Our Team

CWH employs professionals with expertise and experience in watershed resource planning using GIS, green infrastructure, environmental assessment and community engagement. 

Eileen Alduenda
Executive Director

Eileen Alduenda is responsible for management of the Elmer Paseo construction and maintenance. She also provides support for projects seeking to integrate LID principles and practices into site design. Eileen has an MLA with a focus on urban ecological systems from the University of Washington where she also completed research for Seattle Public Utilities on Natural Drainage Systems – SPU’s approach to Low Impact Development. 

Prior to joining the Council, she was the Watershed Coordinator for the Arroyo Seco Foundation where she facilitated restoration education programs and projects. Previously, Eileen worked for the Tucson Institute for Sustainable Communities developing and managing community initiatives on green building, energy and water conservation education, and rainwater harvesting projects. She also worked for Conservation Services Group as a Business Development Specialist for energy and water utility demand-side management programs. 

Eileen graduated from Boston University with an MA in Energy and Environmental Studies, and from California State University at Fullerton with a BA in Political Science.  She is currently working on redesigning her home landscape to capture rain water. When not in the garden, she is on the lookout for school landscapes designed to engage students with natural processes.

Contact: Eileen@watershedhealth.org

Jason Casanova
Director, Planning &
Information Design

As the Director of Planning and Informational Design at the Council, Jason currently oversees mapping and visualization activities across the Council's programs. Jason has been implementing local and regional invasive plant mapping and long-term monitoring initiatives for over ten years and is presently active in the Los Angeles County WMA.  His past work included projects that drove the compilation and development of a comprehensive invasive plant GIS database for the Los Angeles Region, a standardized Arundo dataset for the Southern and Central California coast, and an outreach campaign that supported land managers and educated residents on local invasive plant issues.

Jason has a background in physical geography with an emphasis in cartography and visualization. He received his B.A. in Geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999. Previous to working at the Council, he was a Research Associate at the Geographic Modeling Systems Lab where he was involved in various GIS related projects tied to quality assurance/ quality control measures, historic aerial photo restoration, urban growth series mapping, watershed management, and 3D hydrologic modeling. In his spare time, Jason is the president of the California Invasive Plant Council (a statewide 501(c)3 non-profit) and he is a long-standing member of NACIS, SCGIS, and AAG. He digs tiki, mid-century design, and loud music. Aloha!

 

Contact: Cas@watershedhealth.org

Rumi Yanakiev
Director, Finance & Operations

Rumi was the first employee of the Council. She has taken on various responsibilities throughout the years of the organization’s existence, contributing tremendously to the organization’s growth. She is currently managing the business and financial affairs of the Council, including nonprofit auditing,  and providing technical assistance to projects. Prior to joining the Council she was an Assistant Researcher at USC where she completed her Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. Rumi also received a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of
Sophia, Bulgaria.

Contact: Rumi@watershedhealth.org

Yareli Sanchez 
Senior Scientist

Yareli Sanchez is the technical lead on CWH's applied research projects. She provides technical expertise on stream and green infrastructure monitoring. She has a well-rounded and multidisciplinary understanding of environmental issues and has honed her expertise in science communication and community engagement while at CWH. Yareli manages the Los Angeles River Watershed Monitoring Program and the monitoring, outreach, and educational components of the Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools (DROPS). She also played a critical role in materializing CWH's 2018 and 2019 symposia. 

 

Yareli's academic research has focused on biogeochemical cycling, urban ecology, riparian ecology, and plant ecophysiology. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Environmental Science and Engineering Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation is focused on: identifying metrics of stream and upland habitat health, quantifying the habitat value of green infrastructure projects in the urban core, and understanding recreational uses along the Los Angeles River using social media data and expert interviews. Yareli's previous research focused on trace gas fluxes in mangrove forest, sediment augmentation as a sea level rise mitigation strategy, and the ecophysiological stress response of salt marsh plants to inundation.

Yareli was previously a NOAA Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate where she had the opportunity to gain hands on experience crafting policy solutions to water resource challenges, engaging constituents and federal agencies on environmental issues, and in elevating state priorities through the federal appropriations process. 

 

She received her M.S. in ecology from San Diego State University and a B.S. in Biology from California State University, Fullerton. Yareli is looking forward to completing her dissertation. 

Contact: yareli@watershedhealth.org

Drew Ready 
Senior Project Manager

Mr. Ready is a Certified Arborist, Water Conservation Specialist, and Watershed Coordinator with over twenty years of experience in the fields of arboriculture, urban forestry, horticulture, ecological restoration and landscape design. He served as the Department of Conservation funded Watershed Coordinator (Los Angeles/San Gabriel Watersheds) at CWH for 11 years where he led innovative initiatives including the Sustainable Landscape Seminars, the Landscaping Lightly calendar series, the Weed Watch invasive plant education program, and the PlantProfiler
native/water-efficient plant app. Mr. Ready helped co-develop LAUSD’s Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools (DROPS) that was successfully awarded five million dollars for stormwater improvements at six elementary schools. Most recently, Drew was the Conservation Programs Manager
at Chino Basin Water Conservation District in Montclair before returning to CWH in July 2019.

Contact: drew@watershedhealth.org

Courtney Bonilla
Staff Scientist

Courtney Bonilla provides support towards the Council for Watershed Health’s efforts of science-based research and project monitoring. More specifically, projects aimed at monitoring water quality (i.e. LARWMP). She graduated from Chapman University with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy and a minor in Computer Science.

Her undergraduate research focused mainly on marine ecosystems and climate change. As a student researcher at Chapman, she studied the effects of climate change on the predatory responses of California sea hares. She also interned with NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries in Honolulu, Hawaii where she used remote sensing to compare satellite data with ocean floor data to better understand the optimal conditions of NOAA’s underwater sensor.

Prior to working at the Council, Courtney worked for Irvine Ranch Water District, conducting bioassessment surveys using benthic macroinvertebrates and monitoring the water quality of constructed treatment wetlands in the San Diego Creek Watershed.

She enjoys going to the beach, hiking, music, and keeping up with irrelevant celebrity news.

Contact: courtney@watershedhealth.org

Clarasophia Gust
Project Coordinator

Clarasophia Gust provides support towards the Council for Watershed Health’s monitoring projects, community events, and technical assistance for green infrastructure. She recently graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Biology with an Environmental Science emphasis and a minor in Philosophy. 

 

During her undergraduate studies, she conducted ecological ethics research driven by her interest in how ecologists can cultivate meaningful connections between nature and communities, and how scientific research can be better communicated to implicated communities. She also studied mangrove crabs in Tanzania, lichen communities in Joshua Tree National Park, and native bees in Southern California. Clarasophia interned with the Society for Ecological Restoration where she expanded their database of global restoration projects, compiled resources for practitioners, and provided support to their practitioner certification program. In the future, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D in Urban Ecology. 

 

In her free time, Clarasophia enjoys camping and playing Ultimate Frisbee. 

Contact: cgust@watershedhealth.org

Elise Eberhard 
GIS Analyst & Digital Communication

At the Council, Elise provides support in communications, geographic information science and community outreach. She recently graduated from Cal State University Northridge, having received her B.A. in Geographic Information Science and minoring in Sustainability.

 

During her undergraduate studies, she served as Vice President on her school’s Associated Students’ Sustainability Committee, where she learned about student outreach and campus operations. She has also worked on GIS projects related to wetland restoration, irrigation management, hydrography, invasive plant mapping and groundwater pollution risk. In the future, she hopes to pursue a degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s in Geographic Information Systems. 

 

She is passionate about addressing climate change, social justice, lifestyle change and sustainable urban design. She likes traveling, camping, cats and good vegan food!

Contact: eeberhard@watershedhealth.org

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Council for Watershed Health

177 E. Colorado Blvd, Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91105

(213) 229-9945

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Council for Watershed Health (CWH) is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization. Contributions to CWH are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

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