WELCOME to the last full week of February. This Monday we start off with a celebratory shout out to Alamosa High School sophomore Sarah De La Cerda. She made school history over the weekend when she captured the 111-pound state girls wrestling title on Saturday, the first state champion in girls wrestling in Alamosa High history. Pretty cool for Sarah and the De La Cerda family …

In the Monday Briefing you’ll also find news on U.S. senators Michael Bennet and John Hicklenhooper opposing the Renewable Water Resources’ water exportation proposal in letters they sent to Secretary of Interior Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack . . . Summer Internships at the Great Sand Dunes, how to tune into the 4th Annual State of the Rio Grande Basin Symposium, and dates for the month of March’s big event in the San Luis Valley, the Crane Festival in Monte Vista. Read on:

Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper
oppose Renewable Water Resources plan

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to voice their opposition to the Renewable Water Resources proposal that would export water from the San Luis Valley. 

“After hearing concerns from our San Luis Valley constituents about this proposal for months, the District’s letter from yesterday, and considering Colorado’s current exceptional drought, we both oppose this proposal,” wrote Bennet and Hickenlooper.

Sen. Bennet hand delivered the letter to Secretary Haaland on Saturday during her visit to Colorado. You can read the full letter HERE.

Alamosa sets closure for State Avenue

Starting on Thursday, Feb. 24, State Avenue will be closed between Seventh Street and Eighth Street. Xcel Energy crews will be working to relocate a natural gas line that is in conflict with the reconstruction of State Avenue that will begin on Tuesday, March 1.

Heavy truck traffic will need to use alternate routes like the State Highway system, staying out of residential areas. If you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Department at 719-589-6631.

In March, State Avenue beginning at Sixth Street south to the Alamosa Regional Airport will undergo major instructure and road work. Detours will be established by the city throughout the spring, summer and fall. AlamosaCitizen.com will keep you up to date on this project.

Great Sand Dunes begins recruitment
for Conservation Internship Program

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is actively recruiting energetic, committed young adults who are interested in a career with a federal land agency for this year’s Conservation Internship Program. The internship program recruits young adults from San Luis Valley communities to work at Great Sand Dunes to learn skills, contribute to meaningful park projects, and create experiences that will make them marketable in a career with a public land agency. 

This year, the park will offer multiple internship positions working with the Interpretation and Visitor Services Program. The Park will select candidates for the following opportunities:

  • Two 12-week (3 months) internships, starting mid-May and ending in mid-August receiving a weekly stipend of $520. This internship is ideal for a recent high school graduate or degree-seeking college student. Intern(s) will provide customer service at the visitor center, make connections with visitors on park trails, and assist with event planning and social media posts.
  • One 26-week (~6 months) internship, starting mid-April to mid-October receiving a weekly stipend of $634. This internship is ideal for current college students or college graduates. The intern will provide support to the park’s educational program during on-site field trips or distance learning programs and other youth engagement activities. The intern will also provide customer service at the visitor center, make connections with visitors on park trails, and assist with event planning and social media posts.

To apply for these internship positions, visit: https://jobs.silkroad.com/ConservationLegacy and Search “Great Sand Dunes.” For more information, contact Great Sand Dunes Program Manager of Interpretation and Visitor Services Kathy Faz, by email at Kathy_Faz@nps.gov or by phone at 719-378-6341.

Learn more about the Great Sand Dunes Conservation Internship Program HERE.

“Rio Grande State of Basin Symposium”
is this week 

With the theme “In Scarcity, Opportunity for Community,” the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center at Adams State University will host the 2022 Rio Grande State of the Basin Symposium on Saturday, Feb. 26.

Salazar Center Executive Director Rio de la Vista talked about the program of this year’s symposium on The Valley Pod, a podcast created by Alamosa Citizen. You can listen to the podcast HERE. 

The public is invited to attend this free virtual event, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Registration is available here. The keynote speaker is Dr. Marie E. Montoya of NYU and the Master of Ceremonies is Armando Valdez, newly appointed State Director for the USDA’s Colorado Office of Rural Affairs.

Crane Festival highlights March
in the San Luis Valley 

It’s March 11-13 for this year’s Monte Vista Crane Festival, which will be hybrid in nature due to COVID-19, with no buses or gathering indoors. Instead of Crane tours, visitors will drive themselves to meet-up locations on the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and learn from experts interesting facts about Sandhill Cranes.

For 2022 speaking events, the Crane Festival offers recorded presentations from its experts. The videos contain information about wildlife use of abandoned mines along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Flammulated Owls at the Hot Creek Research Natural Area, raptor education by Hawks Aloft, among other videos.

Full information on the Crane Festival is HERE. 

Tip of the hat to Russ Caton at Adams State

Finally, noteworthy over the weekend was Russ Caton’s 150th win as head basketball coach at Adams State. Watch the celebration with the team in the locker room. Caton, an Alamosa native, is in his seventh year as head coach. He’s a 1997 graduate of Adams State and was an all-state player for Alamosa High,  helping the Mean Moose win two state championships. His 150th win came on senior night for the Grizzlies.