I joined the Board of Directors of the Colorado Water Trust (CWT) in the fall of 2022, and since that time I have learned so much about the organization that I did not know and appreciate before I joined the Board, and I am using this opportunity to share with you some of what I have learned.
When I joined the Board, I was well aware of the good work that CWT does for Colorado river systems, and the benefit CWT provides by adding stream flows to support habitat and recreational opportunities. I knew that those benefits include water added to fragile stream systems such as the Yampa River, when and where those flows are needed the most. I knew that CWT is skilled in accomplishing its mission within the constraints of the complicated Colorado water rights administrative system. I have worked for decades on the technical side of the messy and sometimes tedious world of Colorado water rights, and I was excited to contribute my knowledge and expertise to CWT projects.
What I did not know and appreciate when I joined the Board was the careful attention that CWT takes to consider the people that are served by its mission, and the relationships that the CWT team of professionals develop to make the magic happen. The partnerships and projects that are developed by CWT staff require creativity and relationship building, and I have witnessed the skilled team develop targeted projects that benefit Coloradans from all walks of life.
I have learned that CWT very much considers who their projects benefit, including not only the geographical diversity of water users in the many drainage basins in the State, but also populations that are diverse by any number of metrics. CWT is careful to ensure that the beneficiaries are as diverse as the streams in our State, whether flowing through wilderness, farmland, or large cities. CWT has recently partnered with the University of Denver to develop an impressive decision-making tool to help ensure that populations from all walks of life are served by its mission and hard work, and that tool will benefit the CWT and the population of Colorado moving forward.
In my short time on the Board, I have learned that the magic is all about the people involved. Now in it’s 23rd year of operation, the CWT team continues to evolve to meet future challenges and I am confident that the future is bright under the leadership of Kate Ryan and her skilled team. The CWT team, including staff and the Board, is an impressive group of people, and they work hard with an impressive list of partners to develop meaningful solutions. I mentioned previously the nuance of Colorado water rights and administration, and indeed navigating that system is important, but having the right team and partners to develop the targeted relationships, benefitting all types of people, is equally important. Of course, the environment and ecology in our Colorado stream systems benefit from the hard work of the CWT, but I now have a greater appreciation of the human interactions that occur to make our projects succeed in a way that intentionally includes all Coloradans. It’s all about the people involved, and the Colorado Water Trust has the right team and leadership in place to make the magic happen, now and in the future.
Board Member, Colorado Water Trust
BBA Water Consultants, Inc.