Friday forum focuses on water education, issues |

Friday forum focuses on water education, issues

Event to include speakers from local, state, federal agencies

Blythe Terrell

— Friday's water forum is just the beginning.

The event from 1 to 5 p.m. at Bud Werner Memorial Library is the first in a series of water forums stretching to November, said Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alli­ance. Five speakers from local, state and federal agencies will give participants an overview of Colorado water issues and concerns.

"Friday's is pretty basic water education, not so much specific to the Yampa River, but knowledge you have to have to understand how the Yampa River plays in with everything else," Daughenbaugh said.

The speakers are Don Ament, former Colorado commissioner of agriculture; Tom Gray, chairman of the Yampa-White-Green Round Table; Nicole Seltzer, executive director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education; Mike Sullivan, deputy state engineer for the Colorado Department of Water Resources; and Lois Witte, senior counsel with the U.S. Forest Service.

They'll speak about a range of water issues, Daughen­baugh said. Witte, for example, was invited to provide a federal outlook. Most of the region's water sources start on public land, Daughen­baugh said.

Witte will discuss "water supply and sources and the uses and then the regulations," Daughenbaugh said. "And she's going to hit a little bit too on what impact the bark beetle infestation and what impact dying trees, dead trees might have on water."

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Sullivan said he planned to give an overview of how water rights work in Colorado.

"It's always good for the community to understand kind of the system of water rights administration because as the state gets more and more crowded, there's more and more demands for water, and those demands exert pressures on communities in strange ways sometimes," Sullivan said.

Daughenbaugh said the event, which costs $15 in advance, $20 at the door and $5 for students, would focus mainly on education.

Further water events are planned for July 21, Sept. 24 and Nov. 5. The July event will be a bus tour of water uses in the Yampa Valley that starts in Steamboat Springs. The Sept. 24 event will be a forum in Craig to discuss regional and state issues and projects, and the Nov. 5 event will be in Hayden and will focus on the Round Table's studies.

The forums are a collaboration among the Community Agriculture Alliance, the Yam­pa-White-Green Round Table and sponsors, Daughen­baugh said. Part of the funding came from the Colorado Water Con­servation Board, she said.

Realtors and teachers can get continuing education credits for attending, Daughenbaugh said, but she encouraged the entire community to attend.

"Water is just so important in this valley, and so the goal of the whole series of water forums is to allow people to become better educated so they can better understand what the issues are and determine for themselves where they should become involved," Daughenbaugh said. "We want them to be able to develop opinions based on factual information and not just hearsay."

If you go

What: “Water 101” forum

When: 1 to 5 p.m. Friday

Where: Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Cost: $15 before event; $20 at the door; $5 for students

Call: 879-4370

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