Celebrating 50 years of Earth Day with our Spring Newsletter!

By April 22, 2020Community

Sunset over Ranch Creek, an UCRWG target area subwatershed.
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Gatesman Photography.

We’re excited to be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day here at UCRWG!

While we sadly cannot gather to celebrate the unique beauty of planet Earth due to COVID-19, we can hold vigil in our hearts and in our homes and take time to reflect on what we truly value and love about this pale blue dot we all call Home.

Here at UCRWG, we find that listening to the babble of an alpine stream or pondering the depths of a mountain lake can help restore our strength and sanity when the world begins to feel like too much. Yet these ecosystems that we cherish and depend on are fragile and facing increasing encroachment from human development and the impacts of climate change.

That’s why we are still working hard to establish a robust watershed group to help protect and restore the Upper Colorado River. Watershed groups are proven to improve local water quality – and we want to bring those benefits and protections to the watershed that we call home.

As a newly-established grassroots nonprofit, community support and word-of-mouth are vital to our existence – we need YOU in order to keep doing what we do, and to do even more for the Upper Colorado River watershed.

Community support is critical for grant funding, with every grant that we apply for looking for evidence of in-kind donations from the local community. 

Every drop in the bucket counts when it comes to donations, with no contribution too small to make a difference. Every dollar that you donate to UCRWG demonstrates that local stakeholders (YOU!) understand how important it is to work together to protect and conserve our greatest community resource – the water that we drink and the watershed that it filters through. That’s why we are pressing so hard for donations – we need them in order to qualify for larger grants to fund our programming.

Please DONATE TODAY and help us show that there is community support for protecting the headwaters of the Colorado River.


What Your Donation Will Do

Your donation will help us with projects such as establishing a local Adopt-A-Waterway program and releasing a regular Watershed Snapshot, which will provide real-time modelling of stream flows and photographic documentation of current conditions from a watershed perspective – showing us the TRUE cost of water on our ecosystems.

We know that you care about the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River, which is why we are currently working on creating a local Adopt-A-Waterway program. Your donation today will provide funding to establish science-based program guidelines, identify project areas, hold monitoring workshops, and recruit and deploy well-equipped citizen science volunteers – in short, get the program up and running! Adopt-A-Waterway programs grow from the ground up, so help us start one in your community by GIVING TODAY!

One of our primary goals here at UCRWG is to keep local stakeholders (that means YOU!) informed about environmental challenges in the headwaters of the Colorado River. A Watershed Snapshot will allow us to provide up-to-date information on the health of the watershed while tracking how growing demands from both the Eastern and Western slopes impact overall water quality.

Our goal is to provide water users with both data and photos documenting the environmental health of the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River so that we can better understand the TRUE cost of water on our local environment. Your donation will help us put together the tools to make this happen.  

Please DONATE TODAY, so we can grow our small, grassroots nonprofit into a robust organization that works hard to protect and conserve the headwaters of the Upper Colorado River through community outreach and education, science-based watershed management goals, and comprehensive assistance for local landowners in managing our water, our most precious resource.

Looking Ahead 

Restoring the North Fork

Sediment buildup at the mouth of the North Fork River in Shadow Mountain Reservoir.

Sediment buildup at the mouth of the North Fork River can be clearly seen in this aerial photo – the severe impact on water quality further downstream cannot. This ongoing, slow-moving buildup has serious implications for ecosystem health further downstream, both in Shadow Mountain Reservoir and beyond.

Our goal for 2020 is to develop a management plan to restore the North Fork and improve water quality in Shadow Mountain Reservoir. We are currently applying for grants to help us develop a Watershed Management Plan, a critical step for establishing a comprehensive, science-based approach to managing the Upper Colorado River watershed as a whole. 

Watershed Management Plan looks at everything that impacts the health and resiliency of the entire watershed – including the values and goals of all the different stakeholders that depend on that water. While current efforts focus on smaller sections of local waterways or land immediately bordering riparian areas, a Watershed Management Plan unites these efforts into a whole.

While we are unable to hold the community meetings we were planning on at this time, we still want to involve YOU in your local watershed group. Keep an eye out for guided hikes later this summer and community planning meetings when we can once again gather in groups. Until then, please reach out to us at UCRWGteam@gmail.com with any questions or comments.


Forming New Alliances

UCRWG has been invited to join The Colorado River Waterkeeper Network, a nonprofit organization that connects like-minded watershed groups along the length of the Colorado River basin, all the way from high in the Rocky Mountains to the Colorado River Delta on the Gulf of California! This new association will strengthen our local conservation efforts with broader support, more experience, and the ability to team up on technical opportunities.

The Colorado River Waterkeeper Network is a regional chapter of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which is international in scope. Waterkeeper Alliance focuses on preserving and protecting clean water by connecting local watershed groups worldwide, advocating for drinkable, swimmable, and fishable water in diverse communities around the globe.

We are excited to join the 300+ local organizations that work with Waterkeeper Alliance and how this will strengthen our efforts as we continue our journey to protect the headwaters of the Colorado River.


Get Involved!

Do you want to help navigate the direction that UCRWG is going in? If so, apply to JOIN OUR BOARD!

We are currently looking for motivated Grand County citizens who are passionate about preserving the health and resiliency of the Upper Colorado River watershed for generations to come to join our Board of Directors. If you have skills, expertise, or enthusiasm that you think would help propel UCRWG forward, please send a resume and letter of interest to: UCRWGteam@gmail.com for consideration.

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