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 2020 & Winter 2021 Presenters


October 8, 2020 -

Economics of Colorado River Recreation

Molly Mugglestone, Director of Colorado Policy and Communications, Business for Water Stewardship

Rivers are major economic drivers throughout the West, and as people recreate on or near them they are spending dollars that are not inconsequential to the economy. In this presentation, Molly will provide an overview of a new study on the economic impacts of river related recreation in the state of Colorado. This new study was commissioned by Business for Water Stewardship and undertaken by leading economists Southwick and Associates, who have also worked on economic research for the Outdoor Industry Association and Audubon Arizona among many other groups. Understanding how river related recreation contributes the Colorado’s economy helps in making the case for water policy that advances healthy and flowing rivers and encourages conservation and efficiency. 



Check back soon for additional presenters being added to the Fall and Winter schedule. 


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

* Timing may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. Always check location and final schedule at


Please RSVP here to reserve a seat.



Interested in underwriting an event?
Please contact Sheryl Sabandal, development director, at

Carter & Dane Brooksher

Carter and Dane Brooksher have been an integral part of RFC’s 23-year history. The Brooksher’s experience with numerous nonprofit organizations combined with a passion for rivers and an undying devotion to RFC, provided vital support for this organization over the years. During Carter’s 16-year tenure on the board she co-founded the National Council (formerly Rivers Council) and was instrumental in the creation of RFC’s annual River Rendezvous fundraiser. After stepping off the board, she continued to serve on The River Center Steering Committee and, along with her husband, provide invaluable support to RFC fundraising, staff and events.

It was back in 1998 that Carter suggested RFC create a Watershed Institute – a series of presentations with water leaders that would discuss water at the regional, state, national and international levels. It was this vision, timed with moving into The River Center, that catapulted her dream into reality. Thus, in 2019 The Brooksher Watershed Institute was born.

Previous Presenters


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.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


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.

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.


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.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.

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

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.

July 18, 2019 -

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.


March 11, 2019 -

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?

Funded in part by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Wright Water Engineers.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


February 28, 2019 -

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.

Funded in part by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Wright Water Engineers.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


February 12, 2019 -

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?

Funded in part by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Wright Water Engineers.

Watch a recording of the presentation HERE.


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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