. Watkins is a biologist and regulatory compliance specialist with extensive experience identifying and addressing environmental compliance issues. His experience covers numerous sectors of the environmental industry including wetland delineations, wetland permitting, coastal use permits, Section 10 and 404 permits, environmental assessments, Phase I ESAs, endangered species surveys, timber and forestry management, and mitigation issues. Also, he has experience in permitting municipal infrastructure, levees, borrow pits, oil and gas exploration, production, and transmission activities, as well as working on other public and private sector environmental related issues. He received his BS in Forest Management from Louisiana State University and a MS in Biology (Wetland Ecology) from Southeastern Louisiana University. In addition, he is a licensed arborist, licensed horticulturist, certified prescribed burn manager, and a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator. He recently completed the NHI Course in NEPA evaluation and documentation.

James M. Prather III

Environmental Scientist

Mr. Prather is a regulatory compliance specialist with almost 10 years of experience specializing in mitigation, wetland determinations, and permitting as required by the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Section 404 Clean Water Act. He has experience in using AutoCAD and ArcGIS in the process of completing various projects. Mr. Prather has received numerous certifications from various schools and agencies to perform Phase I ESAs and wetland delineations. He is also FERC certified. He received his bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and has participated in projects such as the permitting of bypass and toll roads, large-scale residential developments, and governmental infrastructure expansion projects. Mr. Prather is thoroughly familiar with the regulations and regulatory process of numerous governing agencies, as he deals with the various agencies on a daily basis. Some of these governing agencies include the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, United States Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Louisiana State Lands Office.

Ronald J. Ventola

Director of Regulatory Services, M.E.

Mr. Ventola has over thirty years of experience in environmental regulation and management. He was the Chief of the Regulatory Branch, New Orleans District, US Army Corps of Engineers for over twenty-five years. While with the Corps of Engineers, he served as a key member of the Field Review Group that advises the Environmental Laboratory of ERDC on various environmental and regulatory issues and topics. Mr. Ventola also participated in Headquarters task forces and work groups related to regulatory and environmental matters. At ELOS, Mr. Ventola has served as the principal advisor to the technical staff as related to regulatory matters. He has developed strategies to resolve issues with state and federal regulatory agencies and has assisted technical staff in addressing issues raised by these agencies. He has extensive contacts in the regulatory and environmental communities and speaks at professional meetings on regulatory or environmental topics. Mr. Ventola received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University and his Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University.

Fred Anthamatten

Regulatory Specialist/Environmental Scientist

Mr. Anthamatten received his BS – Oceanographic Technology (Biology), Lamar University, 1976. He spent his professional career serving the public from 1977-2013 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Galveston District. Fred’s experience includes working as a field biologist performing investigations along the Texas coast, performing jurisdictional determinations of Section 404 regulated waters, as Chief of the Enforcement Section, Policy Analysis Section, and the last 7 years of his career as the Regulatory Branch Chief. Prior to his retirement in 2013, Fred managed many complex issues and permit actions, and was instrumental in developing and implementing critical program policies and changes in program regulations for the District. He received numerous awards for his dedication and quality work in managing several projects and various aspects of the Galveston District regulatory which influenced national policy. Recognitions include: Commendations from the Assistant Secretary of the Army and the Corps of Engineers Headquarters, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Texas Attorney’s General’s Office, and Texas Land Commissioner; Special Commendation, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District, 1997; Coastal America Partnership Award, 1999; numerous Commanders’ Awards from Chief of Engineers, Deputy Chief/Commanding General, Division Commander, and District Commander. In addition, he received the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals Regulator of the Year 2009; District Outstanding Media Award 2009; Employee of the Year, Galveston District, in 1993 and 2009; United States Coast Guard Patriotic Employer Award, 2009 and 2013;. Supervisor of the Year, Galveston District, 2011; Superior Civilian Service Award, 2013; and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal 2013. Publications include: Co-author of Successful restoration of filled wetlands at four locations along the Texas coast (Journal of the Society of Wetland Scientists, 1981). Co-author of Wetland delineating by means of tide gauge, South Padre Island, Texas (Proceedings of Wetlands Engineering and River Restoration, American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, 1998).

Rocky Hinds

Regulatory Specialist/Environmental Scientist

Mr. Hinds has more than twenty-five years’ experience in evaluating and monitoring wetland impacts caused by development projects. For sixteen years he managed the Permits and Mitigation Program for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Coastal Management Division. While at DNR, he wrote the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Management Strategy and oversaw the development of the Louisiana Statewide Wetlands Conservation and Management Strategy and a state strategy for the assumption of Section 404 permitting in Louisiana. He has certifications from the Corps and LSU in wetland delineation. Mr. Hinds holds a BS in Zoology from Montana State University and an MS in Physiology from LSU.

Brian Fortson

Senior Environmental Scientist

Mr. Fortson has nearly 25 years’ experience in Federal, State, and Local environmental regulatory processes involved with road, bridge, and drainage civil works infrastructure. Beginning with the initial Parish efforts at developing a local coastal program in 1988, Mr. Fortson acted as Local Coastal Program Administrator under the St. Tammany Parish Local Coastal Program (a localized regulatory program administered under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act). As Coastal and Wetland Environmental Resources Manager for St. Tammany Parish Government, Mr. Fortson supervised a staff of three employees responsible for all field investigations, enforcement and monitoring operations involved with the Parish Local Coastal Program. Performing site inspections, permit evaluations, wetland value assessments, and field verifying wetland delineations were the primary responsibilities in regard to this program. As an employee of the St. Tammany Parish Department of Engineering between 1996 and 2013, Mr. Fortson was called upon to review road, bridge and drainage infrastructure projects at the initial level and provide regulatory guidance in the project planning phases of development to ensure environmental compliance. During construction, Mr. Fortson was also expected to conduct frequent field inspections of Parish and private construction projects to monitor environmental compliance. Where and when permits were required, Mr. Fortson supervised the collection of field data, preparation and submittal of wetland determination requests, permit application preparation, and permit negotiations (value assessments, mitigation negotiations, and impact minimization) for most Department of Engineering and Department of Public Works infrastructure efforts. Mr. Fortson’s role at St. Tammany has been primarily to coordinate permitting St. Tammany Parish’s infrastructure improvements, either in house, or through the use of outside consulting firms. He has experience in Corps Section 10 and Section 404 permitting, Coastal Zone Management Act requirements, Water Quality Certifications, U.S. Coast Guard Bridge Permits, and State of Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers Act permitting.

John Johnston III

Senior Geologist

Mr. Johnston holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in geological sciences from the University of Southern California and the University of Texas and has served as a geologist for Shell Oil Company, Exxon Company, USA, and the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology. He has variously served as part-time faculty and taught petroleum engineering, English, geography, and geology at Louisiana State University (LSU) and geology at the University of Louisiana, and also served as an adjunct full professor. John is the chairman of the Louisiana Stratigraphic Commission and is a past president and past director of the Baton Rouge Geological Society. He joined the Louisiana Geological Survey (LGS) from Exxon as a Senior Research Geologist, was later named Chief Economic Geologist and then Deputy Director, and also served for several years as the acting head of the LGS. His title changed to Assistant Director when the Louisiana Legislature transferred the LGS from DNR to LSU in 1997. He is the author and/or co-author of a number of publications, including the Official Stratigraphic Charts of Louisiana. His areas of expertise are petroleum geology and environmental geology. LGS emergency support teams under John’s leadership, detached from the LGS during critical emergencies to report to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, have been repeatedly commended for their emergency, scientific support, mapping, and search and rescue efforts during and after hurricanes – including Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike – and have been credited with saving lives. John is a Certified Professional Geologist, holds Louisiana Professional Geoscientist License #1, and is the recipient of a Louisiana Governor’s Award for outstanding public service. He was appointed by Governor Jindal to the Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists in 2012 and serves as its vice-chairman. He is also a published fiction and non-fiction author and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and a recipient of SFWA’s Nebula Award.

Flynn Daigle

Project Manager/Environmental Specialist

Mr. Daigle graduated from Louisiana State University in 2005 with a degree in Environmental Management Systems. Since then he has gained extensive experience in many phases of environmental compliance, including National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 10 and 404 permitting, wetland delineations, Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments, Executive Order 11988-Floodplain Management, and much more. He joined ELOS after working for BP where he reviewed claims associated with oiled wetlands affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Along with environmental compliance, he has developed a strong background in safety compliance through the performance of field and safety compliance checks and meetings. He is a Certified Floodplain Manager under the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

Patrick MacDanel

NEPA Specialist/Environmental Scientist

Mr. MacDanel’s experience includes more than 37 years of dealing with environmental issues, involving approximately six years as an environmental chemist serving the oil and gas industry and other industrial clients; seven years as an engineering technician designing and overseeing oil and gas well completion operations, which included the safe handling and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes generated by well production stimulation techniques; one year in hazardous waste recycling (for fuel recovery); and most recently, 24 years in the environmental consulting industry serving governmental and private industry clients. His most significant expertise is in project management of environmental impact documentation required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970, as well as other environmental investigations and planning analyses mandated under various environmental regulations. His NEPA related projects have included governmental actions on the Federal, State and local level, as well as private enterprise actions, where Federal permitting is involved. He has managed the preparation of all levels of NEPA documentation, including Categorical Exclusions (CE or CX), Environmental Assessments (EA), and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). Federal governmental agencies served have included US Army Corps of Engineers (Districts all over the eastern half of the US), US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Coast Guard, US Army, US Air Force, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Federal Communications Commission, US Department of Agriculture, and others. State and local governmental agencies served have included several departments of transportation, departments of public works, departments of environmental quality, departments of natural resources, departments of wildlife management, among others. He has received specialized training in historic properties effects and reporting; pipeline impact assessment, reporting, and management; hazardous materials worker safety; and transportation project impact assessment. He is also a US Navy Vietnam veteran.

Brittany Berthelot

Environmental Scientist

Ms. Berthelot is a graduate of Louisiana State University earning an MS degree in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Wetland Science and Management. She also holds a BS degree in Biological Sciences from Southeastern Louisiana University. While earning her master’s, Brittany served as an intern with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) where she worked with both CPRA and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office (LOSCO) on Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) projects caused by oil pollution. Her master’s thesis, “Impact of Exposure to Weathered Crude Oil and Accumulation of PAHs in Crawfish (Procambarus clarkii)” won the Fujisaki Award for outstanding thesis research in the Department of Environmental Sciences, College of Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University in 2017. Brittany has also completed the 38-Hour Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Training Program. At ELOS, she works to secure permits and authorizations from regulatory agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Jesse McQuigg

Environmental Technician

Mr. McQuigg is an Environmental Technician specializing in AutoCAD. He graduated in May of 2014 with Honors from North Shore Technical Community College, with a degree in Drafting and Design. Mr. McQuigg acquired a position with a local Engineering company as a survey drafter, while completing his degree. During which, Mr. McQuigg expanded his knowledge within the Civil/Surveying field. He is a motivated person gaining extensive knowledge in Environmental Consulting at an extremely fast pace.

Jacqueline Zarate

Office Manager

Ms. Zarate is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University earning a BS in Accounting. Ms. Zarate organizes and supervises all of the administrative activities that facilitate the smooth running of ELOS’s office. Ms. Zarate has four years of experience in administration from the United States Army where she was a Human Resources Specialist. Ms. Zarate is responsible for managing payroll, recording office expenditures, managing budgets, preparing invoices for services rendered, collecting on accounts, communicating with customers via phone, email, or fax and much more.