At the CRA annual conference, the AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN RIPARIAN MANAGEMENT, is bestowed upon people or groups that illustrate their knowledge and commitment towards riparian management. As a part of this award, the individuals receive membership to the CRA for one year. This year, CRA presented awards to:

Group Photo
Mary Helen deKoevend, San Miguel Watershed Coalition President; Alan Carpenter, CRA past-presidnet; Leigh Sullivan, River Ranger Program; Vern Ebert, San Miguel County Commisioner; Linda Luther, San Miguel Watershed Coalition; Robin Romick and Brent Romick, Creek Ranch LLC.

Robert Molacek
Beginning in late 1997 and early 1998, Rob began actively promoting riparian conservation in the North Fork of the Gunnison and lower Gunnison River basins. He began by volunteering for a local watershed group — the North Fork River Improvement Association (NFRIA). Working with NFRIA, Rob developed NFRIA’s first newsletter to educate the local community on riparian issues. While volunteering as a NFRIA Board member, Rob helped advance the organization’s first demonstration project and watershed action plan.
While working with NFRIA, Rob acted as a riparian buffer coordinator for the Delta Soil Conservation District. He actively worked for a year promoting federal programs that assist private landowners with installing riparian buffers. During this period, Rob assisted over 20 private landowners in developing riparian conservation plans. In addition, Rob helped 10 landowners obtain federal cost-share funding to install over 4,000 feet of riparian buffers, 2,500 feet of bio-engineered streambank protection, and 40 acres of shallow water wetlands.
Rob was also successful obtaining funding for riparian conservation planning. Rob completed the Lower Gunnison Conservation Inventory Project with funding received from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. This project identified several critical riparian area conservation projects along the North Fork of the Gunnison and lower Gunnison Rivers. Additional funding was received early this year to identify critical riparian conservation projects along the tributaries of the North Fork and lower Gunnison Rivers — a project currently in progress. Working closely with the local land trusts, Rob used the information obtained from these planning projects to begin negotiations with several landowners to place over 3,200 acres of riparian and upland property into conservation easements.
Rob also pursued water quality, water conservation, and agricultural protection projects. He obtained funds to install waste management systems on two dairies and document water quality improvements. He obtained additional funds to conduct water conservation plans for two large irrigation companies. In addition, Rob has worked closely with the local Agri-Vision 20/20 committee and American Farmland Trust. Working with these organizations, projects are being conducted to assess the impacts of agricultural land conversion, identify critical agricultural lands for conservation, and assess the potential for implementing an agricultural protection program in the Tri-River Region.
San Miguel Watershed Coalition
The San Miguel Watershed Coalition has been instrumental in organizing public and political support for protecting and managing the San Miguel River watershed in ways that will promote the long-term values of the watershed’s riparian areas and wetlands.
The Coalition has adopted a “big-tent” approach where diverse groups of citizens and organizations have worked together to accomplish many things. The work of the San Miguel Watershed Coalition is applicable far beyond the boundaries of the watershed to any place where local people are seeking to create a sustainable future for themselves.
We thank the San Miguel River Watershed Coalition for its efforts that help achieve the mission of the Colorado Riparian Association in promoting and restoring Colorado’s riparian areas and wetlands through better awareness of the values and long-term benefits of good management.
Brent and Robin Romick
As private landowners, Creek Ranch LLC has demonstrated commendable stewardship of riparian and wetland resources on the 2600 acre historic parcel in Routt County, Colorado. Creek Ranch LLC created a ranch preservation community that employs continuation of compatible agricultural activities, preservation and enhancement of the Trout Creek riparian corridor, restoration of trout habitat, creation of lakes and wetlands, security and beneficial use of historic water rights, and provision for limited sites for homes.
The Romick’s have undertaken and completed plotting of the property under Routt County’s new ranch preservation code, restored trout habitat in 3 miles of Trout Creek, fenced the riparian corridor to allow continued wise livestock management, completed extensive riparian plantings, and have continued agreements with the Colorado Division of Wildlife for elk habitat management. The Romick’s, in development of the Creek Ranch, displayed an innovative vision of how land use changes and pressures can be designed to preserve western values, native landscapes, sensitive habitats and to provide an example for other ranching families to consider.

Colorado Riparian Association