U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican, held meetings with constituents across the Eastern Plains Monday, discussing the fate of a popular reservoir that's run dry and the importance of agriculture, his office said.
Gardner made stops in Wray, Fort Morgan and Sterling on the first day of a scheduled week-long Senate recess.
"Meeting constituents and local leaders to discuss how I can help them make sure their local communities and businesses succeed is one of the most important parts of my job," Gardner said in a statement. "Whether it's finding a way forward on an issue like Bonny Reservoir or seeing how Colorado's agriculture processing plants contribute to the local economy, it's important to travel the state and speak to Coloradans face-to-face."
Gardner first met with members of the South Fork River Restoration Coalition near the Kansas border in Yuma County, where they talked about Bonny Reservoir and the South Fork Republican River. The reservoir was drained in 2011 following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that favored Kansas in a dispute over rights to the water that had filled it since the 1950s.
"Growing up in Yuma," Gardner said, "I went to Bonny Reservoir as a kid and know all of the benefits it provided for the people of northeastern Colorado. I will continue to work with the local stakeholders and advocate on their behalf when it comes to their dealings with the federal government agencies. Colorado knows best when it comes to managing Colorado water, and we can not let Washington bureaucrats supersede decisions made on the local level."
Gardner met in Fort Morgan with local officials, farmers and representatives of Western Sugar to talk about the Western Sugar Cooperative before heading to Sterling to tour the Denver-based Trinidad Benham Corporation's bean processing and packaging plant.
"Colorado's agriculture industry, including processing and packaging plants like Western Sugar Cooperative and the Trinidad Benham Corporation's plant in Sterling, are major economic drivers for eastern Colorado," Gardner said after the meetings. "We must continue to support our agriculture industry and make sure the next generation of Coloradans living on the Eastern Plains have a vibrant economy and a local community they are proud to be a part of."