GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The Grand Valley would be much different without the Colorado River running through it, in fact, our city wouldn't even be called Grand Junction without the crossing of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers.
"There's 30,000,000 people that utilize the Colorado River for water, and way less that live on the Colorado River. Here in the Grand Valley we are in unique situation where we live on the river and we are caring for the river and we need to be stewards of it", says Stacy Beaugh the Executive Director of Rivers Edge West.
To become better stewards of the Colorado River and many other rivers around the west, hundreds have gathered for the Riparian Restoration Conference to collaboratively share solutions towards certain challenges facing our river's eco system.
"There's a lot of really big stressors out there to riparian areas. We have development and habitat fragmentation, water loss because the more people that are here, the more water we're using. One of the big stressors we focus on are invasive plants, a lot of plants that were introduced to this region that cause impacts to the river that are not good. Tamarisk and Russian Olive, when they get introduced to a river they start to channelize the river and not let it move and be dynamic. They cause a fire hazard and start to out-compete native plants", says Beaugh.
The conference has even garnered attention from people outside of Colorado, including business owners who rely on rivers for their business.
"We're a small business, we work with resource agencies and private businesses working on projects that have to do with restoration with river systems in general. What we're doing is working with people like that who are rethinking a river system, reengineering a river system and a lot of what you'll hear at this conference", says Bo Shelby the Owner of Confluence Research & Consulting.
And by sharing new discoveries, collaboration, and comparing different rivers, the goal is to not only make sure we can co-exist with the Colorado river, but with all rivers in the nation.