Anne Castle is a Senior Fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources at the University of Colorado, focusing on western water issues including Colorado River operational policy and the integration of tribal water interests. She is a founding member of the Water Policy Group, comprised of select water sector experts who have been decision makers within governments and international bodies handling complex water policy and strategy. 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, Anne spearheaded the Department’s WaterSMART program and provided hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues including a ground-breaking agreement between the US and Mexico. She is the President of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Water Trust, and serves on boards or advisory committees for Western Resource Advocates, Colorado Legal Services, the Salazar Center for North American Conservation, the Airborne Snow Observatory, Stanford University’s Water in the West program, and the Colorado River Water and Tribes Initiative.
Bidtah Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources. She is an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Prior to this position, Bidtah had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from May 2013 to January 2019, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after having served eleven (11) years in the Navajo Nation Department of Justice focusing on water rights and natural resources issues. Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves on the Leadership Team for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin and is honored to serve as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, as an appointee of Governor Lujan Grisham, and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, as an appointee of Speaker Damon. Bidtah is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), as an appointee of President Obama. Bidtah is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.
Research Team Leader
Heather Tanana (JD/MPH) is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and an Assistant Research Professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. She is also Associate Faculty with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Heather practiced law for several years with Richards Brandt Miller Nelson before completing a clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer and joining the world of academia. Her career has been driven by her personal commitment to serving her people. She chairs the board of the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake and volunteers her time on other work groups to promote diversity in the legal field, including the Rocky Mineral Law Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Association of American Law Schools Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples, and American Bar Association Native American Resources Committee. Heather’s research interests include exploring the overlay between environmental and health policy, promoting better practices in Indian child welfare, and criminal justice in Indian country.
Margaret J. Vick
Core Team Member
Margaret J. Vick has more than 30 years of experience working with and advising Native American Tribes and tribal organizations in the Western United States including her service as General and Special Counsel to the Havasupai Tribe, Special Counsel to the Colorado River Indian Tribes and legal advisor to Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.
Dr. Vick served as an embedded advisor for USAID with the Ministry of Energy and Water for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from 2009 through 2010.
Dr. Vick has a doctorate of juridical sciences in the law of international water resources and works with all levels of government on complex water allocation and management issues. She specializes in cross-jurisdictional negotiations and brings a wide range of expertise and a broad perspective to issues of water use and governance. She is a frequent speaker on Colorado River issues.
Core Team Member
Matthew McKinney is the Director of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy at the University of Montana. For the past five years, he has co-facilitated the Water & Tribes Initiative, an ad hoc partnership among tribal and other leaders in the Colorado River Basin to enhance tribal capacity and support collaborative problem-solving. Matthew has over 30 years of experience as a facilitator, mediator, policy analyst, and educator. He has worked on water, public land, and many related issues throughout the American West, as well as in Canada, Mongolia, Turkey, India, Middle East, Australia, and several European countries. In addition to working on place-based and policy-oriented projects, Matt has provided leadership in designing a number of collaborative networks, partnerships, and organizations; co-chairs the University of Montana’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program; and publishes in various law reviews and other journals. When he is not working, he can be found hiking, biking, fly-fishing, floating, skiing, golfing, and otherwise enjoying Montana and the public lands of the American West with his wife, three daughters, and three grandchildren.
John E. Echohawk
Core Team Member
John Echohawk is the Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). NARF has been involved in nine of the 32 Indian water rights cases that have resulted in settlements.
Mr. Echohawk has worked with the Department of the Interior, the Western Governors Association, the Western States Water Council, the Conference of Western Attorneys General, the Western Business Roundtable, the National Congress of American Indians and the Joint Federal Tribal Water Funding Task Force to promote favorable Indian water rights settlement policies. He was also appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Western Water Policy Review Commission. He served on the Clinton-Gore transition team for the DOI and he served on the Obama-Biden transition team for the DOI.
He serves on the Boards of the American Indian Resources Institute, the Association on American Indian Affairs, the Indigenous Language Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. B.A., University of New Mexico; J.D., University of New Mexico; Reginald Heber Smith Fellow; Native American Rights Fund; admitted to practice law in Colorado.
Core Team Member
Garrit Voggesser is the Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Partnerships Program. Garrith has worked with NWF for seventeen years, engaging tribes nation-wide on a wide array of wildlife and habitat conservation issues, particularly western water issues, bison conservation, protecting tribal resources from energy extraction, ensuring equity for tribes in federal natural resource legislation and appropriations, and providing environmental education and outdoor opportunities for tribal youth. Since 2004, he has partnered with tribes to protect the ecological and cultural values of the Colorado River. Prior to his current tenure, Garrit served as NWF’s bison coordinator and as a tribal conservation consultant. Garrit received a Ph.D. in American Indian and environmental history from the University of Oklahoma in 2004.
Core Team Member
Ana M. Olaya (JD/LL.M) is the Managing Director of CK BlueShift, LLC a project incubation and consulting firm providing services related to water and natural resource management in the Western United States. Ana’s work focuses on advancing solutions to complex environmental issues through innovative finance, analytical research, water-based investment, market development, and water and natural resources law and policy. She is a thought leader in the environmental finance space and has always been passionate about water issues and their impact on society. Ana holds a JD degree from Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia and an LL.M Degree in Environmental Law from Tulane University, and is a member of the New York State bar.
T. Daryl Vigil
Core Team Member
Jicarilla Apache Nation (enrolled), Jemez Pueblo, Zia Pueblo, currently serves as the Water Administrator for the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Daryl is Co-facilitator Water & Tribes Initiative and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Colorado River Water Users Association. He previously served as the Chairman of the Colorado River Ten Tribes Partnership and the Interim Executive Director and official spokesperson for the Ten Tribes Partnership. He was also previously a member of the Coordination Committee of the San Juan River Recovery and Restoration Project, the past Secretary/Treasurer of the Colorado River Water Users Association, and the Chairman of the Board of the Jicarilla Apache Utility Authority. Daryl also previously held the position of President/CEO of the Apache Nugget Corporation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation’s Gaming Enterprise.
Peter W. Culp
Core Team Member
Peter Culp is the managing partner of Culp & Kelly, LLP, a mission-driven law and policy firm that is focused on addressing the critical issues surrounding water and natural resource management in the American West. He works with a broad base of clients, including foundations and non-governmental organizations, municipalities, industry, agricultural producers, and investors on issues related to water law and policy, environmental law and policy, natural resource issues, and strategic planning and policy engagement, and is involved with a range of innovative efforts and enterprises to address the growing challenges at the intersection of water and climate change.
Peter’s work has included extensive involvement in issues surrounding both the domestic and international management of the Colorado River; in connection with those efforts, Peter has been twice awarded the Partners in Conservation Award by the U.S. Department of Interior, as well as The Nature Conservancy of Arizona’s Outstanding Conservation Achievement Award and the Arizona Capitol Times’ Leader of the Year Award in Public Policy. As a nationally-recognized expert in water law and policy, he was recently inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Previously, Peter was a partner in the Phoenix office of Squire Patton Boggs LLP, where he managed the firm’s Western water and natural resources law and policy practice.
Core Team Member
Mike A. Hamman has more than 35 years of engineering and water resources management experience with focus on the upper Rio Grande basin water projects and issues. He is a registered professional engineer in New Mexico. Mike serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Engineer of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Prior to the MRGCD, Mike was with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as Area Manager with responsibilities over 13 federal water projects from the San Luis Valley in Colorado to Fort Quitman in Texas.
Mike served as a Regional Water Planner for the NM Interstate Stream Commission, as the Water Utility Director for the City of Santa Fe, and was the Water Administrator and head of the Utility Authority for the Jicarilla Apache Nation. At the Nation, he led the development of its drinking water and wastewater system rehabilitation and expansion program to serve the greater Dulce community service area that was previously managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Mike was raised in Taos and received his Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico. Mike and his family live on a small farm in Corrales, New Mexico.
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