Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District - Gen ....

Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District Mission

To lead water resource management within the District’s boundaries by responsibly conserving, protecting, developing, providing, and enhancing the water resources of the Upper Yampa River Basin, for the benefit of the Basin.

District Background

The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District was formed in 1966 and instituted a mill levy under the Water Conservancy Act of the State of Colorado, in order to plan and develop water conservation projects in the Upper Yampa Basin. The District encompasses Routt County and a portion of Moffatt County and is divided into three divisions: Division 1 (Hayden area), Division 2 (Steamboat Springs area), and Division 3 (Oak Creek/Yampa area). The nine members of the Board of Directors, three representing each Division, are appointed by the District Judge to serve staggered four-year terms.


The District was formed on the basis that properties within the District would benefit through conservation, development, and stabilization of water supplies for domestic irrigation, power, manufacturing, and other beneficial uses. This led to the construction of Yamcolo Reservoir, located in the Flattops near the headwaters of the Yampa River, in 1980 and Stagecoach Reservoir, located southeast of Steamboat, in 1989.

Yamcolo offers 9,621 acre feet of storage, which primarily provides water to agricultural operations in South Routt County; some of which is delivered via the Stillwater Ditch, a District-owned and operated irrigation ditch that crosses the Five Pines Mesa. With up to 36,439 acre feet of storage, Stagecoach serves a multitude of water users, including municipalities, industrial use such as energy production, agricultural operations, and recreation including snowmaking. The District also owns and operates an 800 kW hydroelectric power plant at Stagecoach Dam.

In addition to safely maintaining and operating District-owned facilities, the District promotes healthy reservoirs, streams, and watersheds within the District. In 2012, the District partnered with the Colorado Water Trust to coordinate the first environmental water release out of Stagecoach Reservoir. As part of its maintenance and operation, the District also closely adjusts and monitors the temperature and oxygen content of its releases to ensure a healthy habitat for trout and other aquatic life downstream, a contribution to both the environment and recreational opportunities on the Yampa River.

In collaboration with various agencies, the District supports water quality efforts and participates in working groups to address issues that may affect water quantity in the future. The District monitors issues throughout the Colorado River Basin in an effort to protect the water resources of the Upper Yampa Basin and plan for potential water shortages.

The District is committed to an Upper Yampa River Basin with safe, secure water storage and supply that benefits all uses in the Basin.

The Board of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District now seeks a new General Manager to manage operations and to implement our robust strategic plan.


General Manager Position

Under direction of the District Board of Directors, the General Manager (GM) manages the overall activities of the District. The GM recommends and participates in the formation and revision of policies and programs by the Board and is responsible for implementing and directing through effective leadership, the District’s mission, vision and strategic plan.


The General Manager reviews the status of the strategic plan’s implementation annually and ensures that strategic priorities for the coming year are accurately reflected in the annual budget.  The General Manager updates the Board regularly on the status of the plan and works in partnership with the Board ot make any needed adjustments to timelines or priorities.


The GM supervises day to day activities of the District, including water delivery and operation of two reservoirs and a hydroelectric facility.  This includes managing an annual operating budget of $2 million and a staff of six dedicated professionals.  The General Manager builds and maintains a culture that fosters staff development, collaboration, accountability, and customer service.


The GM represents the District on water policy matters and is directly involved in water rights issues and other legal matters. The GM engages in long-term financial planning to ensure the effective alignment with the District’s vision and its budget.  The GM partners with the board in identifying long-term sources of revenue.


The GM works with representatives from the Basin Round Table, Colorado Water Conservation Board, stream management planning efforts and other advocacy groups. The GM coordinates and collaborates on projects, legislative activities and Colorado River water policies.


Ideal Candidate

Qualified candidates for this leadership role will have experience and skills in these areas:


Proven Leader

To achieve its goals and future aspirations, the District needs a proven, talented leader who knows how to effect change, who is fully committed to the mission of the District, who can manage our reservoirs and staff as well as water sales while helping our organization grow and develop.  We seek a leader who is  well-versed in the unique issues of water management in the Rocky Mountain west.


Strong Manager & Relationship Builder

Qualified candidates will have demonstrated the ability to lead organizations in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors  with at least five years’ managerial experience and have outstanding communication and relationship building skills.  Candidates will understand how to manage a complex operation, how to build an effective team, how to use technology effectively to support operations, how to apply for and administer grants, and how to partner well with a dedicated governing board.  Candidates will also demonstrate the ability to work well with a wide variety of stakeholders including business, government, and agricultural leaders, local residents, and advocacy groups.



Candidates should have strong strategic capabilities with the ability to see the big picture while ensuring accountability for operational details.  Leading the District requires thinking broadly, holistically, and at times out of the box coupled with a bias for action and getting things done. Qualified candidates will have had experience in dealing with unexpected issues and finding effective short term and long term approaches to such crises and understand how to manage change thoughtfully and effectively.  Candidates need to be conversant with the fundamentals of systems analysis and modeling as well as their strengths and limitations.


Personal Qualities

On a personal level, qualified candidates for this role will have a high level of integrity, a good sense of humor, outstanding listening skills, a natural tendency to collaborate, and a clear desire for impact. Candidates will be excited to engage directly with different stakeholders and can represent the breadth of our communities in many different forums with integrity and grace. Candidates ideally will have had some experience in living in western agricultural and resort communities and are enthusiastic about building a long-term commitment to this part of Colorado and its residents.


Candidates must also have an undergraduate degree in engineering, management, law, natural resources, or a related field; advanced degrees in any of these areas are preferred.  Candidates must also live in the District and demonstrate a willingness to be active members of the community.


Compensation and Benefits

The District offers a competitive benefits package to its staff members including healthcare insurance and a match of up to 6% of gross pay annually for 401(a) contributions.  The salary range for the General Manager position is $120,000-$170,000 commensurate with skills and experience.  Relocation support for candidates currently living outside the local area may also be available.


Our Community

Nestled in the high plains of Northwest Colorado, two and half hours’ drive from Denver and minutes from the Continental Divide, are Routt and Moffat counties. Brilliant sun, clean air, snow fed rivers and streams, mountains and grass covered valleys are woven into the fabric of life in the Elk and Yampa River valleys.


This area is celebrated for its outdoor recreation and is home to Steamboat Ski Resort and multiple hiking/biking areas.  State Parks include Pear Lake State Park, Stagecoach State Park, Steamboat Lake State Park, and the Yampa River State Park.  Routt National Forest, White River National Forest, and the National Wilderness areas of Mount Zirkel, Flattops, and Sarvis Creek are also located within the area.


We have a robust and diverse business community, with a wide range of resources to meet the needs of employers and employees.  There are multiple industries to provide employment which allows for more socioeconomic diversity than in most resort communities.  Telecommuting is an increasingly important segment of that diversity. While Steamboat Springs is the largest employment center in the area, additional economic activity is generated in the towns of Oak Creek, Hayden and Yampa.  Economic diversity is also enhanced by a robust retirement community attracted by the healthy environment and lifestyle of the area.


Education, music and the visual and literary arts have been part of this valley’s culture for 100 years. The Perry Mansfield School of Performing Arts, the Steamboat Strings pavilion and summer music festival, the Steamboat Symphony and Singers, Literary Sojourn, the Bud Werner Memorial Library, the Steamboat Creative District, The Steamboat Art Museum, Art in the Park, multiple art galleries and even an independent bookstore mean there is no time in the year when the arts scene isn’t hopping.


Ready to Apply?

If you are excited about the opportunity to provide vision and leadership for the next chapter of the Upper  Yampa Water Conservancy District’s growth, we want to hear from you as soon as possible.  Please send cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Carolyn McCormick of Peak HR Consulting, LLC at carolyn.mccormick@peakhrconsulting.com.  All applications are to be submitted electronically.  To learn more about the District and this opportunity, please visit us at http://www.upperyampawater.com .



The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District is an equal opportunity employer.  Employment decisions are made without regard to any otherwise qualified person’s race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability or genetic information, subject to such reasonable requirements of the District as may be permitted by law.



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