Photo of Ryan Golten

Ryan Golten

Senior Mediator

Ryan Golten works with organizations, coalitions, and communities to resolve complex, multi-party natural resource disputes in the western United States. As a mediator and former attorney focused on bringing parties together to solve challenging problems, Ryan has nearly 20 years of experience facilitating collaborative approaches to western water and lands challenges involving scarce resources, competing needs, long histories, and diverse stakeholders. Ryan is based outside of Boulder, Colorado and formerly practiced law in New Mexico with acequia and land grant communities. 

Areas of Focus

Ryan focuses on water, climate, energy, and public lands challenges in the Rocky Mountain region. She mediates multi-party disputes, designs and facilitates stakeholder-based planning efforts, conducts conflict assessments, and helps groups collaborate internally and externally on areas of competing interests and shared needs. Ryan is known for her ability to navigate complex regulatory and technical environments while working to understand and incorporate stakeholder needs, bring parties together to reach broadly supported outcomes, and create a foundation for long-term relationships and problem-solving, particularly in environments with historic tensions and high emotions. She frequently works with technical experts to gather, frame, and present data to support collaborative decision-making processes. Ryan has worked extensively in western, southwestern, and Spanish-speaking communities. She teaches collaborative problem solving, facilitation, and mediation for natural resources and public policy professionals and other audiences. 

Exemplary Projects

  • City of Denver Climate Action-Net Zero Energy Buildings Task Force
  • State of New Mexico Climate Action Task Force
  • Yampa River Integrated Water Management Plan
  • EPA Colorado Smelter Superfund Community Advisory Group
  • Browns Canyon National Monument Social Landscape Assessment
  • State of California Salton Sea Advisory Groups
  • Big Thompson River Envisioning Project
  • Ogallala Aquifer Summit Facilitation
  • River Network-EPA Water Reuse Action Plan National Pilot


The following is a partial list of clients:

Federal Agencies

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bureau of Land Management

State Agencies and Government

  • Colorado Water Conservation Board
  • Colorado Energy Office
  • State of California Natural Resources Agency
  • New Mexico Environment Department
  • New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resource Department
  • State of California Water Resources Control Board

Local Jurisdictions (Colorado)

  • City of Denver Office of Climate Action
  • Boulder County
  • Douglas County
  • City of Fort Collins
  • City of Aspen
  • Pitkin County
  • City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks
  • City of Thornton Water Resources

Regional and Local Water Districts, Organizations, and Watershed Groups

  • Colorado River Water Conservation District
  • Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Yampa-White-Green Basin Roundtable
  • Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Big Thompson Watershed Coalition
  • Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed
  • Left Hand Watershed Center
  • Clear Creek Watershed Partnership

Nonprofit Organizations, Universities, Companies, and Others

  • Western Resource Advocates
  • River Network
  • Western Governors Association
  • Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment
  • Colorado State University USDA-NIFA Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project
  • Western Colorado University Environmental Management Program
  • Colorado Open Lands
  • The North Face
  • West Denver Trout Unlimited
  • Future 500
  • University of Wyoming
  • University of Colorado

Education and Affiliations

Ryan holds a J.D. magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico Law School and a B.A. with high honors from the University of Michigan. Ryan is a member of the New Mexico Bar Association, a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and has served multiple times as Co-Chair of the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources ADR Year-in-Review. 

Books and Articles