Grand Junction seminar brings water policy leaders to talk drought, climate |

Grand Junction seminar brings water policy leaders to talk drought, climate

Two of the most important people in Western water leadership will address participants at the Colorado River District’s annual water seminar in Grand Junction on Thursday, Sept. 10.

Jennifer Gimbel, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s assistant secretary for water and science, and Pat Mulroy, senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Brookings Mountain West, will speak at the event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center.

Gimbel was director at the Colorado Water Conservation Board and now oversees the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado River administration.

Mulroy oversaw the Southern Nevada Water Authority for 21 years where she positioned Las Vegas for growth in the face of limited water supply. She retired in 2014 as the water authority’s general manager and is now a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C.

The theme of the seminar is “Will What’s Happening in California Stay in California?” 

Speakers will trace water supply and policy concerns from the Pacific to Colorado, looking at climate and weather basics, drought in California and the West, planning for low reservoir levels at Lakes Powell and Mead, and an analysis of the draft Colorado Water Plan.

Klaus Wolter, a Boulder-based NOAA research scientist and El Niño-La Niña expert, will preview the growing El Niño conditions and snowpack this winter.

Colorado River District staff will speak about transmountain diversions and protecting existing water uses in the face of diminishing supplies and potential demand management necessities.

Other speakers will address irrigated agriculture’s role in water planning, efficiency and conservation planning, financing and other topics.

Cost of the seminar, which includes lunch, is $30 if pre-registered by Friday, Sept. 4, or $40 at the door. College students can attend for $10, and attorneys and real estate agents can receive continuing education credits.

For more information, visit or contact Meredith Spyker at 970-945-8522 or

Fourth-graders, families can access all federal public lands for free

Fourth-graders and their families now can obtain a pass that provides free access to all federally-managed lands and waters –—including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.

As part of President Barack Obama’s commitment to protect the country’s outdoor spaces and ensure every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them, the Obama Administration formally launched the Every Kid in a Park program on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Families can receive a pass valid for the 2015-16 school year that grants free entry for fourth graders and three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) at more than 2,000 federally-managed sites.

Leading up to the 100th birthday of the National Park Service in 2016, Obama announced the Every Kid in a Park initiative earlier this year as a call to action to get all children to experience America’s outdoors, history and culture.

More than 80 percent of American families now live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, youth spend more hours than ever in front of screens instead of outside.

Fourth graders can log onto the website at and complete a fun educational activity in order to obtain and print their paper pass. Students may also trade in their paper pass for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.

Educators and community leaders can access educational activities, field trip options, and the ability to print passes for their classrooms. Parents visiting the new website can find additional links for more information on planning trips to nearby public lands.

The Every Kid in a Park program is designed to continue each year with the then-current group of fourth graders.

The President’s 2016 Budget includes a total increased investment of $45 million for youth engagement programs throughout the Department of the Interior, with $20 million specifically provided to the National Park Service for youth activities, including bringing one million fourth-grade children from low-income areas to national parks. This increase will also fund dedicated youth coordinators to help enrich children and family learning experiences at parks and online.

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