I am excited by the opportunity to serve as the Colorado Riparian Association President for this year, and look forward to interacting with others dedicated to riparian issues. My work in the environmental field began with a local company providing radon measurement services. My experience since then includes work in the short grass prairie at Rocky Flats, experiments in CU laboratories, computer simulations with the USGS and many consulting projects studying the interaction of surface water, riparian habitat and groundwater in river valleys. Common to all of my work has been an interest in water, its movement, and the environment that it creates and sustains. For that reason I have been a part of the Colorado Riparian Association and am excited to serve as President for this year.
Communication is a key element in our efforts to understand and preserve riparian corridors. In this regard, the green line is an extremely effective tool, providing the opportunity for contributors to present ideas and to foster communication among peers. Compiling articles for the winter green line issue, when much of Colorado’s riparian corridors lie dormant under a blanket of snow or ice, presents an additional level of challenge for the dedicated members of the green line editorial staff. Not only must they overcome the typical challenge of obtaining contributions, their energy must replace the natural enthusiasm we experience when creeks start to rise, trees bud, flowers bloom and the return to field work recharges our fervor to understand and improve those vital green ribbons. I want to thank the editorial staff, and the contributors, for making another successful green line, and to remind everyone that writing articles and corresponding with the authors efficiently expands our knowledge base and strengthens our community.
The inaugural President’s message typically follows the annual Sustaining Colorado’s Watersheds conference, providing an obvious topic with a wealth of options. In fact, options at the conference are what I want to talk about. I believe that the consortium of five organizations involved in the annual Sustaining Colorado’s Watersheds conference insures breadth, while separate tracks allow the flexibility to focus on specific topics. My current work orients me towards the technical side (e.g., Chuck Rhoades and beetle impacts on watersheds), but I find that the presentations on outreach, policy and current Colorado issues provide opportunities to learn and connect in ways that I do not typically encounter in my day-to-day work. Field trips are however, in my opinion, the best part of the conference. What better way to let some of the many details soak in than to spend a few hours with an expert, learning about their specialty and its application to the riparian zone (thank you Bob Jarrett and Julie Ash). The conference continues to strive to maintain a personalized feel. Time shared at the banquet and luncheon, silent auction and between talks can be as instrumental in expanding our knowledge and contacts as any of the talks. Sadly, this year’s conference did not include the infamous speed-topics, euphemistically referred to by some as “speed-dating”, which can provide an effective mechanism for rapid, random introduction to a wide range of attendees. I know that at this time work is already well under way for the next conference, and encourage all readers to submit ideas, suggestions or feedback for next year’s conference.
Best regards, Gil.