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Public Lands

HW Winter2018 FINAL2cover

Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Headwaters magazineRead feature articles on the Rio Grande Basin below, view or download the online issue for the full magazine.

Rio Grande Basin

The headwaters of the Rio Grande Basin help feed a river system that produces the fifth-longest river in North America. Traveling 1,885 miles from its headwaters to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande carries water from three states in the U.S. and five in Mexico.

Read more: Rio Grande Basin

Preserving Wetlands in an Alpine Desert

By Marcia Darnell

The San Luis Valley of southern Colorado is known as an agricultural land of plenty. Its potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, barley and other bounty make their way to feedlots and dinner plates throughout the region. However, meteorologists say this breadbasket is technically a desert, averaging less than 8 inches of precipitation per year.

Read more: Preserving Wetlands in an Alpine Desert

Big Ambitions: Restoring the Rio Grande

By Paul Formisano

Although the Rio Grande travels nearly 175 miles before it enters New Mexico, it seems to do so in silence. Isolated from Colorado's economic and political hubs by the surrounding mountains, this river basin often escapes the attention its neighboring rivers receive. Even when the non-profit group American Rivers listed the Rio Grande in 2003 as one of the nation's most threatened, Colorado's stretch of the river avoided mention. But that has not deterred local groups from working on an ambitious plan to bring the Upper Rio Grande back to vibrant life.

Read more: Big Ambitions: Restoring the Rio Grande

Declining Aquifers

By Ruth Heide

San Luis Valley water users struggle to pump groundwater sustainably

Throughout the last four years, water tables in some of the San Luis Valley's shallow aquifers have been dropping like a stone. Some 20 percent of the valley's total water supply is from groundwater—most of which is used for agricultural irrigation. Groundwater also helps sustain numerous meadow wetlands in the valley, home to abundant wildlife. But as water managers watched the aquifers slide further into decline, it became obvious that even Mother Nature could not bail them out.

Read more: Declining Aquifers

An Interview with Ralph Curtis

Recently retired as manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, Ralph Curtis spent 25 years shepherding the district through water grabs, droughts and aquifer declines. A native of the San Luis Valley and a life-long resident of Saguache, Curtis agreed to be interviewed by the Foundation in September 2005.

Read more: An Interview with Ralph Curtis

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