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#UGRWCD staff


SONJA CHAVEZ, General Manager

Sonja joined the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District as General Manager in December 2019.

Sonja received both her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology and a master’s degree in Limnology (the study of freshwater systems) from the University of Colorado. Her areas of expertise are in water quality, water resources management, funding acquisition, environmental and natural resource sciences, and policy and planning.  Previously, Sonja managed her own private water consulting firm and served as the Water Resource Specialist for the Colorado River Water Conservation District (Colorado River District).


JOHN McCLOW, General Counsel

John is a graduate of Colorado Law. He has represented the District since 1991, becoming full-time General Counsel in 2006. His work has consisted, in part, of water court litigation, including basin-wide plans for augmentation, and legislative advocacy. John has served on numerous boards, commissions, and organizations involving Colorado water, including the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Upper Colorado River Commission, and Colorado Water Congress.

Beverly Richards, Senior Water Resource Specialist/Office Manager

Beverly has been with the District since 2005.  Since joining the District, she went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Planning.  Beverly works as the senior water resource specialist and her duties include contract management; grant, cloudseeding, and augmentation program management; watershed management planning; reporting, tracking, and researching historical hydrology within the basin; and providing GIS support. 

Sue Photo 4 Final

Sue Uerling, Administrative Assistant/Communications Support Specialist

Sue joined the staff in September 2020 as the Administrative Assistant and has since taken on additional duties of communications and outreach for the District. She serves as the front-line contact with the public and assists with Board meeting preparation tasks and office administration. Sue has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has spent 30 plus years in a variety of administrative and managerial roles, primarily for nonprofit organizations.

2023 Alana Nichols

Alana Nichols, Water Resource Fellow

Alana joined the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District as a Water Resource Fellow in March 2023. She earned her BS in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Administration and Policy from Northern Arizona University. Alana’s responsibilities involve assisting UGRWCD staff in various programs, research, and planning, including watershed management and drought contingency planning, wet meadow and riparian restoration activities, field research, water policy research, education, and outreach. After completing her fellowship, Alana plans to pursue further education at the graduate level.

profile photo Ari

Ari Yamaguchi, Water Resources Technician

Ari started at the District in 2023 as a crew member on the Wet Meadows Restoration project. He then moved into a larger role, using his background in ecological research and project management to assist with the technical and GIS aspects of wet meadows restoration, water monitoring, watershed management planning, and community wildfire planning. Ari earned his BS in Environmental Science from Drexel University in 2017, and his MSc in mercury ecotoxicology & lake trophic ecology from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020.