Our UCRWG team led a series of open-house style “community conversations” in Granby, Grand Lake, Fraser, and Kremmling between October 2016 and February 2017. Guided by sustainability facilitator Hillary Mizia, our approach was to get folks talking about our communities in a watershed setting – neighborly, no politics. The 100+ participants included ranchers, business owners, water-system operators, wildfire professionals, real estate agents, Rotarians, and a remarkable number of high school students. We collected and sorted through meeting notes (documented on oversized post-it notes) which revealed three primary themes of community interest: 1) Community, 2) Education, and 3) Quality of Life.
Additional scoping included Rotary Clubs, schools, and a broad spectrum of organizations as well as local, state, and federal agencies.
The wide range of comments gave considerable insight into watershed concerns, causes, and effects as well as a clear message: the Watershed Group should not be political or regulatory, and we should not “re-invent any wheels.” Instead, we should focus on helping community-based projects, and there are many, by educating, connecting, and communicating with a watershed perspective.
With our second year of WaterSMART funding and a better sense of watershed opportunities to improve drought, wildfire, and flood resilience, our newly formed Board of Directors shaped guidelines October-November 2017:
UCRWG Vision: A resilient, sustainable Upper Colorado River watershed; Mission: Connecting communities in Grand County’s Colorado River headwaters through science, education, and outreach.
We are a non-political, non-regulatory group organized to: develop and facilitate implementation of a community based watershed resiliency plan; cultivate existing community and environmental resources; promote educational opportunities; remain inclusive, transparent, and visible.