Fostering Implementation of the Roaring Fork Watershed Plan (2010)

Client Organization: 
Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC)
Project Location : 
Basalt, CO
Secondary Client Organization: 
Ruedi Water and Power Authority (RWAPA)
Summary of Project Idea: 

This project seeks to educate its clients, the Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC) and Ruedi Water and Power Authority (RWAPA), on potential implementation strategies for the Roaring Fork Watershed Plan.  The clients represent a larger informal entity called the Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative, which includes municipalities, environmental interests, state and federal agencies, among others. After exploring a number of synergistic resource management initiatives working on a watershed scale, 20 case studies were selected based on the clients' goals as well as their geographic and political context.  A cross-case analysis yielded conclusions regarding collaborative governance structures and client recommendations based on their interests and context. Notably, many of these lessons are useful for other entities or partnerships addressing water quality and quantity in the rural American West.

Public education, participation and awareness are often critical to the success of collaborative partnerships.  Consequently, the research team also identified and compiled case studies on outreach programs and public awareness campaigns, based on the objectives of the Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative.  The lessons and strategies of these campaigns could serve to educate key stakeholders and potentially broaden support for the Watershed Plan.

The final product will be a book describing the methodology, detailing individual cases and campaigns, and outlining lessons and recommendations for the client organizations.  An electronic version will be available, since the resource would provide valuable insight and guidance to other organizations interested in collaboratively managing natural resources.

Skills/Expertise Needed: 

Background in water resources policy and management (including some basic familiarity with Western water law), working knowledge of aquatic sciences, background in public education techniques, public relations/ public outreach skills, good research, writing and organizational skills, good oral skills, good computer skills.

SNRE Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Professional Career Development Benefits: 

Project participants would:

  1. gain experience in the practical application of water resources policy and management coursework;
  2. improve their knowledge of Western water law, Western land use, and Western water resources and land management, as well as critical water issues facing the arid West (as well as other parts of the world); and
  3. gain experience with effective environmental education and the application of effective communication tools.

Participants would have opportunities to make contacts with individuals at a variety of federal, state, regional and local entities engaged in water resources issues. There are many ongoing professional conferences held in Colorado, and elsewhere, on Western water issues; there may be opportunities for students to present their work at some of these conferences.

In addition, this project may be of particular interest to SNRE students who are interested in western land conservation issues through the Wyss Scholars program.

Funding Sources: 

The project will not require students to work in the Roaring Fork Watershed. The work can be accomplished via the Internet and phone and email contacts.

However, if students were able to secure funding, they would be welcome to come out to Colorado and work in the Roaring Fork Valley. We would be happy to assist students with the logistics of finding temporary housing.

Identify expected products/deliverables: 

1. Defining a Multi-Jurisdictional/Multi-Stakeholder Framework to Implement the Plan.

Students will produce a document identifying and comparing various options for effectively addressing water resources issues across jurisdictional and resource boundaries. Given the entities involved and the major water resources issues in the Roaring Fork Watershed, the document will recommend approaches that have the best chances for success and identify some of the difficulties experienced by other entities in similarly-situated rural geographic areas.

2. Defining a Public Awareness Campaign to Help Implement the Plan.

Students will produce a document identifying and comparing various options for an effective campaign to educate the public on the more sophisticated water issues in the Roaring Fork Watershed. The document will recommend approaches that have the best chances for success and identify some of the difficulties experienced by other entities in similarly-situated rural geographic areas.

City: 
Basalt
State or Country: 
CO
SNRE Faculty Advisor: 
Julia Wondolleck
Contact Phone: 
(970) 274-9041
Contact e-mail: 
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Amanda Barker, MS Environmental Policy & Planning   
  • Bethany Hellmann, MS Conservation Biology         
  • Anne Kohl, MS Environmental Policy & Planning  
  • Kathleen McIntyre, MS Environmental Policy & Planning
  • Angela Michalek, MS Environmental Policy & Planning, Aquatics
I am an SNRE alum – B.S., M.R.P. (and a UM Law alum as well)
Project Status: 
Past Project