Chris ObroptaChristopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E. is the Extension Specialist in Water Resources with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and he is a Professor with the Department of Environmental Sciences at the School of Environmental & Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. He has a doctorate in Civil Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Rutgers, Dr. Obropta was an environmental consultant for 12 years at Omni Environmental Corporation.   Dr. Obropta has a background in watershed management, water quality modeling, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, and coastal engineering.  His specific experience includes watershed restoration, onsite wastewater treatment system design and management, wasteload allocations and TMDL studies, stormwater management, wetland design, effluent dilution analyses, longshore sediment transport, computer-aided design, and geographic information systems (GIS). He teaches Bioresource Engineering Design I & II, where he directs student design teams to develop solutions to complex real-life engineering problems.

With his extensive and impressive background Dr. Obropta leads his highly specialized team of professional staff who are determined to create innovative solutions to water quality issues in New Jersey.

Room 232, 848-932-5711,

Lisa Galloway Evrard, Senior Program Coordinator, has an extensive background in aquatic biology, water quality modeling and monitoring, statistical data analysis, and education. After graduating from Lehigh University with a B.A. in Biology and a M.S. in Ecology from Rutgers University, she worked as an environmental consultant for ten years. Her work as an environmental consultant focused on the development, implementation, and analysis of biological and physicochemical stream assessment and modeling studies, the development of site-specific water quality criteria and modification of permit limits, as well as the preparation of environmental assessments and environmental impact statements. Prior to joining the Water Resources Program in 2002, she was the Assistant Director of the Math & Science Learning Center and the Transfer Student Coordinator for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Transfer Student Office at Rutgers University for four years. She was instrumental in the implementation of science education outreach programs for students and teachers in grades K-12 at the Math & Science Learning Center. She was also instrumental in developing and providing academic support services for new transfer students to the University, especially those enrolled in math and/or science courses. Her role in the Water Resources Program is to develop and implement Extension water quality and outreach programs, among other watershed management programs. Additionally, Ms. Evrard’s background in water quality monitoring and biological assessments proves to be invaluable in our watershed assessment efforts.

Room 105, 848-932-6726,

JB Jeremiah Bergstrom, LLA, ASLA, Senior Research Project Manager, is a licensed Landscape Architect with a background in green infrastructure, stormwater best management practice design, native plant materials, ecological restoration, watershed  planning, GIS and data management. He has extensive experience  in design and implementation of distributed and disconnected  stormwater management strategies in urban and suburban  landscapes.  He has an in-depth background in the inventory and  analysis of natural, recreational, historic, and scenic resources in  regional and watershed planning.  Jeremiah has been responsible  for design development, environmental permitting, construction  documents, technical specifications, cost estimating, public bidding, and construction administration of multiple landscape design, stormwater management, and ecological restoration projects. Jeremiah frequently facilitates planning and design efforts for multi-discipline collaborations and implements a majority of his work in partnership with nonprofit, academic, municipal, and county entities.  Jeremiah also conducts training programs and lectures on green infrastructure strategies, rain garden design, and water conservation as well as environmentally sensitive and sustainable site planning.

Room 226, 848-932-5708,

SaraSara Mellor, Program Associate, graduated in May 2010 from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with a B.S. in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behaviors.  Sara interned with the Water Resources Program from May 2009 to May 2010 and has worked part time as a Program Coordinator with the Water Resources Program from May 2010 to May 2011.  During the internship and tenure as a Program Coordinator, Sara has participated in water quality sampling, flow monitoring, and stream visual assessments for watershed restoration and protection plans, assisted in the coordination, construction, and maintenance of rain gardens, helped develop and run rain barrel workshops, organized the "One Barrel at a Time Co-op," created flyers, press releases, and other forms of promotional materials for the program, supported Water Resources Program staff in community educational outreach projects, supervised project volunteers, researched ways to inform the public about the importance of conserving water, and contributed to the development of evaluation tools to measure programmatic impact.  As a Program Associate with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, Sara will be coordinating and presenting rain barrel workshops throughout New Jersey, designing, constructing, and coordinating the installation of rain gardens and natural landscaped systems throughout New Jersey, and participating in community and youth outreach projects pertaining to water resources.

Room 216, 848-932-6747,



Rosana Da Silva, Program Associate, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program.  Rosana graduated in May 2011 from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Education and graduated in January 2016 from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with an Education Masters (Ed.M.) in Science Education.  Rosana interned with the Water Resources Program from May 2010 to August 2011.  During her internship, Rosana developed and delivered educational outreach programs to urban communities throughout New Jersey.  Rosana has participated in the construction and maintenance of rain gardens, assisted in rain barrel workshops, and developed evaluation tools to measure the impact of outreach programs delivered.  As a Program Associate, Rosana continues to develop, deliver, and evaluate educational and outreach programs to address water resources issues in New Jersey. Rosana also organizes, coordinates, and builds partnerships to establish municipal action teams focusing on green infrastructure initiatives within New Jersey's urban communities. She provides support to the Water Resources Program's marketing and social media engagement activities to increase awareness of water resources in the state and continues to participate in the planning, construction oversight, and maintenance of green infrastructure projects.

Room 105, 848-932-6714,


Chris Perez, Program Associate, graduated in 2014, with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University.  He started at the Water Resources Program as an intern just prior to graduating. While interning, he applied technical skills to contribute to the planning and design of one of the first public green infrastructure projects in the City of Newark.  As a full-time staff member, he provides conceptual and technical design input for green infrastructure and urban stormwater management projects across the state of New Jersey.  He develops design documents including feasibility studies, conceptual renderings, and construction documents. As a member of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Chris provides technical and graphic expertise in support of community outreach and design workshops, in addition to green infrastructure feasibility assessment and project implementation.

Room 105, 848-932-6724,


Michelle Hartmann, Program Associate, graduated in May 2014, with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) from Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Her undergraduate academic work focused on ways to inspire community activism for environmental change through landscape design and community outreach. Recently, Michelle was awarded a Merit Award from the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NJASLA) for her undergraduate academic thesis.  As part of the George H. Cook Scholars program, the project was developed to re-envision sustainable campus planning from the student perspective. Throughout her experience, Michelle developed technical skills in AutoCAD/AutoCAD Architecture, Adobe Suite, and ArcGIS to aid in the development of site design.  Following graduation, Michelle joined the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program in September of 2014 to assist with the design of green infrastructure and further develop her skills in community outreach throughout New Jersey.

Room 105, 848-932-6711,

Hollie DiMuro
, Program Associate, graduated in May 2015 from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey with a B.S. in Environmental Planning and Design and a minor in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behaviors. Hollie interned with the Water Resources Program from May 2014 to July 2015. During her internship, Hollie assisted with rain barrel workshops, participated in the construction and maintenance of rain gardens, and she assisted with the design of stormwater best management practices and green infrastructure practices for municipalities within the Raritan River Basin. In her role as a Program Associate, Hollie will be providing technical support to the Water Resources Program by organizing and coordinating municipal action teams to promote green stormwater infrastructure in New Jersey's urban and suburban communities. She also will be assisting the Water Resources Program with grant management and project resource allocation.

Room 105, 848-932-6728,


Matthew Leconey, Program Associate, graduated in May 2016 from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in Bioenvironmental Engineering. Matt interned with the Water Resources Program from September 2014 to May 2016 assisting with impervious cover assessments and impervious cover reduction action plans for the Raritan River basin.  He also helped with the development of construction documents for green infrastructure practices.  As a full-time staff member, he provides engineering expertise and technical design for green infrastructure practices across the state of New Jersey.

Room 105, 848-932-6716,






Elizabeth Pyshnik, Program Associate, graduated in May 2016 with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and an undergraduate certificate in geomatics from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.  Her undergraduate studies focused on the effects of pollution in the natural environment, modeling the fate of pollution, and exploring remediation solutions.  With the Water Resources Program she helps prepare impervious cover reduction action plans for central New Jersey towns, prepares design plans for green infrastructure and habitat remediation projects in New Jersey, and provides GIS expertise

Room 216, 848-932-6710, 




Rahman Faizur Rafique, Postdoctoral Associate, has a multidisciplinary background with extensive research experiences in various fields of Environmental Sciences focusing on water treatment, wastewater treatment, water processing and quality monitoring. After completing his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology, he worked as a Research Associate at the University of Dhaka on characterization and synthesis of important industrial petrochemical products until he earned the Japan Government Scholarship for a specialized program on Environmental Toxicology, Technology and Management for his second master’s degree under Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. The Environmental Toxicology program was organized by world class experts in their individual fields from U.S.A, Canada, European Union, Japan, and the host Thailand. He also worked as a researcher at the Environmental Toxicology Lab for a year during the program to locate waste disposal sites including leakages and collecting samples of air, water, and soil around sites, analyzed in GC-FID and GC-MS to determine the amount of BTEX of a petroleum refinery industry. After graduating with an M.S. in Environmental Toxicology, Technology and Management, he started working as a Research Associate in Environmental Nanotechnology and Environmental Microbiology departments jointly of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) where he synthesized ZnO nano particles in various processes to degrade industrial dyes to treat the textile wastewater and also to investigate the toxic effect of ZnO nano particles on microbes present in groundwater. On his journey of research career, he joined with Professor Dr. K Siddique-e-Rabbani in his lab (Department of Biomedical Physics & Technology of University of Dhaka) as a Research Fellow of Bose Centre for Advance Study & Research in Natural Science and worked on the development of sustainable and economic techniques for drinking water treatment for developing countries, until he got the offer for doctoral studies in South Korea. He started his doctoral studies in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Kumoh National Institute of Technology, South Korea in the water environmental laboratory. He had worked as a Research Associate in the water environment laboratory involving actively in various research projects such as Nokdong river water quality, Submerged Plasma Irradiation (SPI) process for water treatment, textile, and electronics industrial wastewater monitoring, rainwater harvesting, other nonpoint sources monitoring, and the issue of environmental impact assessment in Korea. He had assisted his doctoral advisor in supervising his graduate level research students. As a teaching assistant he had taught Physico-chemical Treatment Processes for Wastewater, Biological Treatment Processes for Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Advanced Wastewater Treatment Processes and Clean Technology. He had taught these subjects to both undergraduate and graduate level students. In February 2015, he completed his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and moved to New Jersey, USA and started working as a volunteer researcher for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and also the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), until recently he joined the Water Resources Program. Additionally, Mr. Rafique’s educational background in multi-disciplinary fields of Environmental Sciences and long experiences in water research prove to be invaluable to the Water Resources Program.

Room 216, 848-932-6727,

Water Resources Program  at Rutgers NJAES