Board & Staff

Eagle River Watershed Council was incorporated in 2004, following the recommendations of the Eagle River Watershed Plan, which Eagle County had adopted after a three-year public process with over 100 local citizens working with municipal and county staff. It recommends that a citizen’s group be formally established to implement and monitor the plan. A number of groups and individuals committed to the health of the Eagle River formed the basic starting committee system from which Eagle River Watershed Council emerged

 

Today, the Watershed Council is an organization committed to its mission through staff work, which is overseen by an engaged board of directors. If you wish to learn more about what membership on the board of directors means, or to attend a meeting, please contact info@erwc.org.

Board of Directors

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Tom Allender

Tom Allender

President

Tom Allender likes to fish, kayak, raft, paddle board, ski and golf. Now retired, he was Senior Director of Mountain Planning at Vail Resorts and worked with SE Group. Tom has experience serving as a board member of Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority, Eagle Park Reservoir Company, and Clinton Ditch and Reservoir Company.

Gary Brooks

Gary Brooks

Director

Coming soon!

Rose Delles

Rose Delles

Director

Rose Delles is a Senior Manager at Walking Mountains Science Center. She has worked for a variety of nonprofits, foundations and outdoor education centers throughout Washington and Montana. Happy to be settled in her home state of Colorado you can find her fly fishing, hiking in the high alpine, skiing with friends or adventuring with her pup.

Jessica DiToro

Jessica DiToro

Director

Born and raised in Vermont, Jessica moved to Colorado in 2013 to pursue her graduate degree in environmental engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. After graduating she began working at LRE Water. At LRE, Jessica manages projects that encompass a broad range of topics related to environmental compliance and permitting including Colorado Water Quality Control Commission rulemaking hearings, wastewater treatment discharge permits, National Environmental Policy Act, CERCLA (superfund), 303(d) Listings, water quality sampling and data analysis, and water supply resource planning. Jessica and her partner moved to the Town of Eagle in 2020, where she works remotely when not commuting to the LRE office in Glenwood Springs. Jessica is an avid hiker, backcountry and alpine skier, biker, CrossFitter, reader, and dog mom.

Claudia Bryan

Claudia Bryan

Director

Claudia Bryan moved to the United States from Argentina in 1997 and opened The Boardroom, a skateboard and snowboard shop in Avon, with her husband. From 2003-2008, this gave them the opportunity to help young kids and local athletes pursue adventure in the outdoors. The Colorado and Eagle rivers have been very important to her as she loves to paddle board, fly fish and raft during the summer.

Bret Hooper

Bret Hooper

Director

Bret Hooper is a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments. Previously, Bret served as President & Treasurer of Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley; he is also a former President, Treasurer, and Campaign Chairperson for United Way of Eagle River Valley; and former board member of Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce. Telemark skiing, mountain biking, camping and rafting with his wife and three children are Bret’s favorite activities.

Josh Stepanek

Josh Stepanek

Director

Josh is an associate professor of Biology and Ecosystem Science and Stewardship at the Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley campus. A central theme throughout Josh’s career has been utilizing basic research in evolution and diversity to approach applied problems in aquatic biology from novel perspectives. This has included research on the impact of estrogenic compounds on our waterways, nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms, the role of algal communities on stream and lake ecology, and the diversity present in aquatic habitats unique to the Colorado high-country. When not tromping around in streams or wetlands, Josh spends his time enjoying all that our mountain communities have to offer.

Pete Wadden

Pete Wadden

Director

Pete is the Watershed Education Coordinator for Town of Vail. Previously, he was Stewardship Coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center and an Environmental Science instructor at Colorado Mountain College. Pete is a graduate of Prescott College (MA) and Bowdoin College (BA). He’s an avid rafter, kayaker, angler, hunter, backcountry skier, dog dad and lover of water in all its forms.

Woody Woodruff

Woody Woodruff

Director

Kristin Yantis

Kristin Yantis

Director

Kristin Yantis is principal and founder of Malin Yantis Public Relations, a boutique marketing communications firm. As the in-house pr director for Keystone and Vail ski resort, she opened The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and was the assistant vice president of corporate communications for Destination Hotels & Resorts. She was a founding board member of First Descents, a kayak camp for young adults with cancer started by pro kayaker Brad Ludden. Kristin graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and lives in Edwards, Colorado. Kristin is an avid hiker and loves to camp, but is happiest on a river.

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    STAFF

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    James Dilzell

    James Dilzell

    Executive Director

    James grew up in Cleveland, OH – a city nestled along a Great Lake. He spent much of his time exploring the local parks, and took a Field Ecology class his freshman year of high school that impacted the course of his life more than he thought. Fast forward a few years, he received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from The University of Alabama and spent summers working in Montana. Rather than attending graduation, he packed up his station wagon and drove west to Colorado. James  lives in Eagle, and while not talking about water, he can be found cooking, biking, hiking, skiing, camping and drinking as much coffee as he can.

    Seth Mason

    Seth Mason

    Contractor for Water Resource Programs

    Hydrologist; Environmental Data Manager; Principal, Lotic Hydrological, LLC; M.S. in Land Resources & Environmental Sciences. Expertise in physical hydrology, hydrologic modeling, solute transport, GIS, environmental data management, remote environmental data collection system deployment and maintenance.

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    Anna Nakae

    Anna Nakae

    Projects Coordinator

    Anna moved to Colorado in 2017 from her home state of Washington. Growing up, she found a love for the outdoors, and while at Western Washington University she channeled that love into a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and a certificate in GIS. After graduating, Anna has held a variety of natural resource jobs, including working for the US Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks department. Outside of work, Anna enjoys biking, climbing, skiing, birding, stand up paddle boarding and exploring all the Eagle Valley has to offer.

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    Melanie Smith

    Melanie Smith

    Development & Communications Manager

    Melanie was raised on a lake in Minnesota, and after graduating from Luther College in Decorah, IA, with a degree in political science and environmental studies, she moved to the Eagle Valley, a dream of hers since the age of four. Though she grew up in the land of lakes, she’s enjoyed learning about rivers and streams from her fishing guide husband and as the development and communications manager at Eagle River Watershed Council. Melanie rents a house in Minturn with her husband and cat Marvin and loves to garden, read, write and explore the trails of this valley

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    Sue Nikolai

    Sue Nikolai

    Land & Rivers Fund Program Director

    Sue is a shared employee of Eagle River Watershed Council and Eagle Valley Land Trust, tasked with directing the shared Land & Rivers Fund.

    Natural Resources and Psychology, University of WI Stevens Point; Colorado Outward Bound School; Director of Ski Patrol at Eldora Resort and Hidden Valley Ski Area near Estes Park; part time ski patroller at Beaver Creek; likes to raft and take river trips, mountain bike, hike, work in her garden, practice yoga, ski, cook, read and have adventures with her husband and 2 almost grown daughters.

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    Rose Sandell

    Rose Sandell

    Education & Outreach Coordinator

    Rose grew up in Eagle, CO, with fond memories of exploring the mountains and waters through rafting, hiking, running and skiing. She attended St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota where she majored in Environmental Studies and Political Science. During her years at St Olaf she solidified her passion for preserving natural landscapes and during an experiential study abroad trip in New Zealand/Australia she found a love for education through outdoor exploration and education. Shortly after graduation, she became a Lead Instructor for Montana Outdoor Science School, before deciding that Colorado was where she was meant to be. She is excited to continue to work with the local community to educate and advocate for the Eagle River Watershed.

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