Education and Outreach / Watershed Institute

The Brooksher Watershed Institute

Roaring Fork Conservancy invites you to The River Center for presentations addressing our most precious resource, water. We’ll discuss the most current water-related issues at the local, state and national level, and provide opportunities for one-on-one dialogue with these water leaders.


Fall 2019 & Winter 2020 Speaker Series


October 16, 2019 -

1,000 miles into the future: 150 years after John Wesley Powell’s journey into the arid West

Tom Minckley, Ph.D., Professor of Geology, University of Wyoming

This summer, 63 scientists, artists, authors, journalists, academics and graduate students spent 70 days retracing John Wesley Powell’s 1,000 mile journey on the Colorado River. Expedition leader, Dr. Tom Minckley, will share personal stories about this adventure, what stayed the same or changed since Powell was there 150 years ago, and what the next 150 years will hold for the Colorado River basin if we don’t heed his and Powell’s on-the-ground observations. Learn more about this expedition at

Sponsored by Mr. Adam Holt


November 12, 2019 -

Science Be Dammed; How ignoring inconvenient science drained the Colorado, and its relevance to the future of the Colorado River

Eric Kuhn, Retired General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District and coauthor, with John Fleck, of Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River

In 2018, Eric Kuhn partnered with John Fleck, author of Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths about Water in the West, to write a book about our understanding of Colorado River hydrology. Conventional wisdom is that the compact negotiators did the best they could with a limited gage record that happened to be during a very wet period. Kuhn and Fleck show that contrary to this myth, the politicians, states, and water agencies that shaped the development of the river had the science available to them to make better decisions, but political expedience prevailed and the science was ignored. Today, the Colorado River is overused and facing a future where climate change is reducing its flows. As we shape the future of the Colorado River, will we learn from our past mistakes or will we continue to ignore inconvenient science?  His book Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River will be available in late November 2019.

December 12, 2019 -

Predicting Powder and the Science of Snow with meteorologist Joel Gratz

Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist, Open Snow

Join Joel for a fun and entertaining evening full of snow and science! Joel will present what the latest research says about how far in advance we can predict powder, he’ll pinpoint which weather patterns bring the most snow to central Colorado, and he will also take you through a live forecast by showing the same satellite, radar, and weather model maps that he uses to make his daily predictions.


February 13, 2020-

Anchor Ice in Mountain Rivers

Edward Kempema, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, University of Wyoming

Anchor ice forms underwater and attaches to the beds of rivers, lakes, and seas in cold regions. It is a fascinating and poorly understood phenomenon. Dr. Kempema, who has studied ice for 40 years, will discuss the conditions leading to anchor ice formation, distribution in small mountain rivers, and impacts on mountain river systems - including winter flooding - and what potential management practices are available.

March 11, 2020 -

The Amazon River: Facing Fears, Chasing Dreams, and A Quest to Kayak the Largest River from Source to Sea

Darcy Gaechter, World Kayaker & Owner/Operator of Small World Adventures in Ecuador

Darcy is the first woman to kayak the Amazon River from Source to Sea! What did it take for her to make her dream come true? Among stunning scenery and Class V rapids, she also encountered ruthless poachers and narco-traffickers, pled for mercy at the hands of one of the tribe’s, and cut her hair to pass as a boy in hopes of saving her life. Darcy will share these stories and more about her 148-day journey down the Amazon River. Her book Amazon Woman: Facing Fears, Chasing Dreams, and My Quest to Kayak the Largest River from Source to Sea will also be available for purchase.




Check back soon for additional 2019 Fall & 2020 Winter Presenters

5:30-6:00pm   Refreshments
6:00-7:00pm   Presentation and Q&A
7:00-7:30pm   Opportunity to dialogue with speaker



Please RSVP here to reserve a seat.

Previous Presenters

Summer 2019

July 18 -

50 Years of River Protection

Nicole Silk, Executive Director, River Network

As water champions celebrate the 50th anniversary of the burning of the Cuyahoga River in northeastern Ohio, Nicole will share what river protections have emerged since that infamous day, and shed light on what the next 50 years of water protection will bring.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


Winter 2019 Speaker Series

February 12 -

How to Manage the Colorado River for the New Normal (Drought)

Chris Treese, External Affairs Manager, Colorado River Water Conservation District

How does the 1922 Colorado River Compact impact 2019 water availability and beyond? Can a critically empty Lake Powell be an asset as we move into a more arid climate and burgeoning population’s water needs?

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


February 28 -

Plant a Seed, Grow a Snowpack: A Discussion of Cloud Seeding in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Dave Kanzer, Deputy Chief Engineer, Colorado River Water Conservation District

What is “cloud seeding” and how is it being employed today (and in the future) across the Upper Colorado River Basin? We’ll explore the science of, lessons learned to date and implications of cloud seeding as a water management tool.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


March 11 -

Restoring Critical Riparian Habitat in the Age of Invasives

Cara Kukuraitis, Outreach & Education Coordinator, RiversEdge West

Tamarisk is an invasive plant that’s been taking over critical riparian areas, displacing much (in some places, all!) of the native vegetation.  How did this plant invade so rapidly, what other impacts does it have on our ecosystem, and what is being done to manage it and other invasive plants in the face of a changing climate?

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.



Funding for the 2019 Winter Series of The Brooksher Watershed Institute was partially provided by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Wright Water Engineers.

Contact Us

Roaring Fork Conservancy

PHONE: (970) 927-1290

PO Box 3349
Basalt, CO 81621

22800 Two Rivers Road
Basalt, CO 81621

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