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RBC | The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) hosted more than 800 people in Denver for its 71st annual meeting. This year’s meeting featured a long list of VIP speakers. Just in Monday’s general session alone, attendees heard from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown, and Olympian Jenny Simpson.
During his welcoming speech, Governor Hickenlooper specifically noted the Rio Blanco County Land and Natural Resource Plan developed by the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts’ and Rio Blanco County. “The plan gives the districts a seat at the table with the federal agencies so when they work together, the local voice is clearer, and I would argue louder,” said Hickenlooper. “That partnership, I think, is a model for what we should be doing not just around the state but around the country,” he continued.
White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts were actively engaged in the planning and implementation of the meeting through board member Gary Moyer and staff. Moyer serves on the NACD Executive Committee and was intimately involved in organizing the water session that focused on western water laws. The panel included: Colorado State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg; Chris Treese, the manager of external affairs for the Colorado River Water Conservation District; Jim Ogsbury, the executive director of the Western Governors’ Association; and Sam Walker, the global chief legal and corporate affairs officer for Molson Coors and was moderated by Tracee Bentley, executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council.
Moyer also played a key role in organizing the tour for the NACD annual meeting that focused on Colorado being a headwater state. Two tour buses hauled a geographically diverse group of nearly 100 people to the top of Berthoud Pass to show the crowd the 12 foot deep snow pack that would melt and provide Colorado and several downstream Compact states water for the year. The tour also featured speakers highlighting the basics of Colorado water law, the Compact requirements with downstream states, the trans-mountain diversions in Colorado, and the effects of forest health on water quality.
White River and Douglas Creek Conservation District staff, helped to facilitate events focused on the excess “wild” horse issues in the west. The movie, Unbranded, was presented including a moderated discussion with movie producer and BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Member, Ben Masters; Acting National BLM Director, Kristin Bail; and Nevada Association of Conservation Districts’ President, Jake Tibbitts. district staff fielded many questions of the attendees while manning the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition’s booth in the exhibit hall.
The districts are proud to have been such an integral part of the NACD meeting to help inform and educate other district officials across the United States about our water and natural resource concerns.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Callie Hendrickson at 970-250-6825 or email at Callie.districts@ gmail.com.