Western Water and Community Resilience in a Changing Climate.

Recordings from the online conference, May 21-22, 2020, are below!

Western Colorado University— “The Headwaters University of the American Southwest”—invites the water leaders of today and tomorrow to the Western Water Futures Games. The Games, originally scheduled to take place on the Western Colorado University campus, have been moved online.

For further information, please contact Jeff Sellen at: jsellen@western.edu


Thursday, May 21, 2020

2020 Conference Introduction and Overview

-Welcome by WCU Dean of ENVS Dr. John Hausdoerffer, Introduction by Conference Director Jeff Sellen, Conference Overview by Western Water Channel President Max Sawyer

-Introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7AtrWXO34U

Agriculture Conversation - “Agriculture and Water Use in a Changing Climate”

Bill Parker Co-Founder of Parker Pastures
         -Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGHaJetB-r0

Sue Wyman Owner of Gunnison Gardens
         -Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROBUmi-v4Hk

Alex Funk from the Colorado Water Conservation Board
         -Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqC4sjNwnIw

Kate Greenberg the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture
         -Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK_iJD1aA1g

Discussion Session 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYFU_ULJmvI

Policy Conversation - “Consumer Water Supply Management Adaptations and Solutions”

Sonja Chavez from the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District
         -Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsXOvbf75YQ

Jack Greene, Tyler Benton and Irene Wilson from the Colorado Water Congress POND Committee
        Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVEMNzAKOb4

Taylor Winchell from Denver Water
        Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JhWGgzB-hI

Discussion Session 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y9aKohJjrI

Day 1 Closing Statements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMY1LGSLRTY

Friday, May 22, 2020

Introduction and Daily Overview

Day 2 Introduction by Madison Hart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7HFbfZJ9wA

Continuing Educational Opportunities from Sara Johnson and Wild Rose Education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VMdtlvG480

Further Learning and Sarah's Contact Information:

Big Ideas and Pragmatic Solutions Conversation - “What You Need to Keep in Mind”

Chris Caskey founder of Delta Brick and Climate Company
        Introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhcPu7WkQHY
        Presentation starts with a video by Jason MacMillan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aeqkpu_65d8&t=5s
        Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPJJobkf9Is

Malcolm Macleod – Implementation and Use of Beaver Dam Flow Devices
        Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVn1oTcR71A

Ed Millard - “Forgotten Law of the River”
        Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKdmiwv3hbo
        Slides: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NyZoy7uZtAOvQzXsXqTFo4MplnNQ_fMO/view

James Eklund - “The Colorado Water Plan”
        Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMOEJyymDqI

(Previous Presentation Moves Directly into the Final Discussion Period)

Final Closing Statements
        Closing Remarks by Dr. Sellen, Madison Hart, and Max Sawyer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvLNb0_BFuQ

Videos Shown at the 2020 Conference

(all available in the public domain)

2019 WWFG -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSv58ZuWjN8

Description: A quick 2-minute video showcasing the inaugural Western Water Futures Games held at Western Colorado University in May 2019.

Basin on the Brink -https://vimeo.com/408602301

Description: Filmed and produced by former Master of Environmental Management (MEM) student at Western Colorado University, Sam Liebl, this 10-minutue mini-documentary tells a story with deep connections to the Gunnison Valley. “The Gunnison sage-grouse has withstood millennia of changes in Western Colorado. But now the species faces extinction as the invasive plant cheatgrass invades its last refuge—the remote Gunnison Basin. Basin residents now have a choice to make. Do they take drastic steps to combat cheatgrass? Or do they let cheat-grass fueled wildfires snuff out a beautiful, bizarre and iconic species?"

Bound by the River- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5olD0LXcLdI

Description: A short 5-minute film produced by the Colorado River District. “For more than 80 years, the Colorado River District has been working to safeguard Western Colorado's water resources for agriculture, recreation, industry and the environment”. On the Western Slope of the Colorado Rocky Mountains water is life and we must protect our cool-clean water resources.

Upper Colorado: A River on the Brink- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzWA8gTb4og

Description: A Trout Unlimited film lasting just over 6-minutes that draws attention to challenges being faced by the Upper Colorado River. “Denver, do you know where your water comes from? This new short documentary "Tapped Out" looks at the massive water diversions to the Front Range that are pushing the Upper Colorado River to the point of ecological collapse, endangering fabled fisheries as well as local economies. A must-see for anyone who cares about protecting our rivers and outdoors heritage”.

The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIPV-H9iCPA

Description: A fantastic 3-minute video by Peter McBride introducing the book that he co-authored with John Waterman The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict. “The Colorado River is the seventh largest river in the U.S., supplying water to over 30 million people. It is also one of the most diverted, silted, and heavily litigated rivers in the world. The farmers and residents of the rapidly growing western states rely on the river for irrigation, drinking water, and electricity. This demand has permanently altered the river's ecology. The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict shows us the river's entirety—from its headwaters in the Colorado Rockies to the dry riverbed that once reached the Sea of Cortez—in an oversized, full-color, photo essay format."

Renewal- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TODV7FW746s

Description: This 10-minute film produced and directed by Andrew Quinn in association with Owen Bissell is narrated by Robert Redford, Renewal captures the breathtaking and historic surge of water that was released into the Colorado River in the Spring of 2014. The water surge, called a "pulse flow" was a grand experiment of the US and Mexican governments, and the many nonprofits and advocates working on saving the river's mighty Delta. The new water created, once again, a river to the sea. Families, children and communities celebrated the return of the water, as did the birds and wildlife in the region. On May 14, 2014, the cool, fresh water of the Colorado River touched the salty water of the Upper Gulf of California -- an event that has not occurred regularly in at least a half a century. The pulse flow was an initiative associated with the historic 2012 agreement between the US and Mexico, called Minute 319. For more information on the efforts to save and restore life to the Delta, go to https://raisetheriver.org/

CO Water Plan- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzbnuvNKUNU

Description: A 8-minute film by the Colorado Water Conservation Board published in 2015 that discusses the Colorado Water Plan. “Colorado's Water Plan was officially adopted by the CWCB Board and released to Governor John Hickenlooper at 10a.m. on November 19, 2015. This fantastic video was narrated by John Stulp, and Kate McIntire, and produced by Moxicran Media. Please visit coloradowaterplan.com for more information, and to include your comments into the next draft of your Colorado's Water Plan."

Billy Barr- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L72G8TLtTCk&feature=youtu.be

Description: A National Geographic Short Film Showcase that is 5-minutes long and tells the story of one of the unique individuals residing in the Gunnison Valley. The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. “Welcome to Gothic, Colorado—one of the coldest places in the United States. This ghost town has been abandoned since the 1920s, but there is at least one person who still calls it home. For more than 40 years, current resident billy barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snowpack to pass the time. In this short film, Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions profiles the legendary local who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data."

Powell 150 Trailer- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwf8Ilk6yoc

Description: The official Powell 150 trailer. This 2-minute trailer details one of the largest sources of influence behind the Western Water Channel’s Maiden Voyage River Research Trip; a multidisciplinary study in place-based learning. We are so excited to see the final film! "Following in John Weslet Powell's footsteps, Powell 150 documents a diverse group of river runners on a historic & immersive adventure through the heart of the West as they travel 1000 miles from Green River, Wyoming, to Lake Mead, Nevada, along the Green and Colorado Rivers." For more information, visit https://www.powell150.org

Trans-mountain Diversions- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tPZDtNr9GU

Description: An educational Colorado River District video from 2014. At 8-minutes long it is an educational and historical watch. While we did not show it at the 2020 Games it is still full of good background information.

Coldharbour Institute- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSUbvWqYHnM

Description: A 6-minute production by The EPCS Project showcasing one of the Gunnison Valley’s most valuable educational resources. “Located in Gunnison, Colorado, Coldharbour Institute's mission is to facilitate education, incubation, and demonstration of responsible personal, community, and land practices”. Coldharbour works closely with the community and numerous organizations in the Gunnison Valley including Western Colorado University and Parker Pastures. One of the 2019 WWFG field trips was held at Coldharbour Ranch.

Western Water and Power (PBS)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hlDRtgV62Y

Description: A Rocky Mountain PBS Colorado Roadshow feature that was aired in February 2020. This 1-hour long PBS episode was pre-screened at Western in February and features WCU professor Duane Vandenbusche. “Ever since Western settlers dreamed of deserts in bloom, men have chased the mirage of more water than these arid lands can provide. "Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting” describes the urgent struggle every generation of Coloradans faces to control this fleeting resource—creating hydrodynamic history through structures that can propel water to run uphill toward money, and power."

Jason MacMillan (WCU MEM)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aeqkpu_65d8&t=5s

Description: Featured as the kick-off to the first presentation of day 2 of the 2020 WWFG, this 10-minute video is the final presentation of WCU Master of Environmental Management graduate Jason MacMillan. The video describes an innovative solution for one issue seen in the world of Environmental Management and is an example of the solutions that we hope to promote as we work for a more resilient future.

Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District- https://vimeo.com/260002304

Description: Produced by the 2020 WWFG sponsor, the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, this 7-minute video showcases the Gunnison Valley and what water stakeholders work for in the Gunnison Valley. This video showcases a number of the individuals and organizations that we work closely with in order to promote healthy and resilient water resources in the Gunnison Basin.

Remains of a River: Full-Length Film- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8CXQkXlYg8

Description: Another video not shown in full at the 2020 Games but still well worth the watch. This 50-minute film tells the tale of two friends traversing 1,700 miles in 113 days within the Colorado River Watershed. “From October 2011 to January 2012, Will Stauffer-Norris and Zak Podmore hiked and paddled from Wyoming's Wind River Mountains to Mexico following the Colorado River system from its farthest inland source to the sea, filming and narrating on the fly. The resulting film, Remains of a River, is an unforgettable story of friendship, adventure and environmental degradation. At turns inspiring and alarming, this will have you laughing, marveling, shaking your head, and maybe planning an adventure of your own."

Tapped Out- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDARJgox02I

Description: Not featured at the 2020 WWFG but a thought provoking 18-minute film nonetheless. “We think of water as being plentiful and dispensable. It's part of our landscapes. It plays a role in religion. And it's the essence of our very survival. We incorporate water into our cities to make them more beautiful. We find ways to play in it. And it enriches our lives. But we often lose sight of where water comes from, and where itgoes after we use it. This documentary explores current methods of how water is supplied to our cities. How wastewater is treated. The issues with existing systems. Ways water districts are currently dealing with challenges. But we will also look to the future. How will we keep up with water demands as our urban centers grow while drinking water supplies become more scarce? And what options do we have to improve our current water infrastructure, to make it more sustainable and resilient to fluctuating climate conditions?”

Regreening the Desert- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDgDWbQtlKI&list=WL&index=317&t=395s

Description: Not featured at the 2020 WWFG, this 50-minute documentary was originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2012. We hope to have John D. Liu join us for conversations on global water resiliency at the 2021 WWFG. “For more than 15 years, cameraman and ecologist John D. Liu has been working on his worldwide mission to green deserts and to restore biodiversity. It all started in 1995 when Liu filmed the Loess-plateau in China. He witnessed a local population who turned an area of almost the same size as The Netherlands from a dry, exhausted wasteland into one green oasis. This experience changed his life. From that moment on, Liu has been travelling all over the world to convince and inspire government leaders, policy-makers and farmers with his film material and knowledge. Liu diligently spreads the message that restoration of ecosystems is not only possible, but also economically very meaningful. Backlight accompanies Liu on his mission in Jordan and shows on the basis of Liu’s own film material that a green future is possible worldwide."

DamNation- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laTIbNVDQN8&list=WL&index=310&t=0s

Description: A one and a half hour documentary sponsored by Pategonia, produced by Matt Stoecker & Travis Rummel and directed by Ben Knight & Travis Rummel. “This film explores the evolution of our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of wild rivers." Not featured at the 2020 WWFG but still worth watching.

2020 Western Water Futures Games Speaker Session Recordings Playlist on YouTube:


Contact Information:

Dr. Jeff Sellen: jsellen@western.edu

Max Sawyer: maxwell.sawyer@western.edu

Zach Dutra: zachary.dutra@western.edu

The Western Water Channel

Facebook and Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/WesternWaterChannel & @thewesternwaterchannel

Website: https://westernwaterchannel.wixsite.com/westernwaterchannel

Mailing List: thewesternwaterchannel@gmail.com

The WWFG Extends a Special Thank You to:

2020 Conference Sponsor: Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District

Western Colorado University

The Western Colorado University School of Environment and Sustainability

The Western Colorado University IT Department

Dr. Kate Clark, Dr. Jeff Sellen, Dave Primus, Mandy Casteel-Denney, Zach Dutra, and Rich Stromberg.

Ed Millard, Kate Greenberg, James Eklund, The Parker Family, Sue Wyman, Alex Funk, Taylor Winchell, Jack Greene, Tyler Benton, Irene Wilson, Sonja Chavez, Chris Caskey, Jason MacMillan, Malcolm Macleod, Molly McConnell, Laurna Kaatz, George Sibley, Svea Whiting, Dr. Jennie DeMarco, Cheryl Cwelich, Dannah Leeman, Sarah Johnson, Beverly Zubke, Stephanie Carr and Sara Leonard.

The WWFG Capstone Group: Max Sawyer, Maddie Hart, Tucker Handy, Parker Vanlandingham, Preston Russel, and Chris Medary.

Join us next May in the Gunnison Valley for the 2021 Western Water Futures Games!

“Touch water, and you touch all.”