Our Expert Staff
720.570.2897 ext 1
Kate is a water lawyer who joined the Water Trust in 2018 and was appointed as Executive Director in 2023. As a lawyer, the very first case she took through water court was for the Colorado Water Trust’s Three Sisters Ditch project on Hermosa Creek. Kate’s past clients included farmers, ranchers, municipalities, landowners, the CWCB and the Water Trust itself. Before going to Berkeley Law she obtained a master’s degree in geography at the University of Colorado and worked as an associate scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Kate does her work at the Colorado Water Trust in order to support that which she holds most dear–our incredible state and the people within, the beautiful rivers and mountains we explore, and a future for her kids where they can experience a continuation of it all.
720.570.2897 ext 3
Dana has worked for international nonprofits since 2003 addressing issues such as indigenous people’s rights to a healthy environment, refugee resettlement, and teaching world cultures to inner-city youth. Prior to joining the Colorado Water Trust team, she managed major gifts at Global Greengrants Fund in Boulder. Dana served in the Peace Corps in Panama for two years as a volunteer for community development projects. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in international studies from Loyola University in Chicago and a Master’s Degree in nonprofit administration from the University of Denver. Dana enjoys participating in long-distance triathlons, playing piano, hiking, camping, golfing, and spending time with her Panamanian dog.
720.570.2897 ext 4
A longtime resident of Colorado, Tony earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in geography from the University of Colorado before moving to the Klamath basin in Oregon. At the Klamath Tribes, he directed research and monitoring programs, and worked with stakeholders to develop watershed scale restoration strategies. Later, he went to work for Trout Unlimited and implemented numerous stream restoration projects designed to benefit ESA listed species and native trout. Tony now lives in Buena Vista and focuses on water projects in southern Colorado. Outside the office, Tony and his family can be found running the Arkansas River, skiing, hiking or just enjoying being back in Colorado.
Tony’s Favorite Things About Rivers
Water Resources Specialist
720.570.2897 ext 2
Blake was born and raised in Greeley and is currently based in Ignacio, Colorado. After earning undergraduate degrees in Natural Resources Management and Natural Resources/Agricultural Economics from Colorado State University, he moved to Ignacio in Southwest Colorado to work in water resources for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Blake managed the Tribe’s water rights portfolio and worked to protect, conserve, and develop the Tribe’s water resources. In school and later while working for the Tribe, Blake developed a strong conservation ethic, respect for Colorado’s agricultural heritage and sincere interest in complex, western water issues. In his free time, he can be found enjoying the outdoors in Southwest Colorado, trail running, hunting, cross country skiing and moonlighting as a ranch hand.
Board of Directors
Deputy Infrastructure Director, City of Thornton
Emily is the Deputy Infrastructure Director at the City of Thornton. Highlights of her water career include managing the expansion of Thornton’s Water Conservation program (www.thorntonwater.com), the development of multiple raw water facilities for the City, and the successful negotiation of several collaborative agreements with other water providers. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Water Congress. Emily is a second generation Colorado native, and she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her Master’s degree in Fluvial Geomorphology from the University of Denver. She also had the privilege of participating in the Water Education Colorado’s first Water Leader’s Program in 2006. When not at work, Emily enjoys being outside, growing spicy things, and spending time with her dog, Gulliver. She also volunteers as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado and Girls, Inc. of Metro Denver.
Water Program Director, High Country Conservation Advocates
Julie began her career at the University of Colorado, through appointments with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Colorado Law School’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, and Western Water Assessment. She worked with federally recognized tribes on reserved water rights issues, climate change adaptation and drought contingency planning. Since relocating to the Gunnison Valley in 2014, she has worked as the Water Program Director for High Country Conservation Advocates. She has served on numerous boards and organizations, including the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, the Gunnison Basin Roundtable, and the Coal Creek Watershed Coalition’s technical committee. In her day job, she works on instream flow appropriations, water quality standards, watershed restoration, and local planning efforts. Outside of the office, she spends her time exploring Colorado’s mountains and rivers with her partner and their remarkable hound dog.
Founder and Managing Partner, Flywheel Capital
Ben has over 15 years of real estate finance, capital markets and executive experience with over $1.2 billion in closed transactions. He has worked entirely on the ownership side of the commercial real estate business. Ben was previously VP of Investment Accounting and Reporting at Sage Hospitality in Denver. His responsibilities included coordinating all corporate tax filings, partnership waterfalls, 5-year long range plan, and investor communication. Previously, Ben has held positions at UDR, a $10 billion publicly traded company and Continental Realty Advisors (CRA), a start-up multi-family real estate fund with equity committed from a Boston hedge fund. Prior to CRA, Ben was Director of Portfolio Accounting at Alliance Commercial Partners (ACP), now known as EverWest. At ACP he was responsible for all property and corporate accounting, corporate tax returns, partnership waterfalls, and investor reporting. Throughout his career he has worked on all property types with the majority of transactions in value-add office, retail, industrial, multi-family, hospitality and land assets.
Ben is a licensed CPA, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Masters of Accountancy from the University of Denver. Ben is a 4th generation Colorado native, current Treasurer of the Colorado Society of CPA’s and volunteers with several non-profits.
Director of Catalytic Projects, Denver Department of Housing Stability
Brad joined Denver’s Department of Housing Stability as the Director of Catalytic Projects in January 2021, where his role is to grow and preserve the City’s affordable housing options through both policy and negotiations with developers. Prior to joining the City, he played a variety of roles within the affordable housing arena, spending the last few years in the development world, working for both Forum Investment Group and Kittle Properties Group. Before that, Brad was Deputy Director of Denver Programs for Enterprise Community Partners, where he worked very closely with the City of Denver running the Denver Regional TOD Fund and supporting the establishment of the Dedicated Affordable Housing Fund. Brad also has experience in underwriting and closing loans for affordable housing, primarily with Citi Community Capital. He has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado, where he focused on sustainable real estate. Outside of work, his family (wife Annie and sons Pete and Connor) enjoy all that Denver and our beautiful state has to offer, including skiing, hiking, and golf!
Rancher, Reeder Creek Ranch, Kremmling
Paul is the 5th generation of the Bruchez family to farm and ranch in Colorado. He currently operates the family ranch near Kremmling with his brother and father. Paul and his family raise cattle and irrigate with water from the Colorado River, the Williams Fork River and Reeder Creek. After graduating from the University of Denver in 2003, he started a fly fishing business to help diversify income. Working in agriculture and being a fishing guide has given Paul a unique perspective on water resources. Paul is currently spearheading a 12-mile restoration of the Colorado River with 12 landowners collaborating to sustain agriculture and the environmental health of the river. After participating with the Colorado Basin Implementation Plan, he was selected to be the voting Agriculture Representative to the Colorado Basin Roundtable in the spring of 2015. He is committed to working on permanent solutions for sustaining agriculture and healthy rivers in the face of a growing population.
Ph.D., Founder and Principal, Hydros Consulting
John is a founder and principal of Hydros Consulting in Boulder, Colorado. He has a BA in Mathematics from Colorado College, an MA in Geography and Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering from CU-Boulder. He began his career with Hydrosphere Resource Consultants before founding Hydros in 2010. His work has focused on the development of decision support tools to inform policy and operations in complex water management settings. He is an advisor to the State of Colorado on Colorado River management issues. He and his firm have represented clients in “pretty much every state west of the 100th Meridian”. John has served on a number of other Boards and organizations, including the Council of Trustees for the Montana Land Reliance and the Louisville Open Space Advisory Board. John is married with two children (and a dog). When he is not thinking about water, he might be found tending to his honey bees, skiing, biking, or fly-fishing.
Senior Fellow, Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado
Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado, focusing on western water issues. From 2009 to 2014, she was Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy for the Department and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. While at Interior, Castle spearheaded the Department’s WaterSMART program, which although not an entirely original name despite best intentions and multiple trademark searches, provides federal leadership on the path toward sustainable water supplies. She was the driving force behind the 2010 federal MOU addressing sustainable hydropower, the largest, least respected, and most vilified form of renewable energy in the country. Castle also provided hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues and was the Chair of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group and a champion of Minute 319 between the US and Mexico. The fact that the Colorado River descended further and further into drought during her tenure is generally believed not to be her fault. Castle is a recovering lawyer, having practiced water law for 28 years with the Rocky Mountain law firm of Holland & Hart.
Rancher, Steamboat Springs
Marsha Daughenbaugh is part of a multi-generational ranching family, based in the Elk River Valley near Steamboat Springs. She and her husband, John, chose to stay in the region, ranch and raise their family in a location that is known for pristine waters and lots of snow.
Marsha’s professional career of over 40 years included 25+ years with USDA Farm Service Agency and 15 years as Executive Director of Community Agriculture Alliance, a non-profit serving Northwest Colorado. She has been instrumental in developing and implementing community-based programs, meetings, workshops, tours and educational opportunities that underscore the importance of agriculture to the economy and culture of Colorado. She worked closely with the Yampa-White-Green Roundtable for 12 years, helping formulate and administer their public education and outreach programs in Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt Counties. Although retired from paid positions, Marsha remains a passionate activist for agriculture, open space, working landscapes, the protection of healthy, abundant natural resources and local community.
Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Denver
Wayne Forman is a shareholder with the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. His practice encompasses land and water issues including water law, land use litigation, condemnation and environmental law and litigation. He represents private and public clients throughout Colorado on water rights matters and has extensive experience in land use litigation and water quality and wetlands matters. Throughout his 30-year career, Wayne has helped navigate a number of complex water and land use issues for energy companies throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Wayne’s expertise is integral in establishing balance between state and local regulation of Colorado’s oil and gas industry. He is a leading spokesman on the risks of taking claims associated with bans, moratorium and setbacks on hydraulic fracturing, having presented on that issue to the Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force and other organizations. Wayne holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Cornell University.
President, Martin and Wood Water Consultants, Inc.
Michelle is the president of Martin and Wood Water Consultants, Inc., a water resources consulting firm in Golden, Colorado. She has over 20 years of experience in expert witness services related to water rights, planning and development of water resources, and project management. In this capacity, Michelle has worked on projects in all of Colorado’s river basins and has served as a long-time consultant to several municipalities, water districts, non-profit groups, and federal agencies. Michelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Geology and master’s degree in Hydrogeology from Portland State University and is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Colorado. She graduated from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Water Leaders Program in 2019 and is designated as an Engineering Expert Witness by the American Council of Engineering Companies. When Michelle is not thinking about water, she can be found mountain biking, fly fishing, rock climbing, and going for walks with her husband and Labrador Retriever.
Director of Government Relations, Colorado River District
Zane Kessler is the Director of Government Relations for the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River District. In this role, Zane manages the District’s state and federal advocacy efforts and oversees the organization’s work with partners, municipalities and counties on the Western Slope. Zane brings nearly 20 years of natural resource policy experience to the District’s team, including six years as staffer in the United States Senate, where he managed a variety of policy and outreach initiatives in the agriculture, infrastructure, energy and natural resource arenas. Zane is a believer in the power of coalition. Prior to joining the Colorado River District, Zane served as Executive Director of the Carbondale-based Thompson Divide Coalition, a broad alliance of “strange bedfellows” – West Slope counties and municipalities, ranchers and mountain bikers, sportsmen and environmentalists – who banded together to secure long-term protections for nearly 200,000 acres of public lands in the heart of America’s most-visited National Forest.
Shareholder, Somach Simmons & Dunn
Sarah grew up in the Upper Midwest. Her childhood summers were spent either at her family’s cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota or in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She holds a BA in biology from University of Northern Iowa, and MS in entomology from Colorado State. After working as a park ranger and biologist, she worked as a climate scientist, collecting the precipitation data underlying standards set for acid rain in the Clean Air Act. In 1994 Sarah went to law school at the University of Wyoming. Sarah worked at White & Jankowski, a Denver water law firm and is now a shareholder in Somach Simmons & Dunn. She represents farmers and ranchers, as well as institutional clients on water rights matters in four western states. Sarah is married with four (grown!) children and two dogs. She enjoys biking and trail running with her husband, and is an open water marathon swimmer.
Shareholder, Williams, Turner & Holmes, PC
Kirsten is a shareholder at Williams, Turner & Holmes, PC, a Grand Junction law firm. She grew up in a small town in Connecticut and spent lots of time in New Hampshire and Vermont as well. Her parents uprooted her as a sophomore in high school and moved the family to the Sonoran Desert in Tucson. There, after the initial shock, Kirsten fell in love with the desert and her husband. Kirsten obtained her undergraduate degree in cellular and developmental biology and was a research technician and manager of a cancer research lab for several years before deciding to go to law school. Kirsten’s practice focuses on water law, and she represents clients on water related issues from ditch disputes to water court applications to adjudicate and protect water rights. She assists energy companies, gravel pit operators, irrigation districts, water districts, ditch companies, water users associations, domestic water providers, farmers and ranchers, subdivision developers and individuals with their water related needs.
Kirsten always tries to give back to her community and, in addition to the Colorado Water Trust, currently is on the Advisory Council for the Colorado Mesa University Ruth Hutchins Water Center and the Board of Directors for Colorado Legal Services, Inc. She is also a member and Vice Chair of the Colorado River Basin Roundtable. Kirsten and her husband have two grown boys. Now as empty nesters they enjoy their time between Grand Junction and Crawford and hope to be exploring more soon in a van her husband is outfitting.
Director, Colorado Basin Program, American Rivers
Matt Rice directs American Rivers’ multidisciplinary programs in the Colorado River Basin, a region that spans seven states from Wyoming to California. His team drives innovative policy, program, and project solutions to conserve water in the urban, agricultural, and energy sectors to ensure that the rivers and streams in the region are healthy for local and regional economies, sustainable agriculture, and world-class recreation.
Previously, Matt has worked as a fly-fishing guide in Montana, Colorado, Kentucky, and South Carolina. He also spent 4 years in Zambia working with rural farmers to integrate fish farming and irrigated agriculture into their farming systems. Matt completed his masters in Environmental Policy from the University of Denver. His research was focused on global water resources. He received his undergraduate degree from Montana State University in 2000.
When not at work, he can be found with his three boys and a fly rod on a river somewhere in Colorado.
Associate Professor, Sturm College of Law
Tom was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and has roots that go back generations to Antonito, Durango, and Olathe. He spent his summers on his maternal grandparent’s farm in Olathe riding tractors, feeding the chicken’s and learning how to swim in the irrigation ditches. Tom is an Associate Professor in the Sturm College of Law and Affiliated Faculty with the Department of History at the University of Denver. The author of numerous articles, book chapters, and essays, Tom researches and teaches in the areas of the legal history of the American West, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between race and water law, school desegregation, property, land use, and urban development and local government. Tom has several on-going projects related to the history and current challenges of immigration, racial inequity, and water law and policy, including a book chapter that examines the intersection between developments in water and immigration law in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and a community based participatory research project on water access and water quality issues impacting neighborhoods of color in Denver.
Tom has served as the interim Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Associate Provost of DEI Research and Curricular Initiatives for the university during the last eight years. He also directs all activities associated with DU’s Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE). He received his Ph.D and J.D. from the University of Michigan and is an undergraduate alum of the University of Denver.
Born in upstate New York, Dr. Rooney graduated from Boston College with degrees in English Literature and Sociology. He moved to Colorado to attend veterinary school at Colorado State University (CSU), where he also served as a clinical surgery instructor. Dr. Rooney was the proud owner of Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists, and a partner in Alpenglow Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Boulder, until 2016. He’s also worked extensively in wildlife conservation medicine, in Uganda and Guatemala and at numerous zoos across the country. Matt is a proud partner in Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons, and served for three years as president of the Lyons Watershed Board. After the floods of 2013 greatly affected their farm, he and his wife re-created a riparian ecosystem with robust aquatic life along the North fork of the St Vrain River.
President of BBA Water Consultants, Inc.
Chris, a Colorado native, is a hydrogeologist and President of BBA Water Consultants, Inc., where he has specialized in water resource consulting, ground water supply development, water rights augmentation plans, and water supply planning since 1994. At BBA, Chris is leads a variety of client projects related to ground and surface water supplies in Colorado and provides expert testimony in various State and local jurisdictions. He attended Colorado College where he studied geology and has taken graduate level coursework at Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado. Chris has provided multiple presentations to professional organizations and the Colorado Bar Association, helping to inform the community about Colorado water issues and operations. He enjoys the diversity of projects and talented people that he interacts with at BBA.
Chris Chairs the Colorado State Board of Examiners of Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors. He was initially appointed to this position by Governor Hickenlooper in 2018 and reappointed by Governor Polis in 2022. In this role, Chris helps to protect the ground water resources of Colorado through rulemaking processes and contractor licensing matters. Chris is a Trustee at Fountain Valley School of Colorado where he has chaired the Land Management Committee and helped to steward the school’s 1100-acre ranch campus and water rights; he is now the Chair of the Committee on Trustees. Chris is married and has two daughters in college, and when not working can be found hiking, biking and fly-fishing in the Colorado outdoors.
M.S., P.E. Retired Colorado State Engineer, Senior Advisor LRE Water
Dick is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado and obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Colorado State University. Dick served the State Engineer’s Office for 24 years with the last 10 years as State Engineer. Prior to that he was employed for seven years with Spronk Water Engineers. He is proud to be a Colorado native farm boy who greatly enjoys spending a lot of time with his family including seven grandchildren. Since retiring from the State Engineer’s Office in 2017, Dick has been employed part time with LRE Water since 2018 as a Senior Advisor.