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San Juan River Workgroup to meet Sept. 23

The San Juan River Workgroup will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

The San Juan River Workgroup has been meeting since February 2010. They have learned more about the East and West Forks of the San Juan through review and editing of a detailed “Information Sheet.”

The Workgroup has discussed various issues and concerns through a facilitated process. In May, they developed a Values Statement and adopted it by consensus. They participated in a field trip in July to the PAWSD raw water takeout; to the overlook on Wolf Creek Pass (to learn about geology); and to the West Fork Campground. In August, they learned about various river protection tools from a panel of experts including in-depth presentation and Q&A on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and how it works if implemented (the West Fork of the San Juan is currently deemed “preliminarily suitable” and the East Fork is deemed “preliminarily eligible”).   

At this upcoming meeting, the Workgroup is entering discussions to begin to determine where consensus or agreement might be, if any, related to the level of protection recommended for these two river segments. This consensus process will carry forth for the next meetings and the Workgroup aims to have its recommendations developed by November or December of this year.

 This effort is headed up by a regional group called the River Protection Workgroup. The meetings are open to anyone and the group has a set of ground rules and process principles they use in the meetings.

To learn more and to find all the meeting handouts, schedule and minutes as well as information about the River Protection Workgroup go to:   http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/riverprotection/ (click on “San Juan River Workgroup” on the left side)  or call the Southwestern Water Conservation District at 247-1302 or the San Juan Citizens’ Alliance at 259-3583.