Fruitgrowers Reservoir
Fruitgrowers Reservoir
Western Rivers Initiative

The Value of Water & Time for Collaboration

Join the conversation on water in the West Slope
Fruitgrowers Reservoir Important Bird Area. Photo: Abby Burk
Fruitgrowers Reservoir Important Bird Area. Photo: Abby Burk
Western Rivers Initiative

The Value of Water & Time for Collaboration

Join the conversation on water in the West Slope
October 25th 5:45-8:30PM
Holiday Inn Express, 1391 South Townsend Avenue, Montrose, CO, 81401

Please RSVP for meal planning:

Colorado’s hardworking rivers provide economic and environmental bounty. The value of West Slope water reaches all four corners of Colorado and flows beyond the state line. As we close out an extremely dry water year and look toward a new water year, water users in the Colorado River Basin grapple with how to react to looming shortages and meeting demands.

However, collaborative work is underway aimed at reducing the risk of shortage while supporting Colorado’s flowing rivers and working lands.

We all play a role in Colorado’s sustainable water solution. Join Audubon Rockies, Black Canyon Audubon Society, Trout Unlimited, the Business for Water Stewardship, Mayfly Outdoors, and the Colorado River District for an evening of community, food and discussion about charting Colorado’s water future.


5:45PM – Welcome and Catered Dinner by Camp Robber 

6: 30PM – Presentation Begins. Welcome from Audubon Rockies and Black Canyon Audubon Society, Abby Burk & Bruce Ackerman

6:45PM – Healthy Rivers and Working Lands for Colorado’s Birds, Abby Burk

7:00 PM – The Business of Rivers, Molly Mugglestone & David Dragoo

7:20 PM – How the Drought Impacts All of Us, Cary Denison

7:40 PM – Reducing Risk, What’s Ahead for Colorado and the Colorado River Basin, Andy Mueller

8:00 PM – Audience Q&A to Panel: Bruce Ackerman, Molly Mugglestone, David Dragoo, Cary Denison, and Andy Mueller.

8:20 PM – Closing remarks, Panel

8:30 PM – Close and Thanks, Abby Burk

Presenters (in order of appearance):

Abby Burk – Western Rivers Regional Program Manager for Audubon Rockies

Dr. Bruce Ackerman – President, Black Canyon Audubon Society

Molly Mugglestone – Colorado Policy and Communications Director for Business for Water Stewardship

David Dragoo – Mayfly Outdoors

Cary Denison – Trout Unlimited Project Manager Gunnison Basin

Andy Mueller – General Manager of the Colorado River District

Presenter Bios

Dr. Bruce Ackerman was a wildlife biologist for 35 years, retiring in 2016. His most recent job was 12 years with Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, analyzing participation by hunters. His odd career previously included research on manatees, mountain lions, wild boar, and mule deer, in state and federal governments. He is currently trying something new: teaching a course in environmental science at the Montrose campus of Colorado Mesa University. Bruce holds a B.S. in Biology from MIT and degrees in Wildlife Biology, M.S. from Utah State University and P.h.D. from University of Idaho. Bruce has been a bird-watcher for 40 years. He has been president of three Audubon chapters in Colorado, Idaho, and Florida, and has enjoyed decades on their boards of directors. He enjoys using water for birding, kayaking, rafting, downhill skiing, fishing, and gardening. Bruce lives outside of Montrose with Susan and can usually be found birding in Montrose or anywhere else in the world.

Abby Burk brings a lifetime love of rivers, particularly of the Colorado River and its tributaries. As the Western Rivers Regional Program Manager for Audubon Rockies, Abby promotes cultural change in water use and river conservation through interacting with government representatives, state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, businesses, and by recruiting and training community leaders. She has extensive ecological land management experience, and is committed to advancing riparian habitat and stream resiliency through environmental river flow awareness, advocacy, and action.  She is passionate about connecting people to their rivers. Abby holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and an Interdisciplinary Master of Education Degree, with Ecology and Hydrology concentrations.

Andy Mueller is the General Manager of the Colorado River District, taking over for longtime water leader Eric Kuhn this past January. Andy is an attorney and he practiced law for many years in Ouray County before moving to Glenwood Springs about four years ago. His legal work took him across the breadth of western Colorado water, land use and economic issues. For nine years from 2006-15, he was a director on the Colorado River District Board. His combined experience prepared him to lead the River District, whose work is to protect western Colorado water resources and to serve as an advocate and policy leader on water issues related to the entire Colorado River basin. 

Cary Denison serves as Trout Unlimited’s Gunnison Basin Project Manager where he has worked on watershed restoration and flow improvement projects since 2011. He and his family live near Ridgway, Colorado where they enjoy rural life and adventures on public lands. Cary, a graduate of Colorado State University, is a Gunnison Basin native having grown up on the North Fork where he worked with his father and brother on irrigation canals and started a lifelong love of fishing and rivers. Prior to working for TU he worked as a Water Commissioner for the State and as a water consultant.

David Dragoo, Colorado native, is the founder and President of Mayfly Outdoors, a Colorado-based outdoor products company. A graduate of Georgia Tech, David lives in Montrose with his wife Heidi and can be found hiking, on his road bike or fly fishing.

Molly Mugglestone is the Colorado Policy and Communications Director for Business for Water Stewardship (BWS) which is a network of over 1,200 businesses in the 7 Colorado River Basin states that rely on a healthy river and advocate for policies that will protect the economy and maintain healthy rivers. The business network aims for common sense solutions to our water imbalances through bi-partisan advocacy at the state and federal level. BWS is a project of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and a partner with Change the Course. Molly has a public affairs background and has been a lobbyist, college lecturer, community coalition director and nonprofit consultant.  She has lived in Gunnison for 13 years, is currently a Gunnison County Planning Commissioner and she owns MDM Public Affairs Consulting, LLC.  Molly has a BA from Western Colorado University and an MPA from the University of Colorado at Denver.

RSVP to attend!

How you can help, right now