2020 has been one of the most unusual years I think we can ever remember. The year began with pretty average snowpack and like most years, our spring snows did not hit us as hard or pack as much moisture as we would have liked.
March brought the COVID 19 warnings and by April we were all locked at home with mandatory “stay at home orders”. Spring runoff in 2020 was fast and furious and was over by the end of June. Summer was pretty quiet on our three lakes and even though we saw larger crowds in Grand Lake then expected, the overall recreation on the lakes was down, especially on weekdays. Throughout June, July and August, the Adaptive Management Committee met weekly and due to such a quick runoff, the water clarity in Grand Lake and water quality in Shadow Mountain Reservoir never met the overall standard goals, even though certain operations were adjusted in attempt to support better water quality and clarity. Snow pack every year has such an impact on our flow rates through the three Lakes during summer months that it seems every year is a new adventure for water quality and clarity.
The fall began beautifully as usual and ended in a raging wildfire at the end of October/early November that we will be recovering from for the next 10 years. The fire moved extraordinarily fast and at one point traveled 16 miles in one hour and actually burned over 100,000 acres in 8 hours. It destroyed 193,812 acres and over 360 homes and outbuildings and taught us all what can happen under all the right (or wrong) conditions. Very scary!
TLWSA has been very involved from the start of the East Troublesome Fire representing our members and local landowners. Our organization quickly donated $5,000 to the Trinity Church in the Pines Food Bank and $10,000 to the Grand Foundation Wildfire Emergency Fund. TLWSA is also well positioned to be one of the private landowner coordination arms of the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) group led by Northern Water, Grand County, and Colorado River District. Once an official EWP Sponsor(s) is designated, TLWSA will be supporting the notification and coordination for developing the EWP Funded Projects with private and public landowners.
A very exciting announcement to make is the merging of the Outstanding Grand Lake (OGL) Foundation into TLWSA. Directors of both organizations have been discussing this for over a year and Director Kirsten Heckendorf and TLWSA President Mike Cassio have decided that as of 1 January 2021, OGL will officially fall under TLWSA. The OGL mission to obtain “Outstanding Waters” designation for Grand Lake will be temporally put on hold until further notice. Another addition to the TLWSA Team is Tracee Lorens who has been elected to join our Board of Directors. Tracee has now retired from the practice of law and is excited to support TLWSA. She is running a year-round vacation rental resort on family property now known as the Lorens Ranch, which is located on the mouth of the North Fork of the Colorado River where it enters Shadow Mountain Reservoir. She has decided to dedicate a good portion of her retirement time and philanthropy to supporting the efforts of TLWSA and all water issues in the Upper Colorado Watershed. Please join me in welcoming Tracee and Kirsten to our organization as they both make us stronger!
The Board of Directors at TLWSA would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy Holiday Season and wonderful 2021!