Martin Sarley

Martin Sarley is an alumnus of the Center of the American West undergraduate certificate program, and is the Deputy Water Commissioner for District 5 and District 6 of Division 1 of the Colorado Division of Water Resources. In that capacity, he administers all waters tributary to Boulder Creek, Coal Creek, Rock Creek, Left Hand Creek, and Saint Vrain Creek. The Division of Water Resources is tasked with ensuring water resources are used in accordance with state laws.

Martin moved to Colorado in 2012, to pursue a career relating to water law. During his time as a certificate student, Martin pursued opportunities to further his knowledge of western water doctrines. Martin’s certificate capstone was an independent study into the US Supreme Court Case “Winters V. United States”. The Winters Doctrine developed the theory of federal reserved water rights, which has implications for Native American water rights and sovereignty cases across the country, among many other legal entanglements for prior appropriation doctrine practicing states. Martin continues to build upon the thesis he developed during his independent study, and is fascinated by the ongoing developments of tribal sovereignty, and federal reserved water rights.

Martin held a variety of jobs while attending CU Boulder. Martin worked as an independent insurance claims specialist for hail and storm damages, as a property inspector and property manager, as an aerial surveyor and cartographer, a precision irrigation and sustainable systems designer and installer, and as a distributor and retailer for all varieties of agricultural products and services. Martin worked as a student manager for CU Boulder Housing and Dining Services Facilities Management, after completing an independent project on his own analysis of the CU Boulder irrigation system. Martin also worked as an intern for Denver Water at Gross Reservoir, before accepting a full-time position with CU Boulder as a horticultural and arboreal technician post graduation. Martin also operated and performed experiments relating to the non-herbicide steam-based weed control program CU Boulder implemented. Martin resigned his position with CU Boulder in 2019, to take on the responsibilities as the Deputy Water Commissioner for Boulder Creek.

In his free time, Martin enjoys getting his hands dirty smelling flowers. He maintains a home garden, and likes to spend his time on friends’ farms. Martin enjoys talking to folks, and learning about local history. Martin lives and works in beautiful Boulder County Colorado. You just might catch a glimpse of him looking at the creek over a bridge on the side of the road, or out off a trail down a ditch.