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Most would agree that WATER is the Upper Gunnison River Basin’s most important and valuable resource. Whether it’s falling as snow in the mountains, rushing down rivers and streams, or stored in large buckets called reservoirs – water is essential in more than one way to everyone who lives here. It’s also important for the 40 million people who rely on the 1,450-mile Colorado River. Listen to Headwaters, a five-part series, that dives into what it means to be a headwaters community in the Colorado River Basin at a critical – and pivotal– time for water in the West. 

This series was reported and produced for KBUT by Stephanie Maltarich with editorial support from Chad Reich. The series was made with support from The Water Desk, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Additional support from the Center for the Arts 2022 Writer in Residence program and Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District.  Specifically, the District paid for a mini grant to create the “Headwaters” artwork seen below.  Jennie Noreen Omasta was commissioned to create the artwork to market the radio series.  Jennie was raised in the Gunnison Valley.

The reports will run live during Morning Edition every Wednesday in June (1, 8, 15, 22, 29). If you’ve missed any or would just like to listen again, all of the series will be available at  

District funding was provided through the “Mini-Grant Program” which supports educational outreach about the Upper Gunnison River Watershed.  For more information on the Mini-Grant Program, please contact the District at (970)641-6065 or visit the tab under the Projects & Programs link on this website.

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