About Us / River Stewards

River Stewards

River Stewards is an outreach group of the Roaring Fork Conservancy. Its mission is to inspire young river enthusiasts ages 24-40 to explore, value and protect the Roaring Fork Watershed. 

Objective: Protect the Roaring Fork Watershed by focusing on water quantity, water quality and riverfront/riparian habitat protection. The River Stewards work to educate young river enthusiasts of the aspects of the Roaring Fork Watershed and encourage them to get involved. 


Want to get involved and support the River Stewards?

  1. Learn more about being a member of the River Stewards and its benefits
  2. Join RFC's mailing list and receive River Currents (semi-annual newsletter) and River Notes (monthly email update).
  3. Connect with us on Facebook
  4. Register for an event
  5. Make a one-time donation
  6. Volunteer or sponsor an event 

Steering Committee


Alyssa Drake grew up in Golden, Colorado, where her deep appreciation and respect for the outdoors started early in life. She attended the University of Arizona, earning a B.S. in Natural Resources focusing on Conservation Biology. During her summers in college, Alyssa came to the Roaring Fork Valley, where she worked as a raft guide on the Colorado River in Glenwood. After graduating, her passion for outdoor pursuits and love for the RFV led her to work as a ski instructor at Buttermilk during the winter months. Whether she's skiing in the winter or rafting in the summer, Alyssa can always be found immersed in water-related activities. Spending extensive time on the river sparked Alyssa's desire to pursue a career in river conservation. Alyssa is excited to combine her passion for conservation and outdoor recreation to ensure we can enjoy these rivers for generations to come.


ALEX HELLER is a river engineer with RiverRestoration in Carbondale. Alex grew up in Buena Vista, CO, where she developed a deep appreciation for the mountains through trail running, backpacking, hunting, and snowboarding. She received her B.S. in civil engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and worked in Denver for several years before finally relocating back to the mountains to focus on stream restoration projects. Since moving to the Roaring Fork Valley, Alex has enjoyed being a part of a community that cares so much for its watershed. She is excited to bring her engineering knowledge and passion for outdoor recreation to the River Stewards team.






Chase Ellsperman is a GIS Analyst for the City of Aspen. He spent his youth exploring the many valleys and peaks of the Roaring Fork watershed and developing a strong conservation ethic. He is a lifelong hunter and angler, and a product of RFC's youth education programs which educate the valley's schools. These days, you’ll most often find Chase bushwhacking to discover a new section of fishable water or rock to scramble up. He studied Environmental Science and GIS at Fort Lewis College in Durango, then spent a few years working seasonally for the U.S. Forest Service before landing back in the valley. He hopes to put his wide range of experiences to good use with the River Stewards and looks forward to giving back to the watershed that has provided him so much.




NICK KILBOURN is a design engineer with Sopris Engineering.  Nick is originally from Burlington, VT and obtained his B.S.in Civil Engineering from Norwich University. Nick’s appreciation for the mountains began at an early age, skiing and fishing in the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Since moving to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2005, Nick has had the pleasure of working closely with many of Colorado’s western municipalities, guiding their infrastructure master planning to balance the needs of future growth with prudent water quality practices. He is excited to bring his practical engineering perspective to the River Stewards, and advocate for water quality and environmental responsibility on behalf of RFC.





PJ MURRAY grew up in Flagstaff, AZ where rivers and water became a source of joy, adventure and a way to connect with others. Growing up appreciating water led her to attend Colorado State University for Civil Engineering with a concentration in water resource management. After graduating she moved to the Roaring Fork Valley to work for the City of Aspen Engineering Department as a project manager where she has worked on many water quality, quantity projects and educational programs, and is currently the Clean River Program Manager. You’ll often find PJ out playing in the mountains or the rivers, hiking, biking, rafting and skiing. PJ looks forward to educating, protecting and connecting with others about the Roaring Fork River, its tributaries and the importance of this resource in our lives. 







Melissa Wills is a Grants Manager for the Colorado River District – overseeing the distribution of an average of $4 million in grants annually to high impact water projects across the Western Slope of Colorado. Melissa has over eight years of nonprofit and philanthropic experience through past work with Vail Valley Foundation and El Pomar Foundation. Previously, Melissa completed the El Pomar Foundation Fellowship Program - a two-year intensive nonprofit executive and grantmaking training in Colorado Springs.  Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Denver. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, Melissa was raised to find true admiration in some of nature’s finest river flows. Melissa lives in Carbondale, CO and can frequently be found backcountry skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking in the Rockies. Melissa is excited to bring her knowledge of West Slope river projects to the River Stewards team and the Roaring Fork River. 





Contact Us

Roaring Fork Conservancy

PHONE: (970) 927-1290
EMAIL: info@roaringfork.org

PO Box 3349
Basalt, CO 81621

22800 Two Rivers Road
Basalt, CO 81621

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