After five and a half years, I’m leaving the Water Trust to pursue a new opportunity in Southwest Colorado working with The Nature Conservancy. I’ll still be working to support our rivers, just with more of a local focus. Five years might not seem like a long time, especially in the Colorado water world where projects may take twice that long to develop – but in that time, a LOT has happened. The State of Colorado embraced its first ever comprehensive Water Plan, the System Conservation Pilot Program demonstrated large-scale voluntary use reductions in the Colorado River Basin, we’ve watched continued drying of the West, the Water Trust and its partners developed and utilized new legal tools, and we restored over 33,000 acre-feet of water to Colorado’s rivers during critical times of need. The Water Trust’s projects often support water uses beyond the environment, and I’m proud to say that our project work supports municipal, agricultural, recreational, and industrial water uses across the state.
I’ve truly enjoyed working with dedicated partners and colleagues at Colorado Water Trust to address flow shortages using collaborative and innovative approaches – our tight-knit community has taught me just how flexible Colorado water law can be when water users are willing to embrace change and adaptation. The Water Trust has moved the needle for flow restoration work over the past 20 years, but that change has happened slowly (it is water work, after all). The benefits that the Water Trust offers to streams and to all Coloradans grow each year, and likewise, the community engaged in supporting our rivers grows too.
One thing is clear, Colorado’s rivers will face additional demands moving forward and the ecological impacts of flow stress will be far-reaching, beyond the many rivers that we see dry up year after year. Flow restoration efforts that support imperiled streams become more important every day – and it’s vital that we continue to develop flow restoration projects that increase flexibility for traditional water uses as well. If you’re looking to get involved and stay up-to-date on the Water Trust’s work, I recommend joining the Tributaries Program to provide critical monthly support to the organization. If you own water rights and you’re curious about opportunities to support streamflow – reach out to the Programs Team to discuss ideas (confidentially, of course).
I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for my colleagues at the Water Trust that drive flow restoration work statewide, the partners that make it possible, the Board of Directors that guides the Water Trust forward, and the supporters that continue to step up to keep our rivers flowing strong. Keep it up – and keep in touch!