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The Law of the Colorado River: Conflict and Collaboration

  • 06:00 PM
  • 970-476-0954

The Law of the Colorado River: Conflict and Collaboration

Speaking Locally

with Anne Castle, Eric Kuhn, John McClow and Pat Mulroy

Moderated by Holly Loff

October 3, 2018

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Hotel Talisa |Vail

The mighty Colorado River is a source of life flowing through seven Western U.S. states and Mexico, providing water to nearly 40 million people; it’s the backbone of agriculture, tourism, recreation, irrigation, and hydropower industries in the West. The river basin has a complex history of governance at the State, Federal, and local level known as the “Law of the River.” Famously over-allocated at the time of signing, the Colorado River Compact of 1922 is the cornerstone of the Law of the River and dictates the management of the river’s flows between Upper Basin and Lower Basin states.
How do water managers take on an already over-allocated river with growing stressors such as drought, climate change and an ever-growing population? What will happen if water levels continue to drop in Lake Powell and Lake Mead? What is a “compact call” and what will it mean for Western states, as well as Eagle County as a headwaters community?
Join John McClow, Anne Castle, Pat Mulroy and Eric Kuhn and learn from these experts intimately involved in the management of the Colorado River Upper and Lower basins for answers to these questions as well as the innovative strategies being implemented to combat the growing threats to the river such as the Drought Contingency Plan, System Conservation Pilot Program, Minute 319 & 323 and more.  
Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado, focusing on western water policy issues.  From 2009 to 2014, she was Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy for the Department and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey.  While at Interior, Castle spearheaded the Department’s WaterSMART program, which although not an entirely original name despite best intentions and multiple trademark searches, provides federal leadership on the path toward sustainable water supplies. She was the driving force behind the 2010 federal MOU addressing sustainable hydropower, the largest, least respected, and most vilified form of renewable energy in the country.  Castle also provided hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues and was the Chair of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group and a champion of Minute 319 between the US and Mexico. Castle is a recovering lawyer, having practiced water law for 28 years with the Rocky Mountain law firm of Holland & Hart.
Eric Kuhn was, until July 2018, the General Manager of the Colorado River District, a position he held since 1996. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from the University of New Mexico and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in California.
Prior to working for the Colorado River District, he served as an engineer officer aboard nuclear submarines in the U.S. Navy and worked as a nuclear start-up engineer for Bechtel Power Corp. Eric started employment with the Colorado River District in 1981 as Assistant Secretary Engineer. He has served on the Engineering Advisory Committee of the Upper Colorado River Compact Commission since 1981. From 1994 through 2001, he served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board representing the Colorado River mainstem. In 2006, Eric was appointed by Governor Owens as an at-large representative on the Colorado Interbasin Compact Committee, a position he continues to hold.
Currently, Eric is writing a book about how Colorado River hydrology and how the past and current understandings colored the Colorado River Compact of 1922 and present-day policy issues.
John H. McClow is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Colorado Law. He has practiced law in Colorado since 1973. He has represented the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District since 1991, becoming full-time General Counsel in 2006.
John is a Colorado Bar Fellow, a member of the Board of Directors of the Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy, and is past Chair of the Seventh Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance. He is a member of the Board of Directors and is past President (2014) of the Colorado Water Congress, and is Vice-Chair of its State Affairs Committee. He is the Legislative Representative to the Gunnison Basin Roundtable and served as the Gunnison-Uncompahgre Basin Director on the Colorado Water Conservation Board 2009-2018. He represents Colorado in the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group. He served 2013-2014 as Colorado’s Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission and Colorado’s representative to negotiations among the seven Colorado River Basin states, the United States and Mexico. He is currently an Alternate Commissioner.
Pat Mulroy is a former senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program. In addition, she serves as the senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West. Mulroy has accumulated decades of experience in water resource management. She previously served as the general manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Mulroy also serves as the program lead for water resources and technology at the Desert Research Institute. She is a founding chair of the Western Urban Water Coalition, and she was a founding member of the Water Utility Climate Alliance. She served on the Board of Directors for the National Water Resources Association and with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies first as Treasurer (2009-2011) and then as President (2011-2013).
At Brookings, Mulroy collaborates with Brookings scholars in Washington DC and the overseas centers in Doha, New Delhi and Beijing to improve water policy. In Doha, she is working to provide policy analysis to help improve Middle East water management. Through these efforts, she is working to deliver a global impact by modernizing water policy where it is most critically needed.
Moderator Holly Loff has served as the executive director of Eagle River Watershed Council since 2013. Under her direction the Watershed Council set and continues to implement a strategic organizational path that focuses on advocating for the health of the watershed, focusing on education, fostering collaboration and securing diversified funding. Holly draws on her nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, her resource conservation degree from the University of Montana and her inspiration, the Eagle River, which lies right outside her front door. Holly’s nonprofit experience started as an AmeriCorps member building hiking trails in the backcountry and leading environmental education programs for Maine Conservation Corps. Since then she has served as a board member, volunteer, program coordinator and development associate in nonprofits. Holly spends her free time skiing, hiking, reading novels, camping and rafting with her husband and two kids.
This program is presented in partnership with Eagle River Watershed Council.

Note: The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.; the program begins at 6 p.m.

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