Water Lines: Learn H20 facts from experts this fall in western Colorado
Free Press Weekly Columnist
Fall is full of water events in western Colorado, from opportunities for “experts” to trade ideas and information to seminars primarily intended for the general public. Here’s a sampling of what’s coming up.
Colorado Mesa University’s fall “Natural Resources of the West” Monday evening seminar series is focusing on the role of natural and social sciences in natural resource management. Upcoming seminars on water-related topics include a Monday, Sept. 8, presentation on resource economics and the Grand Canyon; a Sept. 15 presentation on agricultural research stations; an Oct. 6 presentation on climate change and agricultural economics; an Oct. 13 presentation on riparian restoration and the tamarisk beetle; and an Oct. 20 presentation on the uranium mill tailings clean-up along the Colorado River near Moab. All seminars are free, open to the public and are held in Room 141 of the Wubben Science Building from 4-5:15 p.m. Live web-streaming will also be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/coloradomesalive. Additional details will soon be available at http://www.coloradomesa.edu/WaterCenter.
The Colorado River District’s annual seminar will take place on Friday, Sept. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction. This seminar is always a big draw for water managers and elected officials, as well as interested members of the public. This year’s theme is “Growing the River: Is it All About Ag?” The featured speaker will be author Kevin Fedarko, whose book titled “The Emerald Mile” tells the story of the 1984 flood on the Colorado River from the perspectives of both dam operators and river runners, three of whom use the high water for a record-setting speed run through the Grand Canyon. Other topics will include how the Colorado River became over-allocated; the pluses and minuses of irrigation efficiency; how to sustain agriculture; and what kind of future agriculture wants (commentary — there are likely multiple answers to this); and the “pulse flow” release that sent water back to the Colorado River Delta last spring. For more details or to register, visit http://www.crwcd.org or call 970-945-8522.
Southwest Colorado’s annual “Water 101” seminar will be held Monday, Sept. 22, in Telluride Town Council Chambers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As in the past, the keynote speaker will be Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, always a crowd pleaser. Federal, state and local agency representatives will also provide information on water law and administration, local water sources and environmental concerns. For more details or to register, go to http://www.waterinfo.org or call 970-247-1302.
The annual “Sustaining Colorado Watersheds” conference will take place in Avon from Oct. 7-9. This year’s conference, themed “Come Hell or High Water!” will explore community resiliency in the wake of the 2013 floods, wildfires, and other risks to Colorado watersheds. This conference tends to focus less on issues of water supply than other water meetings in the state, and more on stream and riparian health. Many participants are energetic, young staffers of watershed protection and restoration organizations. For more information, go to http://www.coloradowater.org/conferences.
The Water Center at Colorado Mesa University’s fourth annual Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum will be held Nov. 5-6, on CMU’s campus, with pre-conference workshops on Nov. 4. This year’s theme is “Seeking a Resilient Future.” The conference keynote speakers will be Pat Mulroy, former head of the water authority serving Las Vegas, and William Hasencamp, manager of Colorado River Water Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Conference sessions will include scientific and policy perspectives on topics such as the management of Lakes Powell and Mead, the “pulse flow” release to the Colorado River delta, Grand County water challenges related to transmountain diversions, and climate change. Additional sessions will focus on state water plans, tribal water rights claims and settlements, innovations in agricultural irrigation, and water history. For more information, go to http://www.coloradomesa.edu/WaterCenter or call 970-248-1968.
In my experience, all of these events are great opportunities to both learn and make connections with the movers and shakers in Colorado’s dynamic water community.
This is part of a series of articles coordinated by the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University in cooperation with the Colorado and Gunnison Basin Roundtables to raise awareness about water needs, uses and policies in our region. To learn more about the basin roundtables and statewide water planning, and to let the roundtables know what you think, go to http://www.coloradomesa.edu/WaterCenter. You can also find the Water Center on Facebook at Facebook.com/WaterCenter.CMU or Twitter at Twitter.com/WaterCenterCMU.
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