Our Team


Aneesha Dieu- District Manager

Aneesha is originally from Pasco and moved to Dayton about 12 years ago. While she was growing up her mom worked in a plant nursery, which she was captivated by. She loved learning about plants, how they grow, and what it takes to make them strong and healthy. In her own words, “I love being outdoors and appreciating what God gave us to help us live our own healthy lives”. This passion for the natural world helped her decide to pursue and attain a degree in Ecosystems Sciences, and has since put her degree to work with the Columbia Conservation District. One of the things she enjoys most about working at the district is being able to help educate others about the natural world. “Knowing that not everyone knows that it takes to keep Earth healthy brought me to conservation, so educating communities about what it takes is very important to me”. When Aneesha isn’t at work she enjoys camping, hiking, snowboarding/ skiing, gardening, wood crafting, animal hobby farming, sports, and coaching / being involved with community youth groups.

Not many people know this, but Aneesha grew up showing malamutes and dog sledding the the Pacific Northwest. At one point intime her family owned 22 dogs and have had many others over the years.

Work Cell Phone: (509) 629-4333

Office: (509) 382-4273 Ext 4

Kayla Peterson- Soil and Water Coordinator

Kayla grew up with a very close-knit family in Weston, Oregon. She spent a lot of time gardening with her grandma when she was younger, as well as exploring the mountains and countryside with her grandpa. These experiences sparked her interest in agriculture and soil health. She would go on to study Agricultural Systems at Walla Walla Community College and graduated with a Bachelors Degree with honors. In her free time she enjoys snowboarding, backpacking, rafting, and baking. She also enjoys relaxing days and finding a good book to read.
One fun fact about Kayla is that she was a raft guide on the Deschutes River for one summer!

Work Cell Phone: (509) 629-0212

Ben Kleist- Technology and Monitoring Coordinator

Ben is originally from Rochester, Minnesota. Some of his earliest memories are of spending days playing in streams, exploring forests, and stomping through prairies. As he grew up his interests in the outdoors and conservation guided him to study Environmental Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. During that time he was able to expand his knowledge and world view by attending Kings College in Aberdeen, Scotland. He spends his free time by snowboarding and teaching snowboarding lessons, playing guitar, mountain biking, and eating absurd amounts of ice cream.

A fun fact about Ben is that he learned how to ice skate at 2 years old, and began playing hockey at 3.

Work Cell Phone: (509) 629-1927


Lance Horning- Water Resources Engineer

Lance has been instrumental in the successes of many district projects from afar. He is originally from and still resides in Corvallis, Oregon. Lance was raised on a family farm, an upbringing that shaped his future career as an engineer. He saw from an early age issues that farmers are faced with, and he wanted to work towards finding solutions. He studied engineering at Washington State University, earning a bachelors and masters degree in the process. Upon graduation, Lance jumped into working at several conservation districts, and over 20 years later he is still hard at work. During his down time, Lance enjoys getting outdoors to do some hunting, occasionally fishing, hiking, and camping. He also devotes plenty of time to has family and “chases his kids around”. If you are near the Tucannon or Touchet Rivers in Columbia County, you may just get lucky and see him tromping around the streams in his preferred aquatic attire, Wrangler Jeans.

Valerie Turner

Program Manager

Office 509-382-4273 Ext 3


Early on