Through public education and outreach, the RGHRP has successfully established a position in the community as a leader in addressing river related challenges in the Rio Grande Basin. Public outreach is performed to raise awareness of the RGHRP and it's work, as well as educate landowners, ranchers, and other members of the community about the importance of healthy rivers. Education and outreach efforts include the development of visual aids, email newsletters, local media article submissions, public volunteer events, site tours for schools and other community groups, and presentations to local committees. Committees include the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable, local conservation and conservancy districts’ boards, and civic organizations. Additionally, the RGHRP through its Education and Outreach Program has held local public meetings in response to requests by interested landowners and public entities.
In addition to education of the public, some of our planning documents seek to better inform partners and ourselves about the condition of the river, the community's values, and what actions should be taken to improve the river in line with those values. Since the 2001 Study, we have managed several other studies and plans, including the Lower Rio Grande Study, the Rio Grande Basin Plan and it's Update, and the Stream Management Plans for the Rio Grande, Conejos River, and Saguache Creek.
The RGHRP acted as the fiscal agent for the original iteration of this project, overseen by the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable. Basin Implementation Plans were created as part of Colorado's Water Plan to identify water needs in each river basin and the opportunities, projects, and methods that the roundtables would implement to meet current and future water resource challenges. With the Technical Update to the Colorado water Plan, The original BIP documents are also getting an update. The Restoration Project was hired as the "Local Expert" for the Rio Grande Basin, and oversaw the update process through the organization of local expert meetings, collaboration with the Roundtable, and administration. The update was published in 2022.
Restoration Project staff have a long history of participation and collaboration with the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable (RGBRT) since it's inception in 2005. The Restoration Project as an entity has since taken on additional rolls within the RGBRT by both serving as the Local Expert for the BIP Update (see above), and more recently helping administer roundtable funds for Outreach and Education efforts. This process centers itself within the Roundtable Education Committee, which plans and carries out educational tours, news articles, resources, and other multimedia projects involving water. Education Committee meetings are open to the public and usually take place the morning before a monthly roundtable meeting.
The RGHRP partners with the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, Conejos Water Conservancy District, and Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative to facilitate the Rio Grande Water Leaders Course. The goal of the Rio Grande Water Leaders Course is to provide the opportunity for community members to engage in education and networking to prepare them to take a future role in safeguarding, developing, and managing the water resources of the San Luis Valley. The Water Course introduces state and local water management principles to young professionals and engages them in the local water community. Course topics covered include San Luis Valley hydrology, history of Colorado water development, key court cases, water rights administration, groundwater management, river restoration, and much more. Course participants are presented with Colorado Foundation for Water Education Citizen's Guides that provide a foundation to understand the complexities of water management and policy decisions. If you are interested in attending, email us to get yourself on the contact list for the next course.
Along with the efforts described above, the Restoration Project strives to serve as a community resource for education regarding restoration practices and environmental consciousness, especially when it comes to river health. This goal often manifests itself with visiting restoration sites...
Staff with the Restoration Project also collaborate with the Rio Grande Water Conservation and Education Initiative (RGWCEI) to help conduct education with local schools, youth organizations, and their anu