Members

Amber Pacheco

Rio Grande Water Conservation District Representative

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Bethany Howell

Bethany Howell

Education Member at Large

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Charles Griego

Charles Griego

Alamosa County Municipalities Representative

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Charles Griego is the Roundtable representative for the City of Alamosa. He is past Mayor Pro-temp and present city councilor for the City of Alamosa.
Charles Spielman

Charles Spielman

Industrial and Domestic Member at Large

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Charles Spielman has been a member of the Roundtable since its inception in 2006, and represents industrial water interests, and some municipal water users. As Chair of the M&I Committee in 2015, Charlie coordinated the compilation of the M&I section of the Rio Grande Basin Action Plan. He is a geological engineering graduate of the Colorado School of Mines and has worked throughout the western US and Australia in the mining industry. A fourth-generation Valley native, Mr. Spielman has interests in both mining and real estate in Colorado, serves as President of the Monte Vista Economic Development Corporation, and is involved in several other community organizations in Rio Grande County, where he resides. Charlie enjoys landscape painting, traveling into the high country, and watching the cranes come in at sunset at the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge.
Chuck Finnegan

Chuck Finnegan

Conejos County Representative

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Chuck Finnegan serves as the Conejos County Representative for the Roundtable. He is one of the most recent members to join the Roundtable.
Cindy Medina

Cindy Medina

Secretary, Alamosa River Member at Large

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Cindy Medina is the Rio Grande Roundtable Secretary. She oversees the Alamosa River watershed in central Colorado that remains a United States Superfund site as a result of heavy metals and cyanide leaking into the river. Her organization the Alamosa Riverkeepers helped initiate an instream flow right in the Alamosa River.

As part of the Alamosa Riverkeeper organization, Cindy received the David Getches Flowing Waters Award for improving environmental water resources and recreational values in the Alamosa River. Her efforts in collaboration, innovation and inspiration continue not just on the project but also in her Roundtable duties.

Dale Pizel

Dale Pizel

Wildlife Member at Large

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Dale Pizel has served on the Roundtable from its inception. He is the owner of Broken Arrow Ranch and Land Co. a guest ranch and Creede’s oldest real estate company. Dale also manages the Rio Oxbow Ranch above Creede a fishing and cattle ranch on 6 miles of the Rio Grande where he was awarded the 2003 Colorado Riparian Associations ‘Excellence in Riparian Management’ award for his grazing practices. Dale is honored to be the current Commissioner to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. He was former Assistant Director of the Wolf Creek Ski Patrol, a founder of 1st National Bank of Creede and Lake City, and a former Director of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District. Dale love’s big elk, big fish, a good powder day, team roping and moving cattle at 9,000 feet on a good horse, and his wife Anne and daughters Abbey and Emily.

Dave Marquez

Acequias Representative

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Dave Maquez serves as the Acequias Representative for the Roundtable.
Dwight Martin

Dwight Martin

Alamosa-La Jara Conservancy District Representative

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Dwight Martin is the Roundtable Representative for the Alamosa-La Jara Conservancy District. He resides in La Jara, Colorado. He is a farmer and rancher who holds a B.S. in Animal Science and retired from the United States Department of Agriculture. He is an active participant in water meetings.

Water Views: Water is the lifeblood for farmers and ranchers.

Emma Reesor

Emma Reesor

Vice Chair, Watershed Health Member at Large

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Emma Reesor serves as the Executive Director for the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, a local non-profit working to improve the health of the Rio Grande in the Colorado. Emma grew up on the prairies of Kansas and graduated from Bethel College (KS) with a BA in Biology. After moving to the San Luis Valley in 2013, she has applied her passion for rivers and restoration ecology through her involvement in the RGHRP and local water community. Emma lives in Alamosa with her husband John and their cats Lola and Gretchen.
Eugene Farish

Eugene Farish

Rio Grande County Municipalities Representative

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Eugene L. Farish has served on the Rio Grande Roundtable as a member since June of 2009. He is an Attorney at Law who resides in Monte Vista, Colorado. Mr. Farish holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from the University of Wyoming. He enjoys mountain climbing and skiing.
Water Views: In addition to my general interest in the future of the water of the San Luis Valley, I represent several municipalities and augmentation plans are a critical part of their present and future development.
Greg Higel

Greg Higel

Rio Grande Water Users Member at Large

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Greg Higel is an At Large Water user on the Roundtable. He has served since 2006. He currently resides near Alamosa, CO. Greg has been a farmer for 36 years and is the President of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District Board and the Rio Grande Water users Association. He enjoys fishing and outdoor life.

Water Views: Everything I have done in my life has depended on water.

Heather Dutton

Heather Dutton

San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District Representative and CWCB Member (non-voting)

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Heather Dutton was appointed to the Colorado Water Conservation Board in 2017. She grew up on a potato and barley farm in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, where she gained a love for the outdoors.

Heather is fortunate to work as the Manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District. In this role, she manages an augmentation program for domestic, commercial, and municipal wells in five counties of the San Luis Valley. One of the greatest rewards of this position is the opportunity to work with friends in the water community to find creative ways to manage water and natural resources in the Rio Grande Basin.

Heather previously worked to improve the health of the Rio Grande as the Director of the Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Foundation and the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project. She now serves on the Board of the Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Foundation in addition to the Boards of the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative and the Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team.

Heather earned a Masters of Agriculture and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Natural Resources Management and Rangeland Ecology with a concentration in Restoration Ecology from Colorado State University. She is happiest when exploring the surrounding mountains on foot, bikes, and snowmobiles with her husband, Tanner.

Jim Ehrlich

Jim Ehrlich

Alamosa County Representative

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Jim Ehrlich is the Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee. He represents Alamosa County on the Rio Grande Roundtable.
Judy Lopez

Judy Lopez

Conservation Easements Member at Large

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Judy Lopez is a native Coloradan who currently lives with her husband and 2 dogs on their ranch east of Alamosa. Judy has served as the education representative and the PEPO liaison for the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable since 2008. Judy is a graduate of Adams State University where she holds degrees in Geology and Education. Her accomplishments include: San Luis Valley Educator of the Year 2000 and 2004; Colorado Association of Environmental Education Environmental, Program of the Year — 2009; CACD Educator of the Year 2007-2009; Division of Water Resources, Division 3, Water Educator of the Year – 2012; Colorado Association of Environmental Education Environmental, Lifetime of the Year — 2016. She currently works as Conservation Project Manager, for Colorado Open Lands, where she works to conserve the natural assets of key San Luis Valley properties. Judy enjoys fishing, camping and exploring the backcountry with her family.
Karla Shriver

Karla Shriver

Legislative Appointee

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Karla Shriver owns and operates a potato/small grain/alfalfa farm between Monte Vista and Alamosa. She serves as the Legislative Appointee for the Rio Grande Roundtable.  Karla has always been very active in the local and regional community as well as state wide. She serves on the San Luis Valley Federal Bank Board of Directors, Trinidad State Junior College Community Council, and the El Pomar Foundation SLV Regional Council. She is an active leader in many other organizations, including the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, Commonwealth Irrigation, San Luis Valley Great Outdoors, and Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team. Karla just finished serving two terms as a past Rio Grande County Commissioner.
Keith Holland

Keith Holland

Agriculture and Reservoirs Member at Large

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Keith Holland is President of the Santa Maria Reservoir Company. He is an At Large Member of the Roundtable for Agriculture/ Reservoirs. Keith is a farmer and he was recently named the IBCC Representative for the Rio Grande Basin.
Kevin Terry

Kevin Terry

Recreation Member at Large

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Kevin Terry is a fisheries biologist born and raised in northern New Mexico with a fly rod in his hand. After attending Oregon State University and receiving a bachelors in Fisheries Science, Kevin moved to Colorado. Kevin and his wife Stephanie are raising their twins on the banks of the Rio Grande where Kevin is working for the Western Water and Habitat program of Trout Unlimited. In his role, Kevin splits his time working to protect and restore populations of the native Rio Grande Cutthroat trout and working within the water community to strategically identify and implement water transactions for in-stream flows with ecological benefits while simultaneously providing water and services to farms and ranches of the San Luis Valley. Kevin is the recreational representative to the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable.
Mario Curto

Mario Curto

SLV Well Owners Member at Large

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Mario Curto is a lifelong resident of Alamosa Colorado. He has been a Member at Large on the Roundtable since 2010/2011. Mario has also served on the Alamosa County Fair Board, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, and is a member of the SLV Well Owners Association as well as the Waverly Drainage District. Mario is a Semi retired farmer and rancher and enjoys traveling. Water Views: Water is life. We must protect, conserve, and use water wisely. We must educate ourselves and the next generation in order to meet future needs.
Mike Gibson

Mike Gibson

General Member at Large

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Mike Gibson is a graduate of the Royal School of Mines, London University, London, England, where he obtained a Mining Engineering Degree. Upon graduation he joined a mining operation in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He came to the United States to attend Graduate School at Stanford University where he obtained a MS and MBA Degrees. Mike’s subsequent mining career was in the Western United States where he served in engineering and environmental management positions in the energy and metals sectors. After retiring from the mining industry in 1999 Mike and his wife, Gigi Darricades, came to the San Luis Valley when he joined The Nature Conservancy after they had acquired the Medano-Zapata Ranch. He was with The Nature Conservancy three years before joining the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy. He retired in December 2015 from the San Luis Valley Conservancy District after 12 years. Mike served as Chairman of the Rio Grande Roundtable for ten years and he served on the Board of the Colorado Water Congress, representing the Rio Grande Basin.
Nathan Coombs

Nathan Coombs

Roundtable Chair, Conejos Water Conservancy District Representative

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Nathan Coombs is the Rio Grande Roundtable Chair. He has been a member since 2010 and resides in Manassa, Colorado. Nathan is the Manager of the Conejos Water Conservancy District and holds a B.A. in Business from Adams State University. He enjoys four-wheeling, snowmobiles and motorcycles with his family.
Nikita Christensen

Nikita Christensen

Rio Grande County Representative

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Nikita grew up in the Valley and graduated from Colorado State University after enjoying exchange programs at Cal Poly and Lincoln University in New Zealand. After returning to the valley, Nikita became an associate at Notes & Numbers, LLC where she currently works with 12 irritation companies and other agribusiness organizations. Nikita’s favorite part of this position is working with farmers and ranchers on solutions to issues including water resource management and funding. Nikita is also working with her family’s farming operation. After Nikita worked as Rio Grande County Board Of Commissioners Clerk, she decided it would be a great opportunity to represent Rio Grande County to the Basin Roundtable. Nikita is excited to represent a diverse set of stakeholders from around Rio Grande County and work on solutions to improve the Rio Grande Basin Water infrastructure and efficiency for all types of stakeholders.
Wayne Schwab

Wayne Schwab

Trinchera Water Conservancy District Representative

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Wayne Schwab manages the overall operations of the Trinchera Irrigation Company in Blanca, Colorado. The Trinchera Irrigation Co. is comprised of 47 stockholders farming approximately 12,000 acres in the north half of Costilla County. Wayne oversees the delivery of surface water from the Trinchera basin which consists of Ute creek, Trinchera creek, Sangre creek and Ojito creek. Along with operating and maintaining the Mountain Home reservoir and Smith reservoir he is in charge of 26 miles of canals and 45 miles of laterals. Besides being a voting member of the Rio Grande Roundtable, Wayne is a Board member of the Town of Blanca, Colorado.
Peter Clark

Peter Clark

Water User Member at Large

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Peter Clark is an At Large Member for the Roundtable. He farms and ranches along the Rio Grande/ Alamosa County. Peter has B.S. in Range Management from Humboldt State University and enjoyed a successful career in the United States Forest Service. He enjoys hunting with vintage or replica firearms and preparing the ammunition.

Water Views: Like soil, water is a basic resource and is necessary for every aspect of our lives. Managing water properly ensures a stable economy, an abundant food supply and diverse recreational opportunities.

Rio de la Vista

Rio de la Vista

Environmental Member at Large

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As the Director of the Salazar Rio Grande Del Norte Center at Adams State University, Rio de la Vista shares her experience with local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations, land and water issues, community groups, and landowners to help “grow the next generation of conservation and water leaders.”  The Salazar Center is providing water education programs for both students and the broader community, including through the annual Rio Grande State of the Basin Symposium.

 
Rio worked for many years with the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust and co-led the Rio Grande Initiative, a broad partnership of conservation organizations that has achieved over $50 million in conservation, including over 26,000 conserved acres along the Rio Grande and Conejos River corridors.  Rio was honored to receive the 2011 National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration from the Environmental Law Institute, in recognition of her work in the San Luis Valley.  She earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder and was honored by the University in 2020 with their “Distinguished Service Award” in recognition of her contributions to conservation.
 
Rio has published many articles and photographs, co-authored the chapter on the “Culture of Conservation” in the 2020 University of Colorado Press book,  The Geology, Ecology, and Human History of the San Luis Valley, co-authored the eco-novel The Oglin: A Hero’s Journey Across Africa Towards the Tomorrows with Dick Richardson of South Africa, and was Editor of the Windstar Foundation’s Windstar Journal.

Water Views: Water is Life!

Robert Hurd

Robert Hurd

Hinsdale County and Municipalities Representative

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Robert Hurd is the Roundtable Representative for Hinsdale County and Municipalities. Before his current job as the Hinsdale County Commissioner, Robert served as the Road and Bridge Supervisor for Hinsdale County. He also is responsible for operations of the Flow Gate System on Lake San Cristobal.
Steven Romero

Steven Romero

Costilla County Representative

Virginia Christensen

Virginia Christensen

Water User Member at Large

Travis Smith

Travis Smith

Reservoirs Member at Large

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Travis Smith has served as Superintendent of the San Luis Valley Irrigation District since 1992. He has been part of the Roundtable since its inception and has served in both CWCB and IBCC liaison roles and is currently a Member at Large. Travis has also served as Rio Grande Basin Director on the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Rio Grande Basin IBCC. He is Project Leader of the Rio Grande Cooperative Project, chairman of RWEACT (Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team) and a member of the Forest Health Advisory Council. He is also a Board Member for the Colorado Water Congress and was the 2017 recipient of the Wayne N. Aspinall Water Leader of the Year Award. Travis is a strong advocate for the Rio Grande Basin by building partnerships based on trust and respect within the water user community. Travis and his wife Maureen ranch on San Francisco Creek near Del Norte.

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