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CWC in 2016

March 23, 2016
by Heila Ershadi



Canyonlands Watershed Council (CWC) is continuing the good work done over the past nine years, and we invite you to take part. CWC is a Grand County based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission emphasizes the protection and wise management of our riparian areas, streams, drinking water, aquifers, and surface water resources. We are fulfilling our mission through outreach and education, policy advocacy, and collaboration with diverse stakeholders on projects that benefit watershed health. Read on for more info about what we’ve accomplished, and our exciting new projects. If you like what we do, please see the “Membership” section at the end of this letter.

Under the leadership of CWC co-founder and first director, Laurel Hagan, one of CWC’s earliest goals was to help form a local and independent watershed partnership to draft and implement a holistic watershed management plan. CWC was instrumental in forming the Moab Area Watershed Partnership (MAWP), and remains an active member today. The MAWP has successfully finished their watershed management plan and raised over $220,000 in grant funding for watershed improvement projects!

In 2014, Chris Baird was the Executive Director of CWC. Many in the community recognize the effectiveness of that work, which included the well-attended presentation that assisted the general public in understanding the complexities of the Bishop Public Lands Initiative.

For more than a decade, the Moab-area community had been attempting to fund a comprehensive watershed study to more accurately define how much water can be sustainably appropriated from our aquifers. In 2013, CWC initiated a lobbying effort to renew interest in this study. In 2014, a group of stakeholders signed a funding agreement and the study has commenced.

Education has also played a prominent role in CWC’s activities.

  • CWC has hosted regular meetings so our members can keep each other apprised of all

    important issues and discuss them—a practice we are keen to restart. We will meet the third Monday of every month at 5:30 at the Grand County Library. April 18 is our first regularly scheduled meeting.

  • CWC designed and installed an educational kiosk along the Mill Creek Parkway informing the public of watershed characteristics and effective management.

    Other notable accomplishments:

  • Provided impetus for the Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining to require fracking disclosures.

  • Successfully petitioned for the removal of Federal Oil/Gas leases from critical watershed


  • Lobbied against the withdrawal of more water from Mill Creek’s riparian environment.

  • Successfully advocated for the inclusion of watershed protection in the County’s Bishop Public

    Lands Initiative recommendations.

    Now with Chris’ election to the Grand County Council, we have hired a new Executive Director to continue the work of CWC.

    Our new Executive Director is Heila Ershadi, who many know as a member of the Moab City Council and the mother of Veda and Cyrus. We also welcome aboard Jeff Adams, project manager of CWC’S Watershed Resiliency Stewards (WRS) program.

    Building upon the success of the past nine years, in 2016 we will:

    Focus on sound watershed policy

  • Work with local government, the MAWP, and other agencies as appropriate to form and adopt

    holistic policies for drainage, riparian management, infrastructure, and development that protect water quality and quantity. This is the basis of local drought and climate change resilience.

  • Advocate for regulations that promote the use of graywater, composting toilets, and rainwater harvesting.

  • Create resilience-building demonstration sites through our WRS program that serve as persuasive examples for policy-makers

    Hold regular events to learn, collaborate, and organize with CWC members and allies

  • Monthly roundtable discussions on topical issues, every third Monday at 5:30pm at the Grand

    County Library, beginning April 18, 2016.

  • Quarterly lectures

  • WRS workshops and educational events

  • Film screenings, book tours, etc.

    Reach out through media
    Website and Facebook
    • Approximately monthly articles/editorials
    • Occasional radio appearances, such as “Free Speech Friday” on KZMU

    Becoming a Member

    The Canyonlands Watershed Council needs your support to continue to operate!
    Please consider becoming a supporting member with a tax-deductible donation. We’ve had outstanding success thus far and we would be very grateful to continue on in our mission to preserve and protect the Moab-area watersheds. Donations may be mailed to:

    c/o Heila Ershadi 631 N 500 W Moab, Utah 84532


__ $20
__ $50
__ $100
__ $350
__ $500

Manns Peak
Mount Waas
Mount Tukuhnikivatz Mount Mellenthin Mount Peale

Donations of any amount are appreciated, and will go entirely toward fulfilling our mission. Your contribution will fund staff time to advocate for pro-watershed policies, co-ordinate outreach events, and create informative media content. Grant funding often requires matching funds from CWC, and your donations will provide that as well.

For more information, check out our website, or call Heila at 435.355.0280 or email at

We hope to see you at our first Round-table Discussion at the Grand County Library on Monday, April 18, at 5:30pm. Come learn, share, and collaborate!


Heila Ershadi and CWC Board Members Dave Erley, John Weisheit, Gerrish Willis, and Bob O’Brien

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