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Defining the direction of Our Policy work in Colorado

Posted: 01/07/2020
By: Ian Stafford

Colorado's rivers are national treasures, feeding rivers and communities all across the country. AW's Colorado team is proud to share our new report, Colorado Policy Pathways (2 page report summary), that will help chart our approach to protecting and restoring these beloved rivers. 

At American Whitewater, we know that water policy is a key ingredient in driving smart solutions for the future of our rivers. Colorado Policy Pathways (full report), outlines our approach to addressing the changes and challenges that Colorado's rivers face as the state's population grows and the outdoor economy booms.

Today, we're proud to share our thinking on how to protect these national treasures (2 page report summary). From the Colorado River to the Yampa, the Dolores to the South Platte, Colorado's rivers are an integral part of the state's recreation, urban, and farming economies. These rivers provide long-term water security and sustainability, and draw both locals and visitors from around the world for unparalleled recreation opportunities.

Colorado Policy Pathways (full report) lays out our core principles, and just as important, opens up a conversation with you, our valued members, on how we can engage with policy-makers in Colorado and nationally. 


5 Policy Directions

While no one-size policy fits all communities, river stewardship is the key to Colorado's sustainable future. Wise water policy can address many dimensions of the change-drivers noted above, and we see many opportunities to drive economic development in a community-based, equitable, and impactful way.

As a nonpartisan organization, we find common cause with individuals, organizations, companies, elected officials, and communities that share our love of rivers. We find that collaboration is crucial to our success, and aim to work across sectors, industries, and party lines to work towards these five distinct areas for smart policymaking at the state level:

·    Preserving and enhancing instream flow protections which support both environmental and human health and are essential to healthy rivers

·    Restoring Colorado's rivers to a more natural state, including urban river restoration projects, to address impacts from water development, mining, and other human impacts that have degraded our rivers and river communities

·    Modernizing, expanding and implementing improved water supply forecasting systems

·    Protecting and enhancing recreational water rights statewide through Recreational In Channel Diversions

·    Supporting Wild and Scenic and other protective designations

We'll be sharing this new work with fellow river lovers and decision-makers on social media and in person at events across CO and the country, and we invite you to join the conversation! 

American Whitewater

Ian Stafford

Boulder, CO 80305

Full Profile

Associated Projects

Colorado Policy Projects

A collection of policy projects and resources that pertain to our Colorado Policy Program


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