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Latino Conservation Week Event Centered on Colorado River

Young people from Western states gather for "Latino Conservation Week" to learn more about the incredible history and future challenges facing the Colorado River.Courtesy: Nevada State Parks
Young people from Western states gather for "Latino Conservation Week" to learn more about the incredible history and future challenges facing the Colorado River.Courtesy: Nevada State Parks
July 16, 2015

LAS VEGAS - As part of "Latino Conservation Week," which is this week, young people from Nevada and several other Western states will gather to learn more about the incredible history and future challenges facing the Colorado River.

Rosalia Salazar, a college student from Las Vegas, is among about two dozen people with the Nuestro Rio Youth Leadership program meeting in Colorado for a youth summit. She says the mission is centered on protecting and preserving the declining waters of the Colorado River.

"We basically advocate to the youth," says Salazar. "We advocate to our elected officials, regarding water policies and water conservation."

Salazar says the youth leaders can use the knowledge they gain for presenting at conferences, talking with their peers as well as local elected officials, and to share their voices and ideas to help create solutions with policy makers.

Greg Webb, director of the Nuestro Rio program, says people like Rosalia Salazar have helped to establish the first-ever Bureau of Reclamation Youth Council within the U.S. Department of the Interior. He adds young people should be part of the conversation when it comes to issues at critical as preserving the Colorado River.

"A young Latino and Native American voice is often left out of the equation and as adults sometimes we think we know what's best for our young people. But young people are experts in their own experience," says Webb.

According to a study from Arizona State University, the Colorado River generates $1.4 trillion annually, and supports 16 million jobs across the seven Colorado Basin states: Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Mike Clifford/Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV