Hannah Holm
Grand Junction Free Press Weekly Columnist

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March 7, 2013
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WATER LINES: Tamarisk! Beetles! Cottonwoods! What happens after dam removal!

Have you noticed tamarisk stands along the Colorado River turning sickly, or just vanishing, turned to stumps? Have you wondered what impact that has on birds and what it takes to reestablish native willows and cottonwoods? Maybe read that some dams up in the Northwest have been removed and wondered how those rivers responded?

You can learn about all this and more as researchers and river managers from around the West descend on the University Center Ballroom at Colorado Mesa University for the River Crossings Conference and Workshop from March 11-15.

The Tamarisk Coalition, River Management Society, Bureau of Land Management, International Submerged Lands Conference and Water Center at CMU are working together to organize the event.

The River Crossings Conference and Workshop will include presentations, panels and field trips highlighting recent advances and emerging issues in riparian restoration and river management practices. Friday field trip options include a float trip down the Ruby-Horsethief Canyon on the Colorado River, a tour of the Colorado Riverfront, a tour to the Palisade Insectary and a tour of restoration projects along the Dolores River near Gateway.

This event will provide a unique interdisciplinary training opportunity where researchers, students, agency managers and practitioners will present and discuss scientific advances and program learning. Attendees will be able to network with agency and other professionals, and bridge the gap between research and land management.

Local presenters will share the spotlight with researchers and agency personnel from around the West. Projects presented will include work by CMU students and faculty on local experiences with wetland restoration; the Colorado Riverfront trail system; cottonwood restoration in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area; and monitoring protocols for riparian restoration work.

A special session will focus on the nuances of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and the scholarly presentations will be punctuated by keynote addresses by noted photographer Peter McBride and University of Utah Professor Daniel McCool.

McBride made headlines when he partnered with writer Jon Waterman and spent over two years documenting the Colorado River from its headwaters to the delta in Mexico. This journey culminated in a coffee table book: "The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict," an award-winning short film, "Chasing Water," and a traveling museum exhibit/lecture currently touring the U.S.

McCool's research focuses on water resource development, public lands policy, voting rights, and Indian water rights. He is the author of the recently released "River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America's Rivers" (Columbia University Press 2012); as well as "Native Waters: Contemporary Indian Water Settlements and the Second Treaty Era" (University of Arizona Press 2002) and "Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Water" (University of California/Arizona 1987/1994).

For more information and to register (for individual days or the whole event), visit: http://www.coloradomesa.edu/watercenter

Hannah Holm is coordinator of the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 7, 2013 06:57PM Published Mar 7, 2013 12:42PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.