AW NEWS: Tribute to Nathan Fey
By: Kevin Colburn.
It is with great appreciation that we offer a heartfelt farewell to Nathan Fey, as we announce he will be leaving his role as the Colorado and Southern Rockies Stewardship Director of American Whitewater this March. Nathan served in this role for the past 12 years, growing our work in the region from an ambitious new idea to a thriving and effective program that has reshaped how rivers are protected and restored in the Southern Rockies. We will greatly miss working so closely with Nathan, but we look forward to collaborating with him in his new role as the Deputy Director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. We’d like to congratulate Nathan on this exciting new step in his career, and wish him the best!
In 2006 American Whitewater hosted a roundtable conversation in Buena Vista, Colorado on the banks of the Arkansas River, to discuss the need and potential work plan for a new regional director for Colorado. We worked with leaders in the paddling and conservation communities to craft an ambitious plan for protecting imperiled streamflows in iconic Colorado rivers through leveraging the rivers’ recreational values and local constituents. We also aimed to resolve some of the most tense river access disputes in Colorado and indeed the country. We selected Nathan for the job and could not be more impressed with the progress he shepherded in the twelve years since the roundtable. Among the accomplishments, we are most proud of are the following:
– Creating new tools that the State of Colorado now uses to define critical flow protections for recreation (Colorado’s Non-Consumptive Toolbox)
– Several papers co-authored with The Nature Conservancy, Colorado State University, and others on Watershed and Stream Flow protection
– Defeating the controversial Flaming Gorge Pumpback Project in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado
– Designation of Browns Canyon National Monument on the Arkansas River
– Public access agreement to Wildcat Canyon/Cheesman Canyon with Sportsman’s Paradise
– Historic flow restoration on the Dolores River through new operating guidelines for McPhee Reservoir and new release guidelines for the downstream environment.
– Protection of Colorado River flows of 2500 cfs in Gore Canyon and Pumphouse, and up to 4000 cfs in Glenwood canyon through new Recreational In Channel Diversions and associated water rights
– Preservation of high-value boating opportunities in the Upper Colorado River under a hard-fought Wild and Scenic River Alternative,
– A Colorado Water Plan and localized Stream Management Plans that give fair consideration to recreational use and improvements
– Replacement of a dam on the Green River (Utah) to create safe boat passage and improved habitat for native fish,- Creation of a world-class celebration of the Upper Colorado River – Gore Canyon Festival
– Completion of at least 20 flow studies that will form the scientific foundation of flow preservation for paddling and river ecology across the region.
– Growth of the AW Colorado program in terms of budget, membership, clubs, workforce, and political standing
– Recognition by the Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar for his work defining river-recreation needs across the 7-state Colorado River basin
– And the soon to be (we hope) Wild and Scenic River designation for Desolation and Labyrinth Canyons on the Green River.
With Nathan leaving American Whitewater shortly for his new role with the State of Colorado, we are immediately initiating a search for his replacement. We look forward to maintaining and building on Nathan’s outstanding work as seamlessly as possible through leveraging existing staff, contractors, and volunteers in the region, and through filling the Southern Rockies Stewardship Director role with a highly qualified individual.
More info go to www.americanwhitewater.org