Our Expert Staff

WRA’s team of experts has three decades of working where decisions are made, sweating the details, creating evidence-based solutions, and holding decision makers accountable.

john berggren 2019

John Berggren, Ph.D.

Regional Policy Manager


Healthy Rivers

Office Location

Boulder, Colorado

Area of Focus

John is a regional policy manager with WRA, where he develops and advances equitable policies to improve regional and inter-state water governance and management in ways that benefit rivers and the communities, recreation opportunities, and environment they support. Using his deep knowledge of Western river and water issues, he collaborates with conservation community partners, water providers, federal and state agency staff, and other decision makers to further the next generation of water management strategies.

A key focus for John is pushing policies and governing practices surrounding the Colorado River Basin to be more inclusive, equitable, and responsive, especially in the face of climate change. He works closely with colleagues and stakeholders to provide innovative ideas and suggest new ways to better manage the river to benefit the waterway itself and ensure rivers and the environment are considered in local, state, and federal decision making.

He also does extensive work to further integrate water with land-use planning and help communities become as water efficient as possible. As the Colorado River Basin is home to some of the fastest growing states in the country, he publishes reports and guidebooks, conducts outreach, and provides on-the-ground support to encourage water-efficient development. In addition to providing direct assistance to interested communities, he also supports the Sonoran Institute and Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy in facilitating workshops for municipalities, after which attendees leave with a tailored one-year action plan to meet their water-saving goals.

One of his proudest accomplishments while at WRA is partnering with the Babbitt Center and Utah State University to expand that Growing Water Smart workshop program to Utah after securing a grant from the state and collaborating with local stakeholders.


Shortly before joining WRA in 2018, John completed his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado – Boulder where he focused on sustainable and equitable water management in the Colorado River Basin.  His experience also includes researching municipal drivers of climate change adaptation, the co-production and usability of climate and hydrologic science, and understanding changes in wildfire mitigation and policy.

He serves on the city of Boulder’s Water Resources Advisory Board, is a member of the Colorado Water and Land Use Planning Alliance, and is certified as a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Master of Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University

Favorite thing about the West

Backpacking to a high-alpine lake to fly fish for cutthroat trout. And running rivers through the mountains and the desert. I guess that’s two things.

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