State of the River 2023 Recap: “We’re Here, We’re Listening.”

The 2023 State of the River season wrapped up on June 1 with a final event in partnership with Eagle River Water & Sanitation District. The Colorado River District’s spring State of the River meetings are one of the primary ways for staff at the River District to connect with communities across our 15 counties served. The events are free, in-person, after working hours, and include a light dinner to make participation available to as many water users across the West Slope as possible.

The District’s External Affairs team celebrated the 2023 season’s nine events across nine different West Slope counties between late March and June 1, drawing over 1,000 registrations and about 900 in-person attendees in total. Building off the success of the 2022 season, the River District presented on a variety of topics, but the main message we wanted to convey was a reminder of why we exist. That the Colorado River District is your watchdog for West Slope water. We work for you. We’re here and we’re listening.

The District also continued the State of the River tradition of updates on the larger Colorado River crisis, with an emphasis on a deeper but publicly-digestible dive into interstate Colorado River negotiations, and the state and local actions and impacts emergent as a result. As headlines quickly shifted with state and federal actions, the External Affairs team swiftly adapted State of the River presentations to incorporate new information, timelines, and keep our constituents current. Following the Bureau of Reclamation’s April release of its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), we welcomed Colorado River Commissioner Becky Mitchell to three of our final State of the River events in Garfield, Grand, and Summit counties to provide state context on these Big River updates. As a result, two of our largest State of the River events (Grand and Summit) brought together leaders from almost all levels of government – from local county commissioners to state elected officials – providing a unique forum for our constituents to learn and engage in Q&A.

In addition to presentations on the Big River, State of the River 2023 topics also covered hydrology and climate updates, local partner projects, and the River District’s Community Funding Partnership.

The 2023 State of the River events each have webpages with summary agendas and presentation materials from speakers available. The External Affairs team at the River District is grateful to all of our event partners, guest speakers, and all who attended this year’s events!

  • Gunnison (in Montrose)March 20 following the Gunnison Basin Roundtable Meeting; 166 registered, 160 in attendance.
  • Moffat County (in Craig) – March 22 in coordination with Ag Appreciation Week and the Community Ag Alliance; 60 registered, 52 in attendance.
  • Routt County (Steamboat Springs) – March 23 in coordination with Ag Appreciation Week and the Community Ag Alliance; 122 registered, 100 in attendance.
  • Rio Blanco County (in Rangely) April 5 with the White River Conservation District; 90 registered, 60 in attendance.
  • Mesa County (in Grand Junction) April 13 at Colorado Mesa University with the Ruth Hutchins Powell Water Center; 135 registered, 105 in attendance.
  • Middle Colorado (in Glenwood Springs) May 2 with the Middle Colorado Watershed Council; 115 registered, 90 in attendance.
  • Grand County (in Granby) May 22 with Grand County; 125 registered, 105 in attendance.
  • Summit County (in Silverthorne) May 23 with the Blue River Watershed Group & Summit County; 135 registered, 120 in attendance.
  • Eagle River Valley (in Edwards) June 1 with Eagle River Water & Sanitation District; 64 registered, 40 in attendance.