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Water Leadership

Sean Cronin, 2014 Emerging Leader Award Recipient

Shifting Rivers, Changing Course

Sean Cronin, Emerging Leader Award 2014

by Justice Greg Hobbs 

P8030002Sean Cronin got used to planning for drought in his former job as water resources manager for the city of Greeley. But since the devastating September 2013 flood in northern Colorado, he’s been coping with way too much water. 

As executive director of the St. Vrain & Left Hand Water Conservancy District, Sean is helping to piece together relationships necessary to construct more resilient water systems and riverine habitat for the near and long term.

He receives many phone calls from those who’ve lost stream frontage—or gained it—when canyon rivers burst their temporal perimeters, carved new channels, wrecked headgates, stranded ditches, and ruined homes built on what might have seemed reliable ground.

“I am trying to match up municipalities and ditch companies with state and federal financial help,” he says. “Our district includes some of the hardest-hit towns and water facilities, including Lyons. I try to deal with people’s passions and help them with information and solutions.”

Much of his work involves education. “Those with new streamfront property think they automatically get water rights now. Those who have water rights might push forward immediately with ‘permanent’ structures. But temporary measures might do the job and lead to better results for water users and riverine habitat in the long run.”

Sean’s steady resolutions under immense pressure are earning accolades.

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