Seth Shanahan

Seth lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he serves as the Colorado River Programs Manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. His primary motivation in becoming an ambassador for CSO was rooted in his interest in developing better decision support tools for understanding the effects of climate change on the water resources of the public water system in Kyle Canyon (a small mountain town in the Spring Mountains).

Seth’s passion is snow-covered mountains and particularly those with slope angles between about 35 and 50 degrees! His background in snow science started while serving as a ski patroller at his local ski area. He began by collecting and reporting snow, weather, and avalanche observations as part of a avalanche risk management program which he is now responsible for. His formal training comes from completing National Avalanche School and Professional Avalanche Training (Pro 1). He also has experience measuring snow at SNOTEL sites and snow courses as a snow surveyor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Since 2001, he has been a volunteer first responder with the Lee Canyon Ski Patrol near Mt. Charleston, Nevada, and since 2013 he has held avalanche risk management duties. In addition to his snow science career, Seth is a certified Senior Ecologist with the Ecological Society of America. After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, Athens, him and his wife moved to Las Vegas where he earned his graduate degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He volunteers on the Board of the Grassroot Girls, a nonprofit organization that empower young girls to advocate for healthier livers, stronger communities, and a sustainable planet and he has two daughters in the local public school system (Clark County School District). Seth says that, every day he tries to remind himself “how lucky I am’.

What is community science? Why join CSO?

To Seth, community science is a pathway for empowering an individual’s curiosities and passions. He says [community science] “means finding shared interests and building relationships between people.” Seth points out that it is important to be empathic and kind to others. He encourages people to join together to help generate better knowledge, safer travel practices, stronger communities, and better resource management — in fact, this summer Seth rolled out what he calls the “Spring Mountains Avalanche Observer Program” and he held a training session for backcountry skiing enthusiasts on how to use the Mountain Hub app to report snow depth and avalanche observations.  This fall, he provided this training for the local Weather Service office and emergency service department for the town of Kyle Canyon.