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Ival Goslin, a civil engineer who served as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission for more than two decades and played key roles in Western water decisions long past retirement, died Saturday. He was 80.

His death was mourned by political leaders and water resource managers who called him one of the most influential water experts in the upper basin of the Colorado, where decisions have huge impacts on the water supplies of major metropolitan areas in the West, from Denver to San Diego."He was simply the premier statesman of the Colorado River," said Bill McDonald, assistant commissioner for resource management in the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Denver.

An adviser to Western governors, senators and congressmen for more than four decades, Goslin wrote, lobbied and directed legislation concerning water in the Colorado River basin.

He teamed with the late Rep. Wayne Aspinall, D-Colo., to write and pass the Upper Colorado River Storage Project in 1956 and the Colorado River Basin Project Act in 1968. The Central Arizona Project, Blue Mesa and Fryingpan-Arkansas projects were included in those laws.

Goslin was born in Pullman, Wash., and earned engineering degrees from the University of Utah.

The family said contributions may be sent to the Shriner's Crippled Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.