by Jennifer Patterson

What is the CRA and what do we do? In a few words, we can be defined as a group of people who value riparian areas with a common goal of sharing knowledge and enthusiasm. As stated on our website: “the CRA was formed in 1989 by a small group of dreamers who believed that our riparian zones should not become sacrifice areas. Now an army of volunteers that includes landowners, citizens, agency staff, planners, and technical specialists, CRA shares that dream by sharing its knowledge, enthusiasm, and experience with anyone who joins us in trying to improve Colorado’s river systems and riparian ecosystems.”
The primary vehicle for sharing knowledge is this newsletter. Without our editors, Jay Thompson and Bill Goosman, this would not be possible. However, I must point out that they are seeking replacements, so please let us know if you are interested in helping.
Sharing knowledge has also been a directed effort during the last two presidencies. We owe many thanks to Kathryn Mutz and Denise Culver for spearheading these efforts. Within the last two years CRA has:

  1. Called every identifiable organization in Colorado that addresses riparian issues for collaboration;
  2. Posted links to these organizations on the CRA website;
  3. Participated in restoration efforts through Wildland Restoration Volunteers;
  4. Opened our board meetings to other groups to share their knowledge with us; and
  5. Hosted two spectacular conferences.

Our goal this year will be to continue and encourage efforts for sharing knowledge. The first step to improving Colorado’s river systems is to define them. As such, CRA is undertaking two new projects:

  1. Outreach program for middle-school science classes; and
  2. Joint Conference

The outreach program is being developed and managed by Corie Schott, the outreach and education chairperson. With Corie’s passion for riparian areas, she is developing a program in which middle schools can learn about riparian areas. More detail is provided in an article in this newsletter.
The second of these is a joint conference. This year CRA is planning a joint conference with other interested groups to share knowledge with a larger number of enthusiasts. Currently the interested groups include Colorado Watershed Association, Colorado Lake and Reservoir Management Association, Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers, Non-Point Source Forum, and Central Rockies Society for Ecological Restoration. The details surrounding the conference are currently being developed. If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact me (
I look forward to working with everyone throughout the upcoming year. With your help, we can reach out to many other organizations and share our knowledge and enthusiasm for the green line.

Colorado Riparian Association