About The Office of the Engineer

The Office of the Water Engineer is directed by the Board and is tasked with developing and implementing procedures to issue, change, and enforce  water rights on the Flathead Reservation.

meet the staff:

Ethan Mace - Water Engineer

(406) 201-2532

In October of 2022 the Board chose Ethan Mace to serve as the Water Engineer.  Before working for the Board, Ethan spent 15 years as a senior hydrologist with the Montana DNRC’s Water Resources Division, where he provided water right and water management expertise and helped to negotiate and implement federal and Tribal water right compacts. He also served as an ecologist and biologist for the US Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station where he specialized in stream morphology, riparian ecology, and dendrochronology.  Ethan has a history and still enjoys designing and executing prescriptive management treatments for upland and riparian forests. Ethan has served federal and private wildland fire operations as an engine boss, resource advisor, fire researcher, advanced faller, initial attack smoke chaser, and prescribed fire enthusiast. Early career years found him conducting fish population surveys through a snorkel and living in waders as a stream surveyor on the Lolo National Forest.  He is thankful to have worked on a wide array of forest, riparian, steam, and fisheries habitat improvement projects and to have helped inform and manage water uses that include irrigation, stock, DCMI, wetlands, and instream flow.  Ethan’s formal education included mathematics at the Colorado College and natural resources at the University of Montana, where he earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology with an aquatic emphasis and an M.S.  in Resource Conservation with an emphasis on riparian ecology. 

James Frakes - Water Resource Specialist (II)

(406) 201-2532, EXT 102

James Frakes began working for the Office of the Engineer in October 2022 as a Water Conservation Specialist and was promoted to a hydrology position in 2023. He received his B.S. in Aquatic Wildlife Biology and his M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Montana, Missoula. He is also a cofounder of a non-profit organization, The Salmonfly Project.



Cristy Brooks - Water Resource Specialist (I)

(406) 201-2532, EXT 101

Cristy Brooks is a long time resident of the Flathead Reservation, moving here from Washington in 2006. In the summer of 2022, she joined the Office of the Engineer of the Flathead Reservation Water Management Board as the Compliance Technician/Administrative Assistant. Cristy has a background in Business and Administration, Personnel, Benefits, Accounting, Finance Management, Payroll, Contract and Grant Management and Compliance.

Kathleen Schubert - Water Resource Specialist (III)

(406) 201-2532, EXT 105

Kathy Schubert began working for the Office of the Engineer in February 2024 as a Water Conservation Specialist III.  She took a month’s respite in Costa Rica after retiring from a 20+ year career with the DNRC as a Water Resource Specialist.  She has a degree in Surveying and Engineering from Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville NC and has completed courses at UM Helena-College of Technology in Hydrologic Measurements, ARC GIS mapping and Water Resources.    Throughout her career she has worked for Surveying and Engineering firms, a Marine Construction Company with experience in marine infrastructure and dredging.  Kathy loves the outdoors and enjoys 4-wheeling, camping and don’t forget quilting. 

Sidney Palmer - Water Resource Specialist (II)

(406) 201-2532, EXT 104

Sidney Palmer began working for the Office of the Engineer in April of 2024 as a Water Resource Specialist. Raised in Challis, Idaho, she got her B.S. in Environmental Policy at Boise State University. She then went to work for a molybdenum mine and the Idaho Department of Water Resources before joining the Office of the Engineer. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Natural Resource Management with the Salish Kootenai College. She is also working with a Boise State University research team to determine the benefits of opening a master’s degree program within environmental mining. Sidney was also a competitive epee fencer in college and now enjoys white water rafting, skiing, fly tying and fly fishing.

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