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 15 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, 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

  • State of California’s Salton Sea Advisory Group Assessment and Facilitation
  • Roaring Fork Integrated River Management Plan
  • Browns Canyon National Monument Social Landscape Assessment Facilitation
  • Colorado Energy Office Produced Water Policy Dialogue and Stakeholder Assessment
  • Oil and Gas Stakeholder Assessment: Use of MOUs to Address Local Development Conflict
  • Aspen Long-Range Municipal Water Study Stakeholder Assessment 
  • EPA Lowry Landfill Superfund Site Meditation and CAG Facilitation
  • Ogallala Aquifer Summit Facilitation


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

Local Jurisdictions (Colorado)

  • Boulder County
  • Douglas County
  • City of Fort Collins
  • City of Aspen
  • Pitkin County
  • City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks

Regional and Local Water Districts and Organizations

  • Colorado River Water Conservation District
  • Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Yampa-White-Green Basin Roundtable

Nonprofit Organizations, Universities, Companies, and Others

  • Western Governors Association
  • University of Wyoming
  • Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Future 500
  • The North Face
  • Danone North America
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Colorado State University USDA-NIFA Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project

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