My name is Josh Boissevain, and I am so excited to be joining the Colorado Water Trust team as the new Staff Attorney.
I come to the Water Trust with three years of private-practice experience in water law (and an additional year as a law clerk working at the Water Court in Greeley). I am thrilled to be taking what I’ve learned so far in my career as a water lawyer and to now be able to put it to use restoring Colorado’s rivers and streams.
In full disclosure, this actually will be my second time working for the Water Trust. During law school, I spent a semester helping out as a legal extern. Therefore, I’m happy to say “it’s great to be back!”
Water is something of a second career for me. In a past professional life I was a journalist, working first for a few local newspapers around the Front Range and then at an international news magazine based in Prague covering current events in and around Eastern Europe and Central Asia. While that was a great experience, I found myself feeling less and less connected to where I grew up and more and more wanting a career that worked towards solutions–rather than just writing about them the day after.
Growing up on a small farm and wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary on a minor tributary to the South Platte, water has always been something that has piqued my interest; so when I was looking for what to do after moving back to the U.S, a career focusing on water in the West seemed like the right fit.
And wow, was it ever!
On one hand, I am impressed by how varied and unique each person’s relationship to water can be. It is, by definition, very personal and yet also universal. We all care deeply about how water is used, even if we don’t all use it the same way; we all care that we have enough of it, and we’re willing to work together to make sure no one goes without; and we all care where our water comes from and where it goes.
At the same time, however, water is pretty hard to pin down–both literally and figuratively. It doesn’t behave like other kinds of property or resources, and it doesn’t always respect our human-imposed borders (or our intentions for it). To say the least, it’s a handful. Especially here in the West where there’s not enough to go around. I always describe water in the West as like an onion. Once you think you have an idea of how it works, there’s always another layer to pull back hiding fascinating complexities and nuances.
Over the past few years, I have loved working in water, especially here in Colorado. Our state’s legal and administration system for water is so interesting. While it might seem odd and archaic to non-Westerners not familiar with perpetual water shortages, our prior appropriation system is actually pretty elegant in its simplicity and also in its ability to provide both legal certainty for existing water users as well as some flexibility for new and varied uses–including over the last 50 or so years–environmental uses.
That’s why I’m so excited to be joining the Water Trust team. This organization has been at the forefront of innovation and working within the existing legal framework and market-based system to find creative solutions for restoring water to streams where and when it’s needed the most. Whether it’s a split season instream flow or a streamflow augmentation plan, the Water Trust has been there helping to navigate these new tools into existence. And it’s always looking over the horizon to confront what challenges might come next.
What I also love about the Water Trust is that it does all this with a keen eye to collaboration and to developing strong and long-lasting partnerships at the state level and within local communities. The Water Trust has a clear respect for the multitude of water values that each individual and organization brings to the table, and the Water Trust works hard to ensure those values are honored in every project and every partnership.
I know I have some big shoes to fill in this new role, but I’m honored to be included in such a diligent and conscientious group of folks and I look forward to helping push the Water Trust’s mission forward!
Phone: 720.570.2897 Ext. 6