Down to Earth

Ed Roberson is conservation director at the Palmer Land Trust, and he’s host of the Mountain and Prairie podcast. We talk about some of the problems surrounding water in the West–and some new approaches to balancing urban and agricultural water needs.

1’40 how Ed got into conservation work
5’57 “buy and dry” — the selling of agricultural water rights
8’07 ecological implications of selling water rights
8’30 Crowley County, CO
9’48 like the Dust Bowl
11’06 where the water comes from
11’20 Book: Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by David Owen
11’50 Marker 9
12’19 how sustainable Colorado agriculture water has been—or not
14’00 water rights set up during an unusually wet period
15’25 they byzantine complexity of western water rights law
16’10 models for keeping water on agricultural land—even after water rights are sold
17’16 the Bessamer ditch model
18’03 Pueblo, CO, bought water rights and then leased them back to the farmers
19’21 new system to reallocate water
20’03 an innovative and new approach
22’29 contrast to Colorado Springs
23’47 the importance of holistic thinking
25’26 how creative thinking arises in the face of difficulties
26’23 local food movement in this context
28’12 return dried out land to its original ecosystem states
30’01 revegetating land to grassland
31’22 models for restoring grasslands to grazing
33’21 young people doing this work
34’05 soil conservation practices
37’54 the need for more comprehensive water conservation
40’00 do land trusts work together?
43’13 Mountain and Prairie podcast