The Community's Voice Impacts the Future of Water:
Refined River Center Plan
Since its inception, Roaring Fork Conservancy has envisioned creating a River Center where the hidden elements of rivers and water are revealed. Like nature centers that sprang up in the 1960s and 1970s in response to people’s disconnect with the environment, the River Center will help people reconnect to their watershed and local rivers. By listening to the comments made by the community about what they wanted in a River Center, Roaring Fork Conservancy redefined and updated the architectural design in 2014.
A destination in and of itself, it will house Roaring Fork Conservancy’s watershed action and education programs in addition to the Watershed Institute, which will bring together visionaries, researchers, policy-makers and decision-makers to conduct academic research and discuss regional water policy. It will allow visitors to interact directly with adjacent river, wetland, and pond ecosystems; host water-related educational seminars, meetings, and classes; provide laboratory space for river research; and bring people together for learning and discussing river issues. River Center visitors will leave with the knowledge and tools to enjoy and protect their home rivers and streams.
With a heightened focus on river science and river restoration, the River Center will become a regional hub of action-oriented activities to protect our rivers. With the completion of the Roaring Fork Watershed Plan in March 2012, Roaring Fork Conservancy is leading the charge in working towards the 200+ recommended actions in the plan which include: restoration projects, policy changes, education activities, and watershed research. Currently underway are the Comprehensive Fryingpan and Crystal River studies addressing critical low flow levels, aquatic invasive species, and in-stream and riparian habitat health.
Our signature watershed education programs are action-oriented, where students and visitors are empowered to make a difference in the health of their rivers and watershed. The River Center will help people to rethink their relationship with water, provoke thought about current and future decisions we must make individually and corporately, and provide opportunities for action.
Community and Sustainability
The River Center will become a community gathering place. One of our top priorities is creating a building that exemplifies sustainability in resource efficiency, financial solvency, and community demonstration. Sustainable elements we hope to include are: storm water retention systems that treat storm water on-site; demonstration landscaping that requires minimal to no irrigation; energy efficient systems including geothermal and solar heating and solar electric technologies; and additional energy efficiencies through active and passive solar gain and cooling.
The River Center will help to make our “invisible” water resource more apparent. The future of water in the West demands that we make difficult decisions now. The River Center seeks to educate locals and visitors to those challenges and work towards practical solutions to protect our rivers.