Ben Nielsen and Rick McLaughlin conducted a workshop for river and watershed managers at the River Management Society Symposium entitled Managing Rivers in Changing Climes: Training Future River Professionals. The training symposium took place April 14-18, 2014 in Denver with nearly 200 participants, event coordinators, guest speakers and panelists from across the country. Tracks of training sessions included writing and commenting on environmental impact assessments; managing rivers designated Wild, Scenic or Recreational; and developimg collaborative partnerships and tools to manage water trails like the String of Pearls projects emerging in the desert southwest. Professional development sessions taught Leave No Trace, verbal judo, and offered career path suggestions related to Conservation Corps and Americorps programs. Rick conducted a session describing the excellent record of safety at the Confluence Park boat chute.
Recreational Whitewater: Keys to Successful Management provided a framework for planning a river park, and the presentation provided illustrative examples on screen … and in person! The day after the classroom session they led a group of attendees on a paddling trip down the South Platte River, supported by Confluence Kayaks during which participants saw MWDG work in action. They stopped to visit current enhancement sites; passed through reaches that will be undergoing major re-engineering to create friendly access to the river for thousands of riverside residents; and heard from Urban Drainage and Flood Control District engineers how the City continues to improve the flood plain since the devastating flood in 1964. The paddlers met up with another group from the symposium that had biked the Sand Creek Trail to the South Platte: togetherthey learned about improvements planned for Confluence Park from MWDG’s Brooke Seymour, the Greenway Foundation and Urban Drainage.