CRA Members and Friends:
I’d like to take a few lines to introduce myself and entice you into a new year of CRA activities.
The CRA was formed in 1989 by a small group of dreamers who believed that our riparian zones should not become sacrifice areas. I cannot claim to be a founding member of the organization, but I joined 14 years ago — at least Spring 1991 (Volume 2, issue 1) is the oldest Greenline I have in my files. Over the years, I’ve changed careers from a plant ecologist working on rare plants, riparian classification and mine reclamation for consulting firms and state government to a lawyer working on water and public lands law and policy for the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado. Since joining CRA, I have served in various capacities on the board and it is with great pleasure that I will serve as president this year.
Over the years, understanding and appreciation of the “greenline” has increased and the CRA has grown and matured. We have sponsored 17 annual conferences, published a quarterly newsletter, sponsored or cosponsored countless field trips and workshops, and produced and distributed a number of publications. Many different CRA members — landowners, agency staff, planners, academics, and technical specialists — have served over the years as officers, board members, newsletter editors, and committee chairs. While the CRA has been able to tap this rich reservoir of knowledge, enthusiasm and experience, one thing has remained pretty constant — the work of the CRA has always been fueled by a small percentage of the membership. An enthusiastic and active core group is essential to CRA and I look forward to working with the 2005 officers and board to build on our successful projects and traditional strengths.
But the richness and success of an organization like ours also comes from being able to tap new talent and enthusiasm within the organization and to develop partnerships with like-minded groups. With this recognition, we surveyed the membership last year and interviewed about 20 local groups that work on riparian and wetland issues. Through those two vehicles we confirmed that we are doing some things right — like sponsoring conferences and publishing the Greenline. We also discovered that there are a number of groups — typically fueled by their own small cadre of dedicated volunteers — working hard on various aspects of Colorado’s rivers and riparian ecosystems.
The mission of the CRA — to promote the conservation, restoration, and preservation of Colorado’s riparian areas and wetlands — is as important as ever. This year, my goal is to work with the officers and board in fulfilling that mission by expanding participation of our membership and by developing new partnerships with organizations who share our dreams for Colorado’s streams and riparian areas. We have some specific plans in the formative stages for educational and work-project activities, but we welcome additional ideas and volunteers. Please join us at the first board meeting of 2005 on Thursday, January 20th from 2 – 4 at The Nature Conservancy Office in Boulder, Colorado (2400 Spruce St). Come in person, attend by phone, or share your ideas with me beforehand — by phone or email.
Help us make 2005 a landmark year for the CRA and riparian areas of Colorado.