Every year two individuals are awarded for their outstanding effort in managing, conserving, restoring, or providing education on Colorado’s riparian areas. This celebration is hosted by the Colorado Riparian Association, a group conjoined by one overarching mission: to promote the conservation, restoration, and preservation of our riparian areas and wetlands. Awards are recognized at the Colorado Watershed Assembly's annual Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference in October.
We are honored to announce that this year one of our very own has been named a Riparian Hero for being an outstanding voice for Colorado’s riparian corridors. Everyone, please join us as we celebrate Western Rivers Regional Program Manager Abby Burk for accepting the Riparian Hero Award!
This is the first time the award was granted for river advocacy and diplomacy. Abby is committed to advancing riparian habitat and stream resiliency through advocacy and action, among the countless other roles she employs. She works at all scales to ensure the protection of Colorado’s riparian areas. She has worked extensively with our basin roundtables to implement riparian restoration work in the Basin Implementation Plans, with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to ensure that the Colorado Water Plan includes frameworks that take into account the well-being of our wetlands and riparian areas, and a myriad of other efforts.
When asked to reflect on Abby’s work, Colorado Water Conservation Director Board Becky Mitchell replied, “Abby is truly one of the shining stars of the western water world. She is both an accomplished biologist who has contributed fresh and important perspectives to our state's riparian and stream management efforts, and she is an avid outdoorswoman who knows first-hand the impact of her work. The water community is lucky to have such a passionate and dedicated member."
We are living in a time of both anomalous stresses from climate change and funding investments for our water resources and river systems. In her acceptance speech, Abby told the crowd “We are in an unprecedented time of coming together and working together to really reach and support these natural systems that support us all. Look around and make eye contact with someone, smile at them, tell them: we need you, keep going, and you’re doing great.”