GOVERNANCE AND OPERATION
The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC) was incorporated as
a non-profit organization in 1998 by citizens inspired to defend the
integrity of mountain forests and streams, including other public lands
totaling 3.1 million acres surrounding the San Luis Valley and Upper
Rio Grande basin.
This initiative was fiscally sponsored by Citizens for San Luis Valley
Water, formed in 1989 to defeat a corporate-based water export
scheme proposed by American Water Development, Inc. (AWDI).
This twelve-year water struggle resulted in the passage of the Great
Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000. A local public
lands advocacy organization was created to give a voice to public
natural resource concerns.
SLVEC is operated by an executive director and board with part-time
staff, volunteers, and over 400 contributing members. Federal grants,
private foundations, donations, and fundraising campaigns continue to
provide financial support, and we maintain a close working partnership
with other environmental/conservation organizations at the local, state,
regional, and national levels.
The complex and changing nature of the environmental issues facing
SLVEC and the American public requires a principled and resourceful
approach and a diverse set of skills.
1) Where science-based decision making contributes to quality
recommendations, we conduct and collect baseline data for research.
2) Where evidence of public support is needed, we act as a
community organizer, providing educational information and
simultaneously listening to the concerns of local residents to
determine next steps.
3) Where environmentally harmful decisions or practices are
proposed, we recommend appropriate or corrective actions, usually
through public comment.
Proposed actions can be in the form of site specific projects,
legislation or policy that can impact all levels of government and public
Public advocacy may provide many forums including conducting
public awareness campaigns, organizing events, and coordinating
training and workshops to motivate greater support and commitment.
Often it falls upon the Ecosystem Council to take a proactive role in
addressing environmental issues where other organizations hesitate
to become involved, lines of responsibility are unclear, or there is a
As a last resort, SLVEC may pursue court action through its
relationships with pro bono legal counsel or enter into other applicable
court proceedings with mutual, public interest partnerships.