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Alt. Water Transfers

Cover HW Fall 2017

Water sharing and banking, coined "alternative transfer methods" or ATMs, could provide flexibility for stretched water supplies —but not without marked challenges. Read the Fall 2017 issue of Headwaters magazine and explore options to:

  • keep water in farming
  • help municipalities plan ahead
  • share between ag and environmental uses
  • bank water on the Colorado River

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 National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Colorado river that could become the state's second wild and scenic protect river—Deep Creek:

Deep Creek 5 web

Water Education Colorado

Watermarks--Letter from the Editor

Jeopardy. Critical Habitat. Safe Harbors. Since its inception in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has managed to engender, not surprisingly, its very own set of jargon.

In this issue of Headwaters we tackle a complicated conundrum—the balancing act between preservation of struggling species and accommodation of human communities. It is a balancing act which we, in our very human way, have taken on somewhat imperfectly.

Threatened and endangered species in and around Colorado run the gamut, from whooping cranes looking for stop-over sites on the Platte River, to prehistoric-looking fish spawning in the warm silty backwaters of the Colorado River. Rare plants and animals, just like humans, need water to thrive.

Entering into the murky and dynamic world of the biological sciences, we quickly run into a phalanx of questions with no clear end-point: Do we know enough? When is a species finally 'safe'? How do we intervene—fairly, effectively?

Unfortunately, this often translates into uncertainty—uncertainty for water users wondering if they will soon owe a portion of their water for rare fish and birds—uncertainty for regulators looking to prioritize species with the greatest needs. In our panel discussion with ESA experts (p. 6), we pushed the ESA to be accountable on many levels: prevention, intervention, recovery. Some feel that it works best at intervention, but falls down sharply in the areas of prevention and recovery.

And although the panel disagreed in spots, what their discussion did reinforce is that saving species requires on-going conversations and continual learning. We all know we can do better, we just have to figure out what 'better' should be. We're just human after all.

Karla Brown

Editor and Executive Director

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