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.
JILL STEELE, Accountant
Jill has worked for the District since 1994. She received her degree in Accounting from Western Colorado University and is the District’s office accountant. Jill also develops the monthly financial reports for the District’s Board of Directors and provides oversight and reports for the District’s annual audit.
Beverly Richards, Senior Water Resource Specialist
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 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.
Cheryl Cwelich, Water Resource Specialist
Cheryl joined the staff in January 2022 and is responsible for managing the Wet Meadow & Riparian Restoration Program and assists with Watershed Management Planning. In addition, she provides technical, financial, and managerial assistance along with policy development for environmental, recreational, agricultural and municipal water projects. Cheryl has a bachelor’s degree from Western Colorado University, graduating summa cum laude with an emphasis in Water Policy and Resilience.