Our People

Aaron Derwingson

Water Projects Director, Colorado River Program

Salida, CO

Aaron Derwingson headshot.

Aaron Derwingson Aaron is The Nature Conservancy's Water Projects Director, Colorado River Program. © The Nature Conservancy

Areas of Expertise

River conservation, agricultural water use, partnership building, water policy, social science


Aaron Derwingson


Aaron’s experience in water and his passion for river conservation goes back to years spent guiding raft trips on the Klamath, Sacramento and other rivers throughout the western U.S. After completing a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Oregon, Aaron moved to Colorado, where he served as the stewardship director for the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust. In this role, Aaron helped protect working agricultural lands, wildlife habitat and water resources along the mighty Rio Grande and its tributaries. After receiving a second, more hands-on education in irrigation water use from the farmers and ranchers along the Rio Grande, Aaron joined The Nature Conservancy in 2012 on a two-year fellowship to build relationships with agricultural producers and test new approaches to water management in the Colorado River Basin.

Now as the Water Projects Director for TNC’s Colorado River Program, Aaron continues to focus on building partnerships and creating pragmatic, solution-oriented approaches to freshwater challenges that deliver benefits for agriculture, communities and the health of the rivers that we all rely on. In his time at TNC, Aaron has piloted water banking and other tools for flexible water management, conducted field research on the agronomic and environmental impacts of reduced irrigation, evaluated alternative low-water-use crops and upgraded irrigation water use to help improve river flows.

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