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Water, Drought, & the Future of Agriculture in the American West

September 12, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Telluride Foundation and Colorado Water Trust present: Water, Drought and the Future of Agriculture in the West—a conversation with agriculturalists actively working on water conservation solutions.

Join the Colorado Water Trust and the Telluride Foundation for a panel discussion where we dive deep into the challenges faced by Colorado agriculturalists given the ongoing water crisis. Learn about the impact of water scarcity and drought and how ranchers and farmers are rethinking how they use and depend on water. Between population growth, climate change causing extreme drought conditions, and the over-use of Colorado River Basin water supplies, a complex set of interrelated problems are stacking up and will clearly impact all of us living in the West. The panel will share their own experiences and discuss innovative solutions that are shaping the way we grow crops, raise cattle, manage water, and sustain our communities.

Hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available, and the panelists for this conversation include:

Kathleen Curry—Kathleen has been working in the water field since the early 90s and currently owns a small governmental affairs consulting business. Kathleen and her husband Greg Peterson own and operate a cow/calf operation on Tomichi and Razor Creeks in eastern Gunnison County. She obtained a graduate degree in Water Resources Planning and Management from Colorado State University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Kathleen also served in the Colorado House of Representatives for three terms, and chaired the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources for five of her six years at the Capitol. She sits on the Gunnison Basin Roundtable and serves on the Colorado River District’s board of directors.

Marsha Daughenbaugh—Marsha is part of a multi-generational ranching family, based in the Elk River Valley near Steamboat Springs. Marsha’s professional career of over 40 years included 25+ years with USDA Farm Service Agency and 15 years as Executive Director of Community Agriculture Alliance, a non-profit serving Northwest Colorado. She has been instrumental in developing and implementing community-based programs, meetings, workshops, tours and educational opportunities that underscore the importance of agriculture to the economy and culture of Colorado. She worked closely with the Yampa-White-Green Roundtable for 12 years, helping formulate and administer their public education and outreach programs in Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt Counties. Although retired from paid positions, Marsha remains a passionate activist for agriculture, open space, working landscapes, the protection of healthy, abundant natural resources and local community.

Rob Lindner—Rob owns the Lindner Ranches near Pagosa Springs and is a researcher and project manager, he has lived and worked globally with many collaborative groups, and with many cultures including Indigenous Peoples. He honed his environmental and scientific basis at the University of Montana studying Wildlife Biology. Joining academic and government research projects, he explored conflict and trade-offs in conservation. Working for NGOs like TNC and WWF, he gained an appreciation for the power of collaboration and partnership, and the power of GIS. He developed a fascination for and expertise in monitoring and evaluation, in particular outcomes and impact, at Imperial College London. Rob has experience in a wide range of sustainability topics including ecotourism, ranching and land management, real estate remediation and development, conservation and community development, and corporate sustainability.

Sajun Folsom—Sajun has been a rancher in Southwest Colorado for the last 10 years with the majority of his focus on his cow/calf operation. In 2018, his family bought their ranch and started implementing regenerative practices that were designed to increase biodiversity and capture water. The use of swales, ponds, and the building of topsoil has made the ranch much more drought resistant. He is interested in seeing these practices used on much larger scales to help mitigate the effects of drought on the ecosystem and environment.

Kate Ryan (moderator)—Kate is a water lawyer and Executive Director of Colorado Water Trust. As a lawyer, the very first case she took through water court was for the Colorado Water Trust’s Three Sisters Ditch project on Hermosa Creek. Kate’s past clients included farmers, ranchers, municipalities, landowners, the CWCB and the Water Trust itself. Before going to Berkeley Law she obtained a master’s degree in geography at the University of Colorado and worked as an associate scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Kate does her work at the Colorado Water Trust in order to support that which she holds most dear–our incredible state and the people within, the beautiful rivers and mountains we explore, and a future for her kids where they can experience a continuation of it all.

This in-person event will be held at the Telluride Arts District, Gallery West, 224 West Colorado Avenue, Telluride, CO. Don’t miss this chance to learn from experts and connect with fellow members of the water community!

Register online.

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