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Who We Are

Our Team:

Erik Wardle

Erik Wardle, Program Manager

Erik is the manager of the CSU Water Quality Program in the Soil and Crop Science Department. In this position he does extensive research, writing and Extension work related to agricultural water quality issues including; pesticide use, nutrient management, soil moisture monitoring, groundwater/surface water interactions, conservation tillage, and irrigation water management. He supports the development, validation, and promotion of agricultural Best Management Practices that allow chemical users to use these products appropriately while preventing the contamination of surface and groundwater in Colorado. He works closely with the agricultural community to ensure that research and outreach efforts provide practical, real world solutions to water quality issues in agriculture.

Emmanuel Deleon

Emmanuel Deleon, Research Associate


The main focus of this research role is edge of field monitoring and evaluating Best Management Practices on water quality. Using emerging technology such as 3D printing and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, real time data is collected to support the team’s research. Recent technology currently under development is the low cost water sampler and the temperature and humidity sensor. As a certified drone pilot, he uses NDVI and RGB mapping technology to assess field conditions throughout the growing season. He is passionate about sustainable agriculture because soil is the source of infinite life.  He is proud to work for a team that helps promote soil and water conservation.   If not in the lab, you will find him outdoors. He enjoys camping, mountain biking, disc golf, and paddling boarding.

Christina Welch

Christina Welch, Outreach and Research Coordinator

Through the Outreach and Research Coordinator position Christina is pursuing her passion for facilitating effective, science-based communication within the broader context of applied research. This role supports the validation of agricultural Better Management Practices to inform decision-making at the state and farm level in Colorado.  Specifically, she focuses on advancing collaborative efforts within the Agriculture Water Quality Program’s diverse network of water and agriculture stakeholders. Her interdisciplinary background includes program management, GIS mapping, natural resource mediation, grant writing, and strategic planning. She completed her joint master’s degree in Water Cooperation and Diplomacy from OSU, IHE-Delft, and UPeace.  In her spare time she enjoys camping, salsa dancing and trail running.


A.J. Brown, Research Associate


The focus of A.J.’s research role is in the areas of data analytics, soil-water-nutrient transport, irrigation management, and environmental monitoring technologies.  A.J. has extensive experience with using environmental data collected from commercial, or self-developed sensors to answer larger questions with data algorithms coupled with spatial mapping software.  He has a strong agronomic background from growing up on a farm. Managing research farm operations in the past allows him to better understand how his data can make a difference.  A.J. also has experience in outreach and community extension in agriculture, making it his mission to bridge the communication gap between farmers and researchers. He looks forward to making an impact with the AWQP team. In his off time, A.J. is usually found biking, cooking, or hitting up a local brewery.

Troy Bauder

Troy Bauder, Senior Advisor, Extension Water Quality

Troy serves as the Assistant Deputy Director of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station (75% appointment). In this role, Troy works directly with research center managers, faculty, and staff across the state, enhancing communication between the centers and leveraging center resources and expertise to maximize our support for Colorado agriculture. Troy has extensive experience collaborating with partner agencies and advocacy groups supporting the agricultural industry and the water community. As an Extension Water Quality Specialist (25% appointment) Troy’s research and outreach focuses on environmental issues, especially in the areas of nutrient and irrigation management to prevent nonpoint pollution in irrigated agriculture; soil fertility management; and irrigation scheduling using soil moisture and evapotranspiration methodology. Troy Bauder received his B.S. degree in Agronomy and his M.S. in Soil Science from Colorado State University. He is actively involved in the family farm in northeast Colorado.

Tad Trimarco

Tad Trimarco, Research Assistant
PhD Soil and Crop Sciences

Tad is a PhD student studying the nexus between Soil Health and Water Quality as they relate to Best Management Practices in irrigated agriculture. As an analytical person and a systems thinker, he found his niche on the team and he has loved bringing his passion to the work. His research interests include water resources, soil carbon dynamics, ecosystem services, and bringing science to producers. Tad graduated from CSU in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Soil and Crop Sciences and minors in Watershed Science and Mathematics.

Morgan Effrein

Morgan Effrein, Research Assistant
B.S. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

As a senior at Colorado State University, Morgan is studying Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, Global Environmental Sustainability and Sustainable Water Interdisciplinary. She is passionate about finding economically feasible solutions regarding water quality challenges through public information, participation and mitigation practices to better protect local watersheds. Morgan is also interested in exploring the potential implications of future water markets as we continue to face climate change challenges in the Colorado River Basin. In her free time, Morgan enjoys paddle boarding, running and skiing.

Ethan Gates

Ethan Gates, Research Assistant
B.S. Watershed Science

As a senior at Colorado State University, Ethan is studying Watershed Science and Soil Science. He is passionate about improving water quality and soil sustainability. Through the Student Researcher position, he is able to get hands on experience in the water quality field. His research interests include developing best management practices for a wide variety of water quality scenarios. He is also interested in post fire assessment and mine reclamation. In his spare time, Ethan enjoys spending time outdoors. His hobbies include skiing, mountain biking, and camping.

Christina Lilligren

Christina Lilligren, Research Assistant

B.S. Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

As a senior at Colorado State University, Christina is studying Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and Geospatial Information Science. She is passionate about educating people on low cost technology as well as creating and implementing low cost technology. Through the CSU Extension internship she hopes to get experience in the field and in the lab building and implementing low cost technology in order to conduct research on soil health and water quality. In her spare time, she likes to hike, camp, garden, and birdwatch.

Justin Holis, Research Assistant

B.S. Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Justin is a junior in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, minoring in Watershed Science and Sustainable Water. Justin is passionate about the intersections of urban areas and the environment aiming to utilize urban agriculture to improve water quality. With a diverse set of interests, Justin sits on the board of directors for Fort Collins Audubon Society and is the Co-President of the CSU Field Ornithology club. Justin has focused most of his career on using GIS for public land management, strategizing noxious weed management practice and riparian restoration using spatial information and data collection. In his free time, Justin explores the outdoors through mountain biking, snowboarding, and hiking. In the evenings you may catch him playing music at your local bar!

Mia Morones, Research Assistant

B.S. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

As a junior at Colorado State University, Mia is studying Environmental and Natural Resource Economics with minors in Agricultural Business and Sustainable Water interdisciplinary. She is excited to explore the connection between economics and best management practices of water quality issues in agricultural operations. Through this student position Mia is looking forward to gaining experience with field work associated with water quality. In her spare time, Mia enjoys camping, skiing and rock climbing.

Melina Takvorian, Research Assistant

B.S. Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

As a junior at Colorado State University, Melina is studying Ecosystem Science and Sustainability with a minor in Spanish and International Development. She values holistic thinking and approaches to problem solving. Melina is a caring, enthusiastic, self-starter who loves meeting new people. She hopes to take her knowledge of environmental science and Spanish to promote the conservation of global environmental systems through travelling and working with communities in need. Through the Research Assistant position, Melina hopes to build her skillset in taking field data and engaging in community outreach and education.

Contact Us

For general questions about the AWQP please email

Past Student Staff

Nik Radtke
Research Assistant
B.S. Ecosystem Science & Sustainability

As a systems thinker, Nik thrives in interdisciplinary and collaborative work environments, which represents this program. His focus is in best management practices in the agricultural sector, particularly in ecological monitoring on pasture and rangeland ecosystems. He has a strong passion for the intersection of communities and natural resource conservation, and hope to make a positive impact in those areas throughout his career.

AWQP Staff: Colorado Department of Agriculture

Rob Wawrzynski, Program Manager

Karl Mauch, Groundwater Monitoring Specialist

Lucas Howard, Surface Water Monitoring Specialist

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Colorado Department of Agriculture


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