20 years of protecting the valley’s rivers | AspenTimes.com

20 years of protecting the valley’s rivers

As we move into our third decade of watershed action and education, the Roaring Fork Conservancy is continuously reminded that even this beautiful watershed has its challenges to overcome and significant reasons to invest in its protection. Each day we embrace our responsibility to every river, streambank, community member and student.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy sprang to life as a regional watershed group in the mid-1990s, in the midst of a water-focused movement in Colorado. Originally charged with educating the public, promoting conservation practices and protecting the Roaring Fork River, 20 years later Roaring Fork Conservancy still functions as the first and only organization focused solely on river and water issues throughout the Roaring Fork Watershed. The organization was born out of a public/private partnership between the town of Basalt and the Roaring Fork Club, and both remain strong partners and supporters of the organization.

Celebrating milestones provides opportunities to reflect on the impact of our work in the past 20 years:

Over 103,000 students exposed to watershed education programs.

Over 53,000 water quality tests conducted to determine the health of local streams.

Over 3,000 volunteers helped with river cleanups and restoration projects.

Almost 300 acres of riparian land protected forever through conservation easements.

An invaluable number of friends and supporters who continue to make this important work possible!

To completely fulfill our mission, Roaring Fork Conservancy needs a home that cultivates people’s relationship with water by fostering a cultural ethic that values water, rivers and watersheds. The River Center is a cutting-edge opportunity to protect rivers in the west at a time when the public is only beginning to realize the true value of water. Part education center, part environmental action center, part community gathering location and part research hub, the River Center is on track for a 2017 groundbreaking.

People across the state are watching the work we are doing here in the Roaring Fork Valley to see how they in turn can replicate our ideas and programs in their local watershed. Once again, the Roaring Fork Valley sets an example for others to follow on how a community comes together to protect a most prized asset and our most precious resource. Learn more about our programs and projects by visiting http://www.roaringfork.org.

We appreciate the support this entire valley has provided over the past 20 years.

Rick Lofaro

Executive director, Roaring Fork Conservancy


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