Audubon’s work to protect people and birds in the arid West starts with you! Please join us as we celebrate an early milestone in updating Colorado’s water planning process. November 15th marked the deadline of the Basin Implementation Plan public comment period. We are delighted to highlight the invaluable contributions from Coloradans near and far working to improve these local water management plans for people and nature.
Many of you may share the excitement with us as we engage in the first update to the 2015 Colorado Water Plan (CWP) and the Basin Implementation Plans (BIPs). While the CWP is focused on meeting future water needs and adapting to a changing water landscape at varying scales, BIPs are largely designed to address local water resource challenges. Basin roundtables will review public comments received and incorporate comments that align with their goals. BIPs will be finalized in January 2022.
With this bottom-up approach, BIPs serve as a foundation for the CWP in leading many arduous efforts to protect and properly manage our water resources. With the guidance of both local and state processes, we can better secure our water resources for all—today, tomorrow, and in the future. However, the underlying dynamic here requires a collaborative process in which help is equally reciprocated. These plans call for the help of every one of us to ensure the voices of not just ourselves but those that cannot properly represent themselves are heard.
As the impacts of climate change persist upon water stress and our natural environment, many are turning to the need for sustainability and resilience. To build greater resilient and sustainable systems, there needs to be not only exceptional policy but also effective mitigation and adaptation practices. These policies and practices rely upon the voices of their surrounding communities, as they are the personal stewards of our natural resources. Research has shown the influential role of diversity in building resilient systems. Birds, too, show us the power of diversity, as their survival is contingent on well-balanced ecosystems, which in turn depend on a multitude of bird species and their provided services (e.g., seed dispersal, pollination, and pest removal).
With diverse input into the development of plans such as the CWP and BIPs, decision-makers can better address the thoughtful concerns, opinions, and values of the community it serves. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) has taken action to build a more inclusive state water planning process. In 2020, the CWCB partnered with CU Boulder to research diversity, equity, and inclusion gaps within water planning. Subsequently, they established their first Water Equity Task Force in 2021 to expand their efforts as they undergo the CWP update. You can help build a more resilient water future by staying informed and sharing your thoughts through their Idea Tool.
We are incredibly thrilled and thankful for all the participation from our community in this process. Our next milestone will be in June 2022 when we will call upon the Audubon network to provide comments on the updated CWP. Until then, consider taking the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Water Awareness Survey, which is open through December 2021. Each comment submitted provides valuable insight into the water awareness and needs of our community.
Let your voice be heard! Water connects all of us. Our rivers and watersheds, birds and wildlife, and natural ecosystems provide us with bountiful services that we rely heavily upon. To show our gratitude for them, let us advocate for their protection to maintain environments in which we all can thrive.