New appointee to Upper Colorado River Commission

Gov. Jared Polis announced the appointment Wednesday of Rebecca Mitchell as the new Colorado Commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC).

The UCRC is an interstate water agency consisting of the Upper Colorado River Basin States of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.

Mitchell, who is director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, replaces outgoing Commissioner James Eklund on the commission.

“Rebecca will bring experience, leadership and a thorough knowledge of Colorado River issues and will enhance the shared mission of the Upper basin states of comity and collaboration as the Colorado River Commissioner,” Gov. Polis said in a press release issued by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

The Upper Colorado River Commission works to ensure compliance with the 1922 Colorado River Compact. It was established so states work together and in partnership to meet their obligations to the lower basin states while safeguarding the Upper basin states’ Colorado River water rights and allocations, according to the release.

The Commission is comprised of one representative appointed by the Governor of each Upper basin states and one member appointed by the President to represent the United States.

“The Colorado River faces unique future challenges with increased population, persistent drought, and impacts of climate change,” said Dan Gibbs, executive director for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

“We appreciate the service of outgoing Commissioner James Eklund, and Becky is ready to take the reins,” Gibbs said in the release. “She has been an incredible leader at the Colorado Water Conservation Board and her experience is needed now more than ever as the Upper basin states’ enact their provisions of the Colorado River drought contingency plans signed earlier this year.”

Likewise, Eklund offered, “I am so proud to have represented Colorado in achieving interstate and international solutions for the Colorado River … Colorado is now well-positioned to continue its legacy of leadership under the Polis Administration collaboratively and inclusively.”

Said Mitchell, “There is no more important river than the Colorado both here and across the American West. In Colorado, we have built a strong culture of collaboration, innovation, and smart policy to drive future water planning and I plan on bringing the same cooperative spirit and leadership to the Upper Colorado River Commission.”

Mitchell serves as the director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and brings more than 17 years of experience in the Colorado water sector.

According to the release, she played a significant part in working with the state’s Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee, the public at large and CWCB staff in producing Colorado’s Water Plan.

She has worked in the public and private sector as a consulting engineer; receiving her B.S. and M.S. from the Colorado School of Mines.

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