Colorado Water Trust is thrilled to announce this year’s David Getches Flowing Waters Award will go to former CWCB Section Chief, Linda Bassi.
Linda was not just a fixture at the Stream and Lakes Protection Section of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), she is a primary reason why Colorado Water Trust and its streamflow restoration colleagues are where we are today. Throughout her career, she was an innovative, courageous, and determined champion for the health of our precious Colorado waterways.
Like many of us, Linda came from elsewhere, in her case Chicago. After graduating from Columbia College, studying photography, she became a medical photographer at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she photographed medical procedures, injured and ill people, and hospital events. That experience inspired her to go to law school, where she graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology. Linda is the daughter of a former Chicago cop and sister of a deputy sheriff, and that upbringing gave her the incredible grit that made her so successful in working with state legislators, board members, and water rights holders. She earned the respect of CWCB board members and many traditional “water buffaloes” many times over, with her astute yet courteous approach to conflict.
Linda worked at the Attorney General’s Office from 1995 to 2004, where she represented the CWCB to adjudicate, acquire, and protect instream flow water rights. She worked to shape the Instream Flow Program as it exists today through unique appropriations, and was a principal author of the 1999 update of the Rules Governing Colorado’s Instream Flow and Natural Lake Level Program. She then represented CWCB staff at the first administrative hearing for an instream flow appropriation under the new rules.
Linda began working with the Stream and Lake Protection Section at the CWCB in September of 2004, after leaving the Department of Law, quickly becoming Section Chief. As Section Chief, Linda was responsible for all areas of Colorado’s Instream Flow and Natural Lake Level Program, which included new appropriations and acquisitions of instream flow water rights, legal protection, monitoring and enforcement of instream flow water rights, and development of legislation, policies, and rules related to the program. Her testimony and participation in the legislative and administrative processes year after year were instrumental in creating major developments to the Instream Flow Program. She has often defended and protected the Program from critics and those looking to reduce its effectiveness.
She has always been a strong advocate for the environment – it was what drew her to the CWCB to work on instream flows. She thoughtfully considered the balance of nature and humans, and attempted to change Colorado’s tradition of leaning more toward accommodating the needs of man over those of nature.
Congratulations from all of us at Colorado Water Trust!
Join us for RiverBank on September 13th for the presentation of the David Getches Flowing Waters Award to Linda Bassi.