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Meet Our Staff

Image of Erin Kilcullen

Erin Kilcullen

General Manager

Erin serves as head of the management team of the Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). She provides leadership for financial, personnel, program planning, education and outreach, and conservation project management and implementation.  

Erin has a BA in Environmental Geology and a MS in Natural Resources with a focus in Restoration Ecology.  Erin moved to Bend in 2015 from Breckenridge, CO.  She has worked with the US Forest Service in the Deschutes National Forest in the wildlife department and performed her thesis with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council analyzing available habitat for Steelhead and Chinook Salmon in Whychus Creek.  Erin is passionate about rivers, wildlife, watershed management, and collaborating with several agencies to address natural resource concerns in central Oregon.

Contact Me About: Funding for projects that address conservation concerns on your land, new project ideas, education and outreach opportunities, and any other questions about how the Soil and Water and Conservation district can assist you. 

Phone: 541-923-4358 ext. 3190 or
Cell: 541-550-6834


Image of Todd M. Peplin

Todd M. Peplin

Programs lead/planner

Todd provides conservation planning and technical assistance to private land owners and land managers to help them incorporate sound conservation practices that will address their natural resource issues on their property. 

Todd has a bachelors degree in Soil Sciences with a minor in Agricultural Sciences from Montana State University. He retired from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) with 30 years of experience where he co-published the Warm Springs Soil Survey, worked as a District Conservationist managing Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson Counties along with conservation efforts on The Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and was the Farm Bill Specialist for NRCS Oregon, where he managed several federal grant and financial assistance programs. 

Contact Me About:  Conservation planning on your farm, irrigation water management and practice design, pasture management, forest health and fire prevention, noxious weed management, and conservation and community partnerships.

Phone: 541-923-4358 Ext. 3190 or​


Image of Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett

Conservation Technician

Tom grew up on a small farm in Niagara County NY.  He has a BS in Ag. Technology from Cornell Univ. College of Agriculture.  He has been an Oregonian since 1980.  He spent 38 years helping Oregon land users conserve their land, soil and water working for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service from Hood River through Moro, Heppner, Condon and finally retiring here in Deschutes county.  While here, he worked with irrigators and irrigation districts with financial and technical assistance to help conserve precious water.  He worked with farmers to promote soil health, conservation, and local food. He worked with small forest owners on forest health and fire risk reduction.   

Contact Me About: Irrigation Water Management, On Farm improvements, and financial assistance with irrigation and energy efficiency projects. 

Phone: 541-626-8590 or


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Jena Thomas

Programs & Operations Coordinator

Jena acts as the programs and operations coordinator for Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). She supports the district manager with program planning, education and outreach, marketing  and grant management. 

Jena has a BA in Environmental Science and GIS from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Originally hailing from Colorado, Jena has been living in Bend since 2022, and feels passsionate about supporting the communities, residents and natural resources of The District.  

Contact Me About: Education and outreach opportunities, marketing inquiries, community partnerships, or questions regarding our programs

Phone: 303-596-2325 or