Western Hosts Colorado Water Workshop

GUNNISON, Colo. – At a time when water in the West is becoming an increasingly contentious topic, Western State Colorado University is hosting its 38th annual Colorado Water Workshop. Titled “What is the new normal," the workshop brings together some of the most important thinkers and stakeholders in the region to search for solutions.

Ann Mills, the Acting Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment will be part of a panel discussion on the first day of the Colorado Water Workshop. As Acting Undersecretary, Mills oversees the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

On Wednesday, a full slate of speakers will address the question, “What is the new normal?” In addition to Mills, the afternoon session will feature Nolan Doesken, Colorado State Climatologist, and Tom Eager from the Forest Service, who will discuss beetle kill and fire in our forested watersheds.

Later in the afternoon, Peter Chilson, professor from Washington State University, will compare the American Southwest and the African Sahel in terms of responses to climate change.

“Our theme for this year, Planning for the New Normal, speaks to a variety of concerns, both scientific and social, as Colorado looks towards its future,” said Jeff Sellen, workshop director.

Governor John Hickenlooper has called for a statewide water plan, and this will be a key topic for discussion when the Colorado Legislature’s Water Resource Review Committee convenes as part of the workshop on Thursday afternoon. In addition to the legislators, the discussion will include Mike King, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, and John Stulp, special policy advisor to the governor on water.

Also on Thursday afternoon, will be a panel focusing on “A New Normal for the Rio Grande Basin.” According to Sellen, “The recent fires in the Rio Grande Basin make this an especially important and timely discussion.”

On Friday morning, John Stulp will moderate a panel of directors of the state’s basin roundtables. The panel will explore the successes and opportunities of the roundtables since their inception in 2005.

The workshop will feature a Water Law seminar on Wednesday morning as well as local, educational tours of the Gunnison River, the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, and Morrow Point in the Black Canyon. 

For information visit: www.western.edu/water.

About Western State Colorado University

In Gunnison, Colo., Western is a public university unlike any other in Colorado, and unique nationwide – with the faculty focus and feel of a private college; a commitment to access, excellence and student success; and a strong tie to the land, our local natural resources and our surrounding community. With an enrollment of 2,300 students, Western offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, along with unlimited opportunity to shape your identity, customize your education and chart your course for a meaningful life. To learn more, please visit Western.edu.

Date: 
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 8:00am