Former U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar will join the lineup of speakers for the first Rio Grande “State of the Basin Symposium” at Adams State University on Saturday, February 23rd from 9 am to 4 pm.

Secretary Salazar, a San Luis Valley native, will provide context for the Valley’s water situation, addressing“Past and Future Fights to Protect the Water of the San Luis Valley” and introduce the event’s keynote speaker, Colorado’s new Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Free and open to the public, the State of the Basin Symposium aims to provide the community with up to date and accurate information about the management and current status of the Valley’s water. Starting at 9 am in the Richardson Hall Auditorium, the morning plenary sessions include presentations by: Division Engineer, Craig Cotten on“How the Rio Grande Works & the State of the Basin”; Cleave Simpson, General Manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD) and Chair of the ASU Board of Trustees on “Our Water Future: Groundwater and Exportation Issues”;  and Heather Dutton, Manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District (SLVWCD) and the Rio Grande Basin Representative on the Colorado Water Conservation Board on the “Water Plans for Colorado and the Rio Grande Basin.”

The event will move to McDaniel Hall for the afternoon, with lunch provided for those who pre-register by February 18th. Attendees will be able to choose from a variety of small-group, breakout/discussion sessions that provide more information and a chance to discuss the issues. These include: Rio Grande Basin Water Management 101 with Craig Cotten and Pat McDermott; Groundwater Management and Subdistricts: Challenges Ahead with Cleave Simpson and Marisa Frick; The Water Economy and Agriculture with Adams State Professor Armando Valdez; Water and Land Conservation and Acequias with Judy Lopez of Colorado Open Lands, Nancy Butler of the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, and Steven Romero, San Luis area acequia community; Water, Wildlife, and Restoration of Rivers, Streams and Wetlands with Emma Reesor of the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, Cary Aloia, biologist with Wetland Dynamics, and Chris Ivers of the RGWCD; Water and Education with Bethany Howell of the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative and others; Water and Recreation with Brian Puccerella of the Adams State Adventure Program Director and Mick Daniel of SLV Great Outdoors; and Water and Soil Health with rancher George Whitten and agronomist Patrick O’Neill.

Adams State University’s Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center and the RGWCD are hosts of the event. Additional sponsors include the SLVWCD, the Conejos Water Conservancy District and the San Luis Valley Irrigation District.

Parking for this free event is available in campus parking lots along Edgemont Blvd. and on the east side of McDaniel Hall.  Permits are not required on Saturdays.

Courtesy of Adams State University.

Rio Grande State Of The Basin

Rio Grande State Of The Basin