Great Plains Waterkeeper Network


Nicolas Benedict
[email protected]
(303) 981-2501


The Great Plains is a massive biogeographic region with an integrated system of rivers, lakes and streams. The best way to protect these natural resources is with a regional network of grassroots, community-based WATERKEEPERs® working together. The GPWN provides extensive support to all of its individual members to address their unique challenges and to coordinate efforts to combat threats faced by all.

Dr. Nicolas Benedict is the the Executive Director of the GPWN.  Having grown up on the Roaring Fork River in the Colorado Rockies, he has been involved with water related issues his entire life.  He has worked in a multitude of industries, including; Ranching, Construction, Commercial Real Estate, Ski Industry, Biotech, Research, Education and Manufacturing.  He has built companies, managed gravel pit operations, developed reclamation plans, built functional networks of ponds, streams and wetlands.  Dr. Benedict has a BA in Environmental Science and PhD in Biology (Conservation Biology), both from the University of Denver and extensive training in Biology, Ecology, Molecular Genetics (Conservation Genetics), Geology, Geomorphology, Soils, Hydrology, Endangered Species, Invasive Species and Wetlands.  His doctoral work focused on addressing conservation issues through the use of molecular tools to clarify taxonomic uncertainties and better understand metapopulation dynamics. His primary research was on Leopard Frogs and Sage Grouse throughout the western US.  Leopard Frogs are a classic semi-aquatic indicator species whose presence, absence or abundance can be informative regarding the health of their environment when their underlying metapopulation dynamics are understood.  Sage Grouse are one of the most contentious species in the western US and are often referred to as the spotted owl of the plains.  His molecular characterizations to clarify many of their taxonomic and genetic questions have been a primary component of litigation in both state and federal cases. 


4819 East Links Drive
Centennial, Colorado 80122