‘Most important water manager in the Western U.S.’ comes to CSU

Note to Reporters: A downloadable photo of Mike Connor is available at http://col.st/nxPld.

The Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, Mike Connor, will headline an evening of water-related discussions as part of the Dr. Norm Evans Endowed Lecture Series. Connor will offer his reflections on eight years as the water leader for the Interior Department at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 in the Lory Student Center Theater. The evening is sponsored by the Colorado Water Institute, a part of CSU’s Office of Engagement, and the CSU Water Center.

Connor, who is a former commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, is a key leader in implementing the Administration’s priorities for the Department of the Interior, including water policy and relations in the face of an unprecedented Western drought. He serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Interior Department, an agency of more than 70,000 employees with an annual budget of approximately $12 billion.

Important Western water manager

“Having Interior Deputy Secretary Connor as our first distinguished speaker in the Norm Evans Endowed Lecture Series is a rare opportunity for the CSU community to learn and interact with the most important water manager in the Western U.S.,” said Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute.

Prior to joining the Department of the Interior, Connor served as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation from 2009 to 2014, where he led efforts to promote the sustainable use of water to effectively address current and future challenges associated with water supply and power generation in the American West. Connor helped to forge major Indian water rights settlements and worked to resolve water conflicts in California, New Mexico, Oregon and other western states. He led the Department of the Interior’s efforts and completed two major binational agreements with Mexico on the Colorado River that have received international attention and acclaim.

Recognition of former directors

The evening will also include a special recognition of former Colorado Water Institute director Norm Evans along with former directors Neil Grigg and Robert Ward. The Evans Endowment, established by Ken and Ruth Wright of Boulder, sponsors an annual lecture on water management education and policy, and honors the longest serving director of the Colorado Water Institute.

The evening will conclude with four CSU water experts discussing western water issues and tradeoffs. Stephanie Kampf, associate professor of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; Kelsea Macilroy, doctoral candidate in sociology; Pete Taylor, professor in the Department of Sociology, and; Brad Udall, senior water and climate research scientist/scholar with the Colorado Water Institute, will cover topics such as public shifts in attitudes toward water, changing notions of beneficial use, climate effects on water supply, water security, and possible approaches to governance for multiple water uses. Waskom will moderate the panel.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://watercenter.colostate.edu/NormEvans_Lecture.shtml.