Shaping the Future of Grand Lake

Three Lakes Watershed Association Brings in Renowned Sherman & Howard Water Team in Bid to Restore Grand Lake

DENVER (March 19, 2024) – When Three Lakes Watershed Association needed assistance in its mission to improve Grand Lake clarity, President Mike Cassio looked to Sherman & Howard’s renowned water law practice.

The firm’s water law practice leader, James Eklund, and colleagues Doug Young and Hannah Mink, represented Three Lakes Watershed Association, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life in the Three Lakes area, in the proposal of a resolution recognizing the importance of water clarity in Grand Lake. The resolution was unanimously passed by the Colorado General Assembly.

“This resolution is the first of its kind and gives our client exactly what is needed to achieve their mission. They have something to hold up to the federal government as proof, that as a state, we have spoken on this issue and therefore will be asking for ways to address it,” said Eklund. “The passing of this resolution also helps bridge the gap between east and west water rights.”

Grand Lake, sometimes referred to as Colorado’s version of Lake Tahoe, is the state’s largest and deepest natural lake and sits at the headwaters of the Colorado River. Historically, Grand Lake’s direct, natural inflow of pristine snowmelt created high water clarity conditions. However, the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) project, authorized by the United States Congress in 1937, pumps water from the Upper Colorado River Basin into Grand Lake, reverses the natural flow of the water, and compromises the lake’s water clarity.

“For more than 50 years, our organization has worked tirelessly to find a way to bring water clarity back to Grand Lake,” said Cassio. “About a year ago, James came very highly recommended as the key person in Colorado who could help us, who understands what we could do from a legal aspect.”

“James and the Sherman & Howard team listened to our needs, and he worked his magic with the key people and the legislature, while I worked on the partners. In the end, we came together to support the resolution. Thanks to James and the team, we are one step closer to restoring Grand Lake to its former glory.”

The firm’s legal team drafted and proposed a resolution that urges federal, state, and private organizations to address these clarity issues. In the resolution, the Colorado General Assembly recognizes the importance of Grand Lake and its unique water clarity, the importance of the C-BT project for essential water deliveries, and the need for short and long-term solutions to increase the clarity of Grand Lake and meet state-issued clarity standards.

Sherman & Howard’s Governmental & Political Law team recently added former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Terrance Carroll and advises businesses, nonprofits, advocacy groups, political organizations, elected officials, and candidates through all aspects of governmental and political law to achieve wins like the Grand Lake clarity resolution.

About Sherman & Howard

Sherman & Howard L.L.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. Our attorneys provide high-quality legal and business solutions to a broad range of clients, including private, public, and government entities. We have extensive experience in aerospace and government contracting, infrastructure and construction, financial services, natural resources, telecommunications, technology, manufacturing, consumer products and retail, and nonprofit entities. For more information, visit