Spring 2012

People & Organizations

Jim Isgar

For those who haven’t heard, Jim Isgar, Colorado State Director for the USDA Rural Development, has been having a rough go of it since la

Jack Rogers

After nearly 30 years of public service, Jack Rogers retired at the beginning of March as the City of Durango’s Director of Public Works.

Bob Taylor

Longtime La Plata County resident Bob Taylor passed away on April 3rd. Mr. Taylor was born March 21, 1921, in Kirtland, N.M. In 1946, after serving in World War II, Taylor moved just south of Redmesa, where he operated the Long Hollow flour mill and a mostly dryland farm near Redmesa and on the Dryside.

Agencies Look at Mercury Levels in Fish

The Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the U.S. Geological Survey have begun a study on mercury levels in fish in the Dolores/San Juan River Basin. To-date, little data exists of potential sources of this mercury.

City of Durango Still Working on Lake Nighthorse Recreation

The City of Durango is still working on plans for the management of recreation at Lake Nighthorse. They are hoping to open the Lake for recreation by the spring of 2013.

La Plata Water Conservancy District and Longhollow Reservoir

After more than 20 years of planning, the La Plata Water Conservancy District approved an escrow agreement in mid-February that allows groundbreaking for Longhollow Reservoir. The reservoir will be located just five miles north of the New Mexico state line.

Current Events

Study Finds Increased Risk of Water Shortages in Hundreds of US Counties

According to a new study in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, more than 1 in 3 counties in the United States could face a "high" or "extreme" risk of water shortages due to climate change by the middle of the 21st century. The report concluded that 7 in 10 of the more than 3,100 U.S.

Navajo Water Rights

A recent New York Times article indicated that two Arizona’s senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, traveled to the Navajo reservation in early April to meet with Navajo and Hopi tribal leaders about a proposed water rights accord that would settle the two tribes’ claims to the Little Colorado River system.

Water Quality / Conservation

Good Samaritan Support

According to a Telluride Watch article, after nearly 20 years of inaction, the creation of a Good Samaritan policy with regard to the cleanup of abandoned mine drainag

Water Law

Colorado Supreme Court Okays Water Ballot Initiatives

The Colorado Supreme Court has approved the titles for two proposals that critics say would change the way Colorado has handled water rights since 1876.

National Water Trails System

On March 2nd Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the National Water Trails System. It is a new network intended to increase access to water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship of local waterways, and promote tourism to strengthen local economies.

Roundtable Update

IBCC—Time to Move Ahead

At their March meeting, the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) looked closely at how the roundtables have used a planning tool that incorporates agricultural transfers, conservation, identified projects, and new projects. While the IBCC worked with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop the tool, members think it’s time to move ahead.

Statewide Roundtable Summit

A Statewide Roundtable Summit was conducted in Broomfield on March 1st. There were attendees representing each of Colorado’s river basins. The purpose of the summit was to discuss plans and ideas for solving the water-supply gap that’s expected because of the state’s rapid population growth.

WIP News

17th Annual Children’s Water Festival

The 17th Annual Children’s Water Festival was conducted May 2nd at Fort Lewis College.

Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Workshop

The WIP, in conjunction with the Mountain Studies Institute and the San Juan Mountains Association, will be conducting their first, pilot, Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Workshop June 26-27th. This is an opportunity for K-12 teachers to earn one continuing education credit from Adams State University.

Water in the West Art Show

In an effort to raise awareness about vital water issues, the WIP, in conjunction with the Durango Arts Center, will be conducting a month-long Water in the West Art Show. The gala opening will be August 10th at 7:00 pm at the Durango Arts Center. This will be a juried exhibit, with a call to artists going out in July.

Water 101 Seminar

Save-the-date for the Seventh Annual Water 101 Seminar to be conducted October 26, 2012 in Durango. We are again fortunate to have Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs as the keynote speaker. The Seminar qualifies for six continuing education credits for Realtors and seven for lawyers. For more information contact the WIP at (970) 247-1302.

Water History


“What the heck is a Grange?” many people wonder when first introduced to the term. It turns out Granges have their roots in agriculture--and correspondingly water through irrigation. The National Grange was founded over 145 years ago in 1867.

Miscellaneous Facts

National Park Service Website Explores Western Water Development

In an effort to help people learn about the history of major water projects, the National Park Service has created an online itinerary, loaded with essays, images, information, and maps.