Good Monday. We had the pleasure over the weekend of taking an up-close look at Colorado’s largest water right, Rio Grande Canal, to better grasp the natural flow of water into the San Luis Valley, its ag fields, and beyond. It’s an important topic – natural flow of water – to farmers, ranchers and water managers as they continue to work on recharging the aquifers of the San Luis Valley during unprecedented times of water over-appropriation, climate change and corresponding drought, and interstate compact obligations.

It’s the type of journalism we’re committed to exploring and understanding, and we hope it’s one of the benefits we provide to you. If you haven’t already, take a read on this story which lays out legislation by state Sen. Cleave Simpson that helps address the challenges. The link will also get you our update on Douglas County Abe Laydon’s visit over the weekend to the San Luis Valley.

Six more items to get the week started:

1.The uniqueness of the San Luis Valley and Alamosa County is what’s bringing about 60 scientists and others affiliated with an Astrobiology at NASA workshop to Adams State and the Great Sand Dunes National Park in mid-May.

The 7th International Planetary Dunes Workshop will be held May 17-20 at Adams State, with attendees coming mostly from the U.S. and Europe. “The purpose of this workshop is to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of new ideas and approaches to the investigation of aeolian processes that form and maintain dune fields on Earth, underwater, and on other planetary bodies within the solar system,” according to an NASA Astrobiology promotion. Astrobiology looks at “life, here and beyond.”

The conference is a “gathering of scientists who study dunes on Mars, Venus, Earth, and other planetary bodies with wind-created landforms,” according to Sand Dunes geologist Andrew Valdez in correspondence with Visit Alamosa. The scientists are coming to Alamosa to include a visit to the Great Sand Dunes. “This has the potential to lead to future research and publications about Great Sand Dunes with return visits by the attendees and their research teams,” Valdez said.

sand dunes on Mars

Photo: NASA Mars Rover Curiosity photo of sand dunes on Mars.

2. Our friends at Visit Alamosa report that Medano Creek has arrived at the Great Sand Dunes Parking lot, kicking off annual treks to the Valley’s beachfront. With the Sand Dunes in the spotlight during the month of April’s recent National Parks Week and now Medano Creek flowing for a period of weeks, it’s a good time for this reminder:

Beginning May 15 and continuing to September 1, Alamosa County and Great Sand Dunes are collaborating with the Federal Highway Administration to rebuild Lane 6 between Mosca and Hwy 150. The summer construction project is likely to have significant travel impacts for tourists and Valley residents getting around the area. More to come from us as that road project gets underway.

Medano Creek Medano Creek

3. With Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, our podcast with Herman Martinez is timely and relevant. Martinez is iconic in the San Luis Valley and the borderlands of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for his storytelling and recognition of the region’s culture. We enjoyed our visit with him and hope you’ll listen.

Herman Martinez Herman Martinez

4. In the end, the city of Alamosa settled for establishing 10 zones and a 5 percent cap in each zone as its method to control the number of short-term rentals in Alamosa. The city also created a new license that will, if your properties aren’t already grandfathered in, cost you $750 initially and then $300 for the annual renewal.

“A lot of the regulations aren’t that different from what we first proposed last fall,” said Rachel Baird, the city’s development services director. She ticked off parking standards, safety inspections, a local contact requirement, among other regulations.

Proposed Short Term Rental Zones Proposed Short Term Rental Zones

5. Adams State hosts a job fair April 28 and 29, Thursday and Friday of this week. We’re helping spread the word and hope you will, too. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the Plachy Hall Fieldhouse. Anyone seeking a career change or new opportunities throughout the community is invited to attend. Proper business attire is recommended along with up-to-date résumés. For more information or to register, please visit

6. Finally, about that wind photo. It was taken Friday by Sam Schmidt at the San Juan Ranch in Saguache. Alamosa Citizen recently featured the San Juan Ranch as part of our Faces of the Valley series by photographer/writer Randy Brown. The week ahead looks less windy. Enjoy it!

A small favor:  

Alamosa Citizen is committed to informing and engaging the people of the San Luis Valley. Unlike many other sites, the Citizen makes its journalism available to everyone to read, regardless of what they can afford to pay. We do this because we believed informed citizens create better communities.
If you like what you’ve seen and heard so far, please become an member. We have no out-of-town shareholders or billionaire owners. Your membership makes our reporting possible, and keeps it free for all to access. Your support will make all the difference.