The History of the UAWP
Impacts to our watershed health from climate change, drought, fire and development are intensifying and are a threat to the very things we love about Chaffee County. We are fortunate that across our watershed individual organizations, local government, and state ad federal agencies have responded with projects to address a wide variety of issues including water supply resilience, forest health and fire mitigation, restoration of riparian habitat, irrigation efficiency, and protection of the river ecosystem.
The UAWP was initiated in spring 2020 by the Upper Arkansas Conservation District, the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative, Trout Unlimited, and the Central Colorado Conservancy with support from a grant from the River Network. This core group came together to explore the idea of initiating a dialogue with diverse stakeholders who have a shared interest in the health of the Upper Arkansas River Watershed in order to align individual efforts for a greater impact.
Adopting a go slow to go fast project philosophy, the core group, with strategic support from Del Corazón Consulting, spent the summer and fall of 2020 building relationships, conducting interviews, and using a survey to gage the interest of potential partners. Partners agreed the goal of the UAWP should be to build upon the existing projects and successes through development of shared goals, coordinated project planning, and leveraging human and financial resources to increase on-the-ground impact across our watershed.
Following the first meeting of the UAWP in October 2020, the partnership came out of the gate strong receiving funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Great Outdoors Colorado with match support provided by Colorado Trout Unlimited, the Central Colorado Conservancy, and the Upper Arkansas Conservation District. These grants funded UAWP coordination, the Healthy River Corridors Project, and the Agriculture Resilience Project.
Coordination of the UAWP is provided by:
Natalie Allio, Central Colorado Conservancy Agricultural Projects Manager, Upper Arkansas Conservation District Board Member, and UAWP Coordinator
Nancy Roberts, Arrowpoint Cattle Co. and Upper Arkansas Conservation District Board President
Buffy Lenth, Central Colorado Conservancy Watershed Restoration Specialist
Nancy Johnston, Colorado Trout Unlimited Conservation Projects Coordinator
Jonathan Paklaian, Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative Executive Director
Wayne ‘Wano’ Urbonas, Chaffee County Environmental Health Coordinator
Marjo Curgus, UAWP Facilitator, Del Corazón Consulting
Partnership Meetings & Committees
Meetings are every other month on the last Thursday from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., February to December. These are currently being conducted virtually and open to interested agencies, organizations, and landowners.
The UAWP uses committees to manage specific projects and activities. The committee chairs are members of the UAWP, but interested community stakeholders with the skills and interest to support action are invited to join by sending an email via Contact Us with an expression of your interest.
Current committees include:
South Arkansas Working Group
Watershed Education Committee