Colorado State Engineering Professor Receives Partner in Conservation Award from U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

Note to Editors: A photo of Professor Jose Salas is available with the news release at

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently honored Jose "Pepe" Salas, a Colorado State University civil and environmental engineering professor, and his partners at three other universities with the U.S. Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award for developing new operational guidelines for the Colorado River.

Honored with Salas were representatives of the University of Colorado, the University of Arizona and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Together with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and a variety of other government agencies, Salas and his partners helped develop Colorado River Interim Guidelines, which has been praised as the most important agreement among the seven basin states since the original 1922 compact.

States signing the agreement were Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The Colorado River provides water for more than 23 million people and two million acres of irrigated land in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

"Dr. Salas has provided invaluable service with this roadmap for governance of the Colorado River, which is obviously an asset of great importance to Colorado and the region," said Bill Farland, senior vice president for Research and Engagement at Colorado State. "Faculty members at Colorado State such as Professor Salas are known for research that provides direct service to the community."

Salas has served as principal investigator on two projects funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in connection to the Colorado River Basin. In these projects, he:

-Used innovative record extension techniques for updating the data base of naturalized flows of the Colorado River system;

-Developed new approaches for reconstructing streamflows of the Colorado River based on tree-ring indices;

-Developed potential scenarios of streamflows that may occur in the Colorado in future years

-Characterized multi-year droughts of the river using simulation and mathematical techniques; and

-Tested the effects of stochastic streamflows on the operations of the Colorado River system, particularly the effects on reservoir levels and outflows of the two major lakes, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

"Professor Salas has been a major contributor to the future of hydrology science in Colorado and around the globe," said Luis Garcia, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Colorado State. "We are honored that he shares in this prestigious award."