What a hoot at Thursday’s Shed ’17 summit at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Great program and an outstanding venue, the Denver Botanic Gardens. Organizers included volunteers from Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Water, Aurora Water, City of Boulder, Center for Resource Conservation, Colorado Division of Water Resources, Colorado Water Conservation Board, the the One World One Water Center at Metropolitan State University at Denver. (Go Roadrunners!)
Mike Nelson’s keynote focused on Climate Change. He cited the increase in frequency of large-scale storminess and emphasized that humnankind is changing the water cycle. He is working for the future of his grandchildren he said at the end.
To close out the presentations Brad Udall outlined major events related to climate change since last fall’s election. He ended with a series of maps showing public opinion strongly in favor of policies to combat the effects of climate change.
A panel discussion followed Brad’s presentation. Sam Mamet explored climate change from the municipal perspective. He talked about the challenges to the folks on the front lines, city and town administrators, boards and councils, and their role in planning for a warmer future. Funding heads the list of concerns for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Close behind is the uncertainty about policy, rule-making, and priorities for the new administration. Maggie Fox urged climate educators to find common ground with those they seek to influence. She was adamant in her plea for everyone to stay engaged and active politically.
We heard a great story from the recreation folks. Recreation is a muti-billion dollar industry and is responsible for many jobs across the state. The industry also has many interests aligned with the environment. Recreational In Channel Diversions, for example, can call out juniors to help keep water in the stream. The wave feature at Glenwood Springs is a great recreation draw in the valley.
Conservation efforts are morphing towards a focus on resiliency and bolstering the natural environment. Kevin Reidy pointed out a large statewide uptick in interest for developing and revising conservation plans. In the Roaring Fork Valley entities worked together to develop a regional plan.
Farmers are still resistant to Alternative Transfer Methods. One reason is the desire to sell their water rights when they retire. Another is the heightened risk that comes with agriculture year after year — the reality that good years are what get farmers through the other years. There is great uncertainty at the beginning of each growing season.
John Echohawk spoke just before lunch. He catalogued the struggle to litigate Native American water rights. Most of the time the tribes are successful leveraging the Winters v. United States Supreme Court decision and the date a reservation was established. The cost of litigation is prohibitive.
Thanks again to the committee that put this together. Sean Cronin did a great job keeping the agenda on track. It was a treat touring the gardens.