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Vail Symposium presents ‘Overworked and Under Threat – Preserving the Colorado River’

October 17, 2022, 1:22 pm

The Vail Symposium on Monday issued the following press release on Thursday’s timely webinar entitled “Overworked and Under Threat: Preserving the Colorado River”:

The Colorado River is a workhorse – sustaining life as we know it for more than 40 million people in seven western states and two countries; providing water to irrigate crops, sustaining communities with drinking water, and supporting incredible recreational opportunities and diverse wildlife. All in all, it provides an economic benefit of $1.4 trillion – including a $26 billion recreation economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, it’s impossible to ignore the current state of the Colorado River. On Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m., Vail Symposium is hosting a Zoom webinar with panel of experts including Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, rancher Paul Bruchez, American Waters’ Matt Rice and journalist Luke Runyon, to discuss the many aspects impacting the Colorado River.

“From our local papers to the New York Times, headlines of dropping reservoir levels, low flows and increased demand are abundant,” said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. “We’re looking forward to hearing from this panel of water experts about the issues facing the Colorado river and, perhaps, strategies to preserve this integral resource.”

The complex system established with the Colorado River Compact of 1922 – and over-allocated at its inception – is strained. With more demand and a more unpredictable water future, how do we move forward? What role do we play and what actions can we take as a headwaters state? How do we balance a system of diverse and demanding uses? How do we find hope?

Join Vail Symposium and Eagle River Watershed Council for an evening of discussion with a panel including Commissioner Touton, a Federal decision maker on water projects, and Bruchez, a fifth-generation Colorado farmer and local water activist join with American Rivers’ Matt Rice and moderator Luke Runyon. These experts will guide the audience through a conversation to learn about key challenges that have led us to critical levels and how we can take action to protect the mighty Colorado River and our way of life. 

About the Speakers:

Paul Bruchez is the fifth generation of the Bruchez family to farm and ranch in Colorado. He currently operates the family ranch near Kremmling with his brother and father. Bruchez is currently spearheading a 12-mile restoration of the Colorado River with 12 landowners collaborating to sustain agriculture and the environmental health of the river. Bruchez has worked closely with the Colorado Basin Roundtable for a decade; he was recently appointed to represent the mainstem of the Colorado River for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, is on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Water Trust and serves on the Grand County Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory Committee.

Camille Calimlim Touton is commissioner of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. In this role, Touton helps manage the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $8.3 billion investments in drought and water resiliency, including funding for water efficiency and recycling programs, rural water projects, WaterSMART grants and dam safety to ensure that irrigators, Tribes, and adjoining communities receive adequate assistance and support.

Pat Mulroy is a former senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program. In addition, she serves as the senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West. At Brookings, Mulroy collaborates with Brookings scholars in Washington DC and the overseas centers in Doha, New Delhi and Beijing to improve water policy. In Doha, she is working to provide policy analysis to help improve Middle East water management. Through these efforts, she is working to deliver a global impact by modernizing water policy where it is most critically needed.

Matt Rice directs American Rivers’ multidisciplinary programs in the Colorado River Basin, a region that spans seven states from Wyoming to California. His team drives innovative policy, program, and project solutions to conserve water in the urban, agricultural and energy sectors to ensure that the rivers and streams in the region are healthy for local and regional economies, sustainable agriculture and world-class recreation.

Moderator Luke Runyon is a journalist covering water and climate change in the Western U.S. for a collaborative network of public media stations throughout the Colorado River watershed. His position is based at NPR member station KUNC. He currently serves as a board member for the Society of Environmental Journalists.


What: Overworked and Under Threat: Preserving the Colorado River

When: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, 6-7:15 p.m.

Where: Zoom Webinar | Virtual

More information: This webinar is free. Please visit www.vailsymposium.org for more information.

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