UCWET’s Board of Directors is composed of representatives from across the Upper Colorado River watershed. Members come from an array of professional backgrounds, bringing with them a diversity of expertise in watershed science, resource management and nonprofit fundraising.
Andy Miller was elected President of the UCWET Board of Directors in April 2019 due to his in-depth knowledge of local water issues and extensive involvement in the Grand County community. Andy runs his own construction company, M3 Property Service, where he facilitates the construction of homes, remodels, water augmentation structures, back country huts and stream restoration projects. He is the Project Manager and founder of the Grand Huts Association, a local nonprofit with the goal of linking the Grand County back country with a system of eco-friendly huts that can be used year-round. A former elementary school teacher and childcare center director, Andy continues his mission of community education as a local journalist and columnist for the Winter Park Times newspaper and serving as Trustee for the town of Fraser.
Treasurer Dave and his wife Emily have resided in Grand Lake, Colorado since 2017 and served as interpretative volunteers at Rocky Mountain National Park since 2015. Dave owned and managed an environmental engineering and remediation firm headquartered in Tampa, Florida prior to retiring to Grand Lake, where he provided a broad range of environmental services to federal, state and private clients throughout the southeastern United States. Dave also worked as a Senior Hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division in Albany, New York for 10 years, where he conducted research on the impacts of acid rainfall on lakes and watersheds.
Dave received a B.A. in Chemistry from Emory University and an M.S. in Forest Hydrology from the University of Georgia. He is a licensed Professional Geologist and has authored or co-authored over 10 technical papers on various topics related to water quality.
Mike Holmes joined the UCWET Board of Directors in Spring 2018, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in watershed restoration. Mike and his wife Patty moved to Grand County in 2016 after raising three children in Denver, and he is excited to bring his knowledge and experience to work protecting the headwaters of the Colorado River.
Prior to moving to Grand County, Mike worked for 30 years as a project manager reclaiming abandoned mining sites throughout Colorado, working to address how drainage from historic mines negatively impacts downstream communities by severely impacting aquatic life and degrading overall watershed health. Motivated by the firm belief that a key part of watershed restoration is collaborating with local stakeholders, Mike has participated in a half dozen water groups over his career. His experience has taught him that watershed associations provide an important component in assuring that the needs of the local community, elected officials, environmental groups, business and industry, regulators, and water users are all given consideration in decision making.
Mike received his Bachelors of Science in Agriculture Business from Colorado State University and served in the Peace Corps for 2 ½ years, where he worked on agriculture and community development in the Philippines. Mike also serves as President of the Grand County Irrigated Land Company, a mutual ditch company with 50 shareholders that irrigates agricultural lands on the Granby Mesa.
Ingrid Karlstrom has resided in Grand County since the spring of 1970, happily spending her first 5 years as a ski bum. Ever interested in preserving the beauty and quality of life here in our decreasingly pristine watershed, she (unsuccessfully) ran for Grand County commissioner in 1992 but was happy to accept an appointment to the County Planning and Zoning Commission, where she has served for 27 years. She is the only current member of the Planning and Zoning Commission who participated in establishing Grand County’s Master Plan, a product of former Governor Roy Romer’s Smart Growth Initiative.
Other commission memberships throughout the years have included Victims Assistance and Law Enforcement, The Moffat Tunnel, and a statewide transportation study.
Ingrid received a BA in zoology from Pomona College in Claremont, CA and currently lives just outside of Fraser with her 3 cats.
Pierre Glynn (Ph.D., M.Sc., BA in Earth Sciences) has owned a second home in Grand Lake, Colorado since 2006. Recently retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, he remains very active in research with a focus on improving the science, policy, and management of socio-ecological systems – including through stakeholder engagement and participatory science. Pierre’s current research interests and his earlier career in hydrology and in the natural sciences are described on his Frontiers in Environmental Science research profile. Pierre serves as Associate Editor for the journal in the section on Environmental Economics and Management.
Pierre loves to learn, and to share his enthusiasm for the natural world. He has given many presentations at the Kawuneeche Visitors Center highlighting ecosystem connections and processes for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park (e.g. “Tree rings, the North Atlantic, Fire and What It Means to the Kawuneeche Valley and Areas Downstream”; “The Upper Colorado River: Heart of Many Waters, Water of Many Hearts”; “The Slow, the Fast, and the Unseen: Why the Less Visible Matters”; “A Hundred Years in Nature: the Dynamics of Rocky Mountain National Park”).
Past Board Members include Ken Fucik, Tiffany Gatesman, Clint Yeagley, Bradley Hilton, & Katelyn Cimino.
We're currently looking to add to the talent & enthusiasm of our Board! If you are interested in getting involved in a newly-formed nonprofit & feel as though you have skills, expertise, or passion to help propel UCWET forward, please send a resume and short letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration!
Abby Loberg was born in Fort Collins, and moved up to Grand County in 1992 right after graduating from CU Boulder with a Political Science degree. She has worked many jobs in the county, but most recently spent 22 years teaching 8th grade social studies at East Grand Middle School. During her tenure, she would involve her students in service learning projects throughout the county. This taught her about community outreach and education, as well as working with local governments and non-profit groups. Through her teaching, she got to know thousands of students and parents in Grand County. She has always had a passion to preserve the beautiful environment of Grand County, and now her involvement with UCWET is giving her the opportunity to do just that.
Technical Project Manager. Geoff has over 30 years’ experience in natural resource management including hands-on field experience in over 200 projects in Grand County, mostly related to water. Projects range from planning, permitting, and construction oversight for utility projects, including water crossings and municipal water intakes, also docks and boathouses, trails and ski runs, and facilitating property transfers and conservation of land and water resources. He is particularly interested in restoring balance between streams and riparian ecosystems, including irrigated hay fields, with fish-friendly diversions and agriculture-friendly bank stabilization. With broad experience in hydrogeology, forestry, and the nuts and bolts of exercising Colorado Water Rights, he’s advising the UCWET team on resource assessment and the feasibility of watershed projects including permitting and funding.
Geoff and his wife Kate raised two boys in Grand Lake, both graduating from Middle Park High School. He is past President of the Grand Lake Rotary Club and now chairs the Education/WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Committee, has a BSc. in Earth Science and MSc. in Geology, and is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control.
Tiffany Gatesman is an environmental scientist with an M.S. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a B.S. in Water and Soil Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She has spent her professional years working for the USFS, USFWS, USACE, county governments, and secondary science education. Gatesman’s work concentrates on hydrogeochemistry and water resource management that includes research projects conducted in Wisconsin, Alaska, and Guatemala. Tiffany’s passions for the environment lead her to become involved with Grand County’s water resource issues. With her teaching, scientific, and agriculture background, Gatesman seeks to further the development of the environmental and agricultural education in Grand County. Gatesman originally moved to Grand County to take photographs for the rafting companies. After moving away to earn her graduate degree in Alaska, Gatesman, her husband, and two Alaskan sled dogs moved back to Grand County for the love of the abundant recreation in the county such as skiing, biking, hiking, boating, rock climbing, and horseback riding.
After a career as a music teacher, Ryan earned his Masters degree in Watershed Science from Utah State University in 2014. He has used that knowledge in Grand County as a GIS specialist, Director of GCWIN, and in partnerships with UCRWG, Grand Environmental Services, and Gatesman Environmental. He is currently the Trails Manager for the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District. He is fueled by his passion for the outdoors. He enjoys hiking, camping, mountain biking, fly fishing, rock climbing, and snowboarding with his family.
Former Program Manager and Lead Facilitator. Hillary is the Executive Director at Shadowcliff, a non-profit educational lodge and retreat center that’s been in Grand Lake since 1956. Hillary has a background in environmental education, group facilitation, and change management. She has been involved in many burgeoning movements over the years as a key founding member, from the Sustainable Living Association to the Community Sustainability Advisory Board for the City of Golden to Mountain Sage Community School, and many more in between. She brings years of facilitation experience and a deep passion for true stakeholder engagement. You can learn more about Hillary at Shadowcliff.org and PriZmSustainability.com.
Grand Environmental Services is a local Environmental Consultant Firm located in Grand Lake. They help clients manage land and water in the Colorado Highcountry offering services that include environmental and wetland permitting, construction oversight and monitoring, agricultural related services like headgate and ditch management, erosion control and bank stabilization to name a few. Grand Environmental Service’s primary duties within the interim UCWET are to support the effort through the technical expertise offered by founder and owner, Geoff Elliott.
Shadowcliff is a not-for-profit lodge and retreat center in Grand Lake, CO with a mission of An eco-friendly mountain sanctuary where together we are creating a climate for a restorative world. As a part of the Grand Lake community for sixty years, Shadowcliff is naturally invested in Upper Colorado watershed resiliency and supporting community-driven efforts to uphold that. Shadowcliff is supporting UCWET (formerly known as UCRWG) as the primary recipient of the WaterSMART grant used to fund this project and by the program management expertise of its executive director, Hillary Mizia.
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a given body of water – from a river or a lake to the ocean. Every rain drop that falls runs downhill until it reaches a larger body of water. Creeks turn into streams that combine to form rivers, which in turn meet up and eventually flow into an ocean. At each stage, the body of water grows larger.
The Colorado River watershed is the geographic area surrounding the river itself and encompassing all of the streams, creeks, and ditches that feed into the waters of the Colorado, with UCRWG’s target area covering approximately 1,868 square miles. While that drainage behind your house may seem small and insignificant, those waters are bound for greater things – every drop of water that falls in Grand County that is not diverted east across the Continental Divide eventually makes its way into the Colorado River, adding to its flow at the start of the river’s 1,450 mile journey to the sea.
A watershed group (or watershed environment team, as is now our case) is a locally-organized, volunteer-based nonprofit organization that seeks to educate, support, and connect the various stakeholder groups within a watershed with the scientific data and resources needed for effective watershed management. Watershed groups are nonpolitical and nonregulatory, with a focus on uniting local stakeholder groups in creating an effective and sustainable watershed management plan that reflects the values and interests of those who depend on the watershed – including the surrounding ecosystem.
We all benefit from a healthy watershed – a robust watershed helps to filter sediments and pollutants from runoff while supporting the diversity of life that call the High Rockies home.
Established watershed groups are proven to improve water quality, with huge benefits for our local recreation-based economy and the surrounding ecosystem.
Colorado is a semi-arid state, averaging only about 17 inches of rainfall annually. It is also one of the fastest-growing states in the US when it comes to population, with over a million people moving to the land of bluebird skies and outdoor adventures since 2010.
Meeting the daily water needs of its citizens has always been a challenge for the towns and cities east of the Rockies, in what is known as the Colorado Front Range. While most of the population in Colorado lives east of the Continental Divide, in the metro areas of Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, most of the water that falls in the state is found to the west in the form of snowpack from the long, cold mountain winters. Moving this water with transbasin diversions and storing it in reservoirs has been critical to the economic success of the Front Range metro areas. Transbasin diversions harness the water that falls high in the Rockies and moves it in the opposite direction – up and over the mountains, east to where the bulk of Colorado’s population is found, drastically altering ecosystems and economies both where it is taken from and where it is taken to. Transbasin diversions mean that water that would have eventually made its way to the Pacific Ocean now flows into the Atlantic, as massive infrastructure projects move that water east.
There are TWO transbasin diversions in Grand County – the pipeline that runs through the Moffat Tunnel in the south end of the county, near Winter Park Resort, and the Adams Tunnel in the north, near Grand Lake, the lynch-pin of the Colorado Big-Thompson Project. While the system that feeds into these diversions is complex, most of the water is diverted at around 9,000 feet – well before the water reaches the watershed. Currently, approximately 60% of local flows are diverted out of the watershed through these transbasin diversions. The proposed expansion of Gross Reservoiroutside of Boulder would increase the amount of water leaving the watershed to 75%.
From the EPA (with our grant, we will be accomplishing Steps 1-4) :
While several smaller nonprofits in Grand County conduct restoration efforts on limited stretches throughout the Upper Colorado River basin, UCWET is the first collaborative, local effort to organize the diversity of stakeholder groups in one of the most critical headwaters in North America. Our goal is to provide the information, education, logistics, and financial and technical support that stakeholders need to manage local water resources in an environmentally sustainable way.
UCWET seeks to fill a critical gap by unifying local initiatives that have thus far only focused on smaller geographic segments within the watershed.
While organizations such as Save the Fraser, Three Lakes Watershed Association, and the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Group do much-needed work in limited geographic areas, UCRWG focuses on the watershed as a whole. UCWET seeks to provide a foundation network to serve as a common forum for the smaller organizations and private individuals working to conserve and protect the Upper Colorado River.
UCWET is also fighting hard to keep the water flowing through our watershed on THIS side of the Continental Divide. With 60% of local flows already being diverted east to the Front Range area before that water even hits the watershed, the controversial expansion of Gross Reservoir would increase the amount of water leaving the Upper Colorado River watershed to 75% of total flows.
THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE.
With over 300 miles of impaired waters already in the Upper Colorado River watershed, diverting even more of this vital resource will do irreversible damage to the lands, streams and rivers that we all love. Summer water temperatures already reach critical levels through most of the watershed, making fly fishing in our world renowned streams and rivers lethal to aquatic life in the hottest parts of the day. EVERY DROP COUNTS if we are to conserve the long-term health and sustainability of the watershed we all love. That’s why here at UCWET we’re saying NOT ONE MORE DROP.
Seed funding for UCWET came from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART grant. WaterSMART grants are awarded to grassroots nonprofit organizations seeking to protect and restore the health of their local streams and rivers. UCRWG (now UCWET) was founded by a group of concerned citizens seeking to give voice to the needs of the Upper Colorado River watershed itself. Funding from the WaterSMART grant was used to:
UCWET is using the established model of a watershed group to effectively organize community interests while giving the citizens of Grand County something they historically have not had in the management of local water resources: a collective, nonpolitical voice in management decisions. Add your voice to ours!
UCWET was thrilled to join the Waterkeeper Alliance as a Colorado Riverkeeper Affiliate in December 2020, connecting our organization to a vast international network of environmental activists working to protect and restore waterways worldwide. Waterkeeper Alliance is the fastest-growing nonprofit focused on preserving and protecting everyone’s right to clean water by connecting grassroots organizations and local leaders to a global network of like-minded organizations.
As a front-line voice in all issues related to clean water, the Waterkeeper movement is active from the peaks of the Himalayas to the Jordan River delta in the Middle East, in coastal areas from the Bahamas to Australia, and across North America. Waterkeepers work to defend the fundamental human right to drinkable, fishable, and swimmable waters worldwide, tackling issues ranging from clean and safe energy to stronger environmental regulations.
A branch of the Waterkeeper movement, the Colorado River Waterkeeper Network helps to develop and support organizations working to protect and restore the Colorado River watershed. UCWET is excited to join as an Affiliate, giving us access to a wide variety of resources to support our mission and creating a forum for us to work collaboratively with other organizations dedicated to protecting and restoring the Upper Colorado River.
The Colorado River Waterkeeper Network is a a program of Save The Colorado and the Colorado Riverkeeper, which are both free-standing 501(c)3 organizations based in Fort Collins and Moab, respectively. The Network works under the fiscal agency of Save The Colorado. Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado and John Weisheit of Colorado Riverkeeper jointly administer the Network.