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The David Getches Flowing Waters Award

The David Getches Flowing Waters Award is presented in honor of David Getches' inspirational, collaborative and innovative spirit and determination in restoring and protecting healthy Colorado streamflows.  The award will be presented at RiverBank in each year the Board of Directors identifies a person or entity whose contributions to Colorado’s rivers and streams demonstrate some of David Getches’ exemplary characteristics.

“David was a regular at informal monthly meetings of some of the best water law minds in the state to think about the next step to provide necessary instream flows for water-starved Colorado streams and rivers following the maturation of the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s (CWCB) instream flow appropriation program.  During my time at University of Colorado School of Law, it was an honor just to attend these small gatherings, let alone be taken seriously.  Those meetings led to the formation of the Colorado Water Trust (CWT), the only Colorado non-profit dedicated to restore and protect streamflows to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems.  David, already busy on many boards, made time to co-found the Trust with a veritable who’s who of Colorado water.”

-Peter Nichols, CWT’s first Executive Director and long-time Board member,  remembers David Getches’ contributions to our organization and to Colorado’s rivers and streams, 2011.

David Getches helped found the Colorado Water Trust and served on CWT’s Board of Directors for a decade until his passing in July 2011. His passion for the environment, his creativity, and his quiet, thoughtful approach to complex problems were a strong influence during the Trust’s formative years. The foundation David helped establish guides the way the Colorado Water Trust operates in our community. During his life, David served as Dean of the University of Colorado, School of Law. He had previously served as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and as an advisor to the Interior Secretary during the Clinton Administration. David authored a number of books and publications on western water issues. He graciously gave his limited free time to a number of causes in which he deeply believed, including the Colorado Water Trust.

Award Recipients

RiverBank 2014: John Stokes

Now serving as the Natural Areas Department & Poudre River Sustainability Director for the City of Fort Collins, John Stokes has been working to improve the City’s natural areas for over a decade.  Through his role as the Poudre River Sustainability Director, John is responsible for keeping the best interests of the Poudre River at the forefront of the City’s thinking and planning any time a city department’s activities affect the Cache la Poudre River.  John is constantly scanning for ways to improve the Poudre River corridor and keep more water flowing instream.  He is an integral part of The Poudre Runs Through It Study/Action Work Group serving on both the Steering committee and the Flows committee working to address agricultural, municipal, and environmental interests to create a healthier yet still hard-working Poudre River.  John and his colleagues at the City have implemented a number of first-ever large-scale habitat restoration efforts on the Poudre in Fort Collins, including the removal of a non-operational diversion structure in collaboration with CWT.

RiverBank 2013Kevin McBride, the Gates Family Foundation, Sandra Postel

Collaboration is a keystone in successful streamflow projects. With this in mind, we are honored to present The David Getches Flowing Waters Award to three recipients:

Kevin McBride, General Manager for Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, offered up water to help a drying stream.  Kevin got word of a program that could add water to the Yampa River in what was shaping up to be a hard, dry year.  He invested his time and effort to navigate a pilot program utilizing a legal mechanism that had never before been tested to, hopefully, produce multiple benefits for his community.  His perseverance and willingness to try something new resembled David’s indomitable spirit, the spirit in which we give this award.

The Gates Family Foundation, a luminary in Colorado philanthropy, invested early, generously, and venturously in a new program.  Recognizing potential in Request for Water, they brought their Board together outside of their normal grant cycle in order to fund the program.  The Gates Family Foundation is known to be a cautious, strategic investor.  Their support of the Request for Water 2012 program brought visibility and credibility to a new method for adding water to streams and catalyzed additional contributions, making the pilot program possible.

Sandra Postel, founder of the Global Water Policy Project and Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, shared a pilot streamflow restoration program’s story far and wide.  Through her work with National Geographic, Sandra covered the very first short-term water lease to utilize Colorado’s 2003 state statute.  Her coverage of the Stagecoach Reservoir/Yampa River project gave this project relevance in the grander scheme of streamflow restoration work and with her international audience.  Water leasing is one of many tools that can help remedy flow issues in Colorado and in the Colorado River Basin.

RiverBank 2012: Colorado Water Conservation Board

The inaugural David Getches Flowing Waters Award is presented to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for their tremendous efforts in restoring and protecting healthy Colorado streamflows.  Since its inception in 1937, the CWCB has provided policy direction on water issues, striving to conserve, develop, protect and manage Colorado’s water for present and future generations. In 1973, Colorado’s Instream Flow Program was established to preserve and improve the natural environment to a reasonable degree.  Without the help, hard-work, and dedication of our friends and colleagues at the CWCB, our work to legally protect streamflows within Colorado's Instream Flow Program would not be possible. Each day we are grateful for the CWCB's tremendous efforts on behalf of Colorado's waters in general and our rivers and streams specifically.