Keeping water local: Water conservation and land preservation converge at Tuesday event in Silverthorne | SummitDaily.com
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Keeping water local: Water conservation and land preservation converge at Tuesday event in Silverthorne

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News
Special to the Daily
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A conservation easement is one of the few ways to tie water to the land and keep it local, Continental Divide Land Trust director Leigh Girvin said.

That concept is the premise of presentations slated for Tuesday at the Silverthorne Pavilion, an afternoon and evening two-part event featuring “Water on the Land, Keeping Water Local: Protecting Water Rights Through Land Conservation” – a seminar on the value of creating conservation easements – and a slide show of Peter McBride’s Colorado River photography as illustrated in his book, “The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict.”

“These two certainly would be complementary to each other,” Girvin said, adding that the land trust’s seminars have been popular in providing continuing professional education credits to Realtors, CPAs, attorneys as well as informing the general public. Tying McBride’s photography to the event gives a glimpse into the aesthetic and economic value of protecting land and the water tied to it.

“Water is a very important issue to land conservation,” Girvin said, “because a conservation easement is one of the few ways to keep water tied to the land and protect it locally.”

Highlights of the four-hour seminar include understanding Colorado water law, valuing water rights, tax benefits, and how to protect water rights through land conservation, presented by experts in water law and valuation.

It runs from 12:30-5 p.m. on Tuesday, and costs $65 for CPE credits, or $15 for the general public. The fee includes refreshments and a ticket to Peter McBride’s slide show at 6 p.m.

McBride’s presentation, comprised primarily of aerial photographs of the entirety of the Colorado River’s 1,450 miles, is a way to illustrate how land conservation has real impacts and visual components, Girvin said. He has won awards and been seen in National Geographic, Smithsonian and Outside magazines and hails from Basalt, Colo. His book highlights the historical, geographical and environmental significance of the river.  

Summit County is at the headwaters of the Colorado River, which is one of the most diverted, dammed and heavily litigated rivers in the world, Girvin said. It supplies water to more than 30 million Americans living in the arid West. She added that water issues affect everything in the High Country, from snowmaking to river recreation such as boating and fishing to irrigation, drinking and scenic beauty. Which is how, she said, the two presentations form a nexus.

“We protect open lands for their scenic quality,” she said. “It’s such an economic driver.”

The event also provides the opportunity to share what the Continental Divide Land Trust does, as well as the forum for the Blue River Watershed Group director to comment about the organization’s efforts and how it fits in.

The Continental Divide Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that works locally to protect lands with important natural and scenic qualities, and the water that supports those natural values, through conservation easements and other land preservation tools.

To learn more about the afternoon seminar, including a complete course outline and speaker biographies, or to register for the events, visit http://www.CDLT.org or call (970) 453-3875.


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