Board of Directors

Zach Smith, President
720-570-2897
Zach has been the Colorado Water Trust staff attorney since 2010, where he develops and manages water rights transfers and other projects that benefit Colorado's rivers and streams.  A Denver native and a DU Law graduate, he is an alum of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education Water Leaders program and is the current President of the Colorado Watershed Assembly Board of Directors.


Brian Epstein, Secretary
Brian Epstein is a hydrologist with the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Stream and Lake Protection Section. A passionate professional, he is striving to understand and help others comprehend water’s complex relationship with the natural and built environments. Over the course of his career he has worked as a Water Commissioner, research hydrologist, and consulting hydrologist. He has a Master of Science in Hydrogeology from University of Nevada, Reno and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Natural Resource Policy Studies from Michigan State University. A lifelong learner, he has continued to study: river processes, mediation, leadership, and the Human Validation Process Model. When not on the road conducting field work, at desk analyzing data, or in a meeting, Brian is in the mountains hiking, biking, or skiing with his wife, Gabriela; children, Sophia and Benjamin; and dog, Balu, or wrapped up in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the martial art known as human chess.


Kelly Heaney
970-846-5750
Kelly has endeavoured to understand, protect, and enhance the health of the Yampa River Watershed throughout her 15-year career in watershed management, environmental compliance, and water supply planning. As the Water Resources Manager for the City of Steamboat Springs she strives to integrate the diverse water demands of a community that relies on the river for its municipal and recreational needs while supporting the unique ecosystem of a free-flowing river. As a sixth-generation Colorado native, Kelly’s passion for western rivers stems from her hope to see her state move into a more sustainable water future—one that provides for healthy streams amidst growing communities. Kelly began her career collecting data on the headwater streams of the Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest after graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in Environmental Geology. She currently serves on the Yampa-White-Green Basin Roundtable, the Board of Directors for the Colorado Watershed Assembly and the Community Agricultural Alliance, and she founded and now serves on the Technical Committee for the Upper Yampa Watershed Group. Kelly lives a stone’s throw from the Yampa with her husband, Geovanny, and their kiddo, Luke.


Jassen Savoie
Jassen (pronounced JAY-sun) Savoie graduated from University of Northern Colorado in 1997 with Environmental and Political Science degrees.  Jassen’s early experience with technical repair and training on equipment for air and water quality prepared him for a future in environmental technology including experience with groundwater sampling, monitoring and remediation.  He excelled at bridging the gap between application and product.  After 2001, Jassen supported Geotech’s sales and support team as National Technical Sales Manager, providing technical training and serving as a resource for clients.  Jassen is a sought after expert in groundwater sampling technology as well as water quality monitoring.  He has been a trainer for the Nielsen Environmental Field School as well as several universities.  In his current role as Regional Sales Manager for Geotech Environmental in the Rocky Mountain Region, Jassen supports Geotech Environmental products along with YSI and Sontek equipment.  Mr. Savoie is a member of CWA, RMAEP, CEMS, CRWA and the CMA Water Quality Committee.


Katie Fendel
Katie is an Environmental Program Manager for Leonard Rice Engineers in Denver. She has over 30 years of experience in environmental planning, regulatory compliance, permitting, and water quality issues. 


Leslie Volkar
Leslie currently serves as Director of Communications for Colorado Open Lands, one of Colorado’s largest land trusts.  Her areas of expertise include communications and marketing strategy, copywriting, promotion, and event planning and coordination. She attended Pennsylvania State University, earning a B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations, and a M.A. in Media Studies, with a research focus in the theory, practice, and ethics of nontraditional marketing strategies. Leslie enjoys all facets of design, graphics, and typography, and indulges in many creative pursuits that let her explore those interests.


Angie has been a hydrologist for Norwest Corporation since 2005.  She began her involvement with watershed groups in 2002 where she provided surface water monitoring for Silver Lake Homeowners Association through the Big Thompson Watershed Forum.  Angela is currently a member of the Purgatoire Watershed Partnership, a group she helped form in 2013 and sat on the Board as Secretary for 2 years.


Emma serves as the Executive Director for the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, a small non-profit working to improve the health of the Rio Grande in the San Luis Valley. Emma grew up on the prairies of Kansas and graduated from Bethel College (KS) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and a focus in Restoration Ecology. Since moving to the San Luis Valley in 2013, Emma has become actively involved in the local water community and serves on the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable. Emma lives in Alamosa with her husband John and their cat Oliver.