Dan has over thirty years of experience in water resources planning, management and engineering related to municipal, industrial, irrigation, recreation and environmental uses of water. In addition to being a trained facilitator and mediator for multi-stakeholder environmental and public policy issues, Dan served as the Deputy General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District and serves as Water Referee for the Division 6 Water Court. Dan has broad contacts among key Colorado stakeholders, having served on numerous water-related boards and committees, including the Colorado Water Congress (President, 2001), Interbasin Compact Committee, the Yampa/White Basin Roundtable, Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, and the Colorado River Water Conservation District.
Areas of Focus
Dan brings this expertise and capability to bear for CBI clients both helping frame the often complicated issues surrounding water resource matters, as well as facilitating stakeholder engagement and mediating conflicts.
A particular passion of Dan’s is helping agricultural water users in western Colorado who are beleaguered and threatened by a growing list of problems and difficulties and yet whose farms and ranches bring great social, environmental and community benefit.
- ELKHEAD RESERVOIR ENLARGEMENT: With the ability to create partnerships and negotiate complex and difficult agreements, Mr. Birch negotiated the over-two-dozen agreements for the partnership between the Colorado River District and the Upper Colorado Endangered Species Recovery Program to enlarge Elkhead Reservoir near Craig, Colorado. The enlargement provides water to enhance river habitat for endangered species as well as provide water for human uses.
- YAMPA RIVER BASIN INTEGRATED WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN: Co-Facilitated a stakeholder engagement to help the Yampa River Basin Roundtable decide whether and how to proceed with an integrated water management plant to address agricultural, environmental, industrial, municipal and recreational water needs.
- SHOSHONE HYDROPOWER PLANT: Led a group of over 15 western slope entities including irrigation districts, counties, municipalities, and conservation and conservancy districts negotiating to purchase the plant and its very large and senior water right, which provides critically important flows in the Colorado River.
- COMPACT WATER BANK: Led a stakeholder group examining ways to bank water to prevent and mitigate Colorado River water shortages.
The following is a partial list of clients:
- Colorado River Water Conservation District, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
- Grand Valley Water Users Association, Grand Junction, Colorado
- The Nature Conservancy, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- State of Colorado Energy Office, Denver, Colorado
- CDR Associates, Boulder, Colorado
- Intermountain Joint Venture, Partners for Conservation -- Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
M.S.C.E., Water Resources, University of Colorado
B.A., Geology, University of Colorado
Dan has authored and co-authored a number of professional journal articles on a variety of water resource issues.