Cindy Medina, Alamosa Riverkeeper
Heather Dutton, Manager, San Luis Valley Water Conservation District
Cleave Simpson, Colorado Senator, District 35
Cindy Medina, Alamosa Riverkeeper, grew up among the oldest Hispanic communities in Colorado. Her grandmother Rosana gathered medicinal herbs in the San Juan Mountains. This familial connection to the natural world inspired her environmental work in the Alamosa River watershed where Colorado’s worst hard rock mining disaster occurred. Funded by a natural resource damage settlement, Cindy helped implement the first in-stream flow in the Alamosa River. These extended flows helped recover a fishery that was decimated by the release of cyanide and heavy metals from the Summitville mining disaster.
Cindy’s work was recognized by the Colorado Water Trust with the David Getches Flowing Waters Award for improving environmental water resources and recreational values in the Alamosa River through her efforts in collaboration, innovation and inspiration. She was also selected for the Headwaters Center’s River Heroes in Winer Park.
Heather Dutton grew up on a potato and barley farm in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, where she gained a love for the outdoors.
Heather is fortunate to work as the Manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District. In this role, she manages an augmentation program for domestic, commercial, and municipal wells in five counties of the San Luis Valley. One of the greatest rewards of this position is the opportunity to work with friends in the water community to find creative ways to manage water and natural resources in the Rio Grande Basin. She was also appointed to the Colorado Water Conservation Board in 2017.
Heather previously worked to improve the health of the Rio Grande as the Director of the Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Foundation and the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project. She now serves on the Board of the Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Foundation in addition to the Boards of the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative and the Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team.
Heather earned a Masters of Agriculture and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Natural Resources Management and Rangeland Ecology with a concentration in Restoration Ecology from Colorado State University. She is happiest when exploring the surrounding mountains on foot, bikes, and snowmobiles with her husband, Tanner.
Senator Cleave Simpson serves as the general manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and past chairman of the on the Adams State University Board of Trustees.
Simpson’s primary focus in the senate is rural Colorado relevance, resilience and prosperity.
A fourth-generation San Luis Valley farmer and rancher, Simpson has a deep understanding of the water issues facing Colorado’s agriculture and rural communities. He believes leadership through a thoughtful, collaborative approach is necessary to provide solutions to the pressing needs across Senate District 35 and the state of Colorado.
Simpson serves as a representative on the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable and is a Roundtable representative to the statewide Interbasin Compact Committee. He is active in the Colorado Water Congress, and has served on the Farm Service Agency County Committee, Alamosa County Planning Commission, Alamosa Mosquito Control District and Alamosa School District Accountability Committee. He is a member of Action 22, the Colorado Farm Bureau, and is a lifelong Republican.