Photo of Ryan Golten

Ryan Golten

Senior Mediator

Ryan Golten is a mediator and former attorney with two decades of experience bringing together organizations, governments, and communities to solve challenging, multi-party resource conflicts in the western United States, often involving scarce resources, diverse and competing needs, and long histories of conflict and inequity. Ryan helps build consensus within and across teams and coalitions to influence broader change on issues ranging from climate and environmental justice to water resources and management of public lands. 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 involving Rocky Mountain communities and issues of environmental justice. 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

  • Tribal Sectoral Committee, Rio Grande Basin Water Study
  • City of Denver Climate Action-Net Zero Energy Buildings Task Force
  • State of New Mexico Climate Action Task Force
  • State of California Water Quality/Bacteria Summit
  • 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 Committees
  • City of Denver Zero Waste Task Force 
  • Big Thompson River Envisioning Project
  • Ogallala Aquifer Summit 
  • Los Angeles Regional Water Board Permit Negotiation 
  • River Network-EPA Water Reuse Action Plan National Pilot
  • City of Denver ADU Advisory Committee


The following is a partial list of clients:

Federal Agencies

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

State Agencies and Government

  • Colorado Department of Natural Resources
  • 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
  • City of Denver Community Planning and Development 
  • 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
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Danone North America
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • 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