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Stretching for 241 miles, the Dolores River flows from its headwaters in the San Juan National Forest through Colorado and into Utah, where it terminates as a tributary of the Colorado River. In 1986, The Dolores River was dammed southwest of Dolores Colorado, creating the McPhee Reservoir. The reservoir covers 4,470 acres when full and has a drainage area of 809 square miles.
The hydrology, geomorphology, and biology of the Dolores River channel downstream from McPhee Reservoir have all been altered due to the changes in stream flow and sediment supply that are associated with the presence of a dam. These changes have the potential to create long term impacts on the shape and functioning of the Dolores River system.
Today, the Dolores River provides water to the cities of Cortez and Dove Creek, and to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe via manmade canals and reservoirs. The largest canal, the Nararaguinnep, brings water to the Montezuma Valley. To learn more about background information on the Dolores River, visit the Dolores River Restoration Partnership's (DRRP) StoryMap, Dolores River Restoration Partnership , created by Rica Fulton.
The Dolores River Adaptive Management Support (DRAMS) Team was formed in 2020 to support the management decisions and flow recommendations of The Dolores River Native Fish Monitoring and Recommendations Team (M&R Team).
The M&R Team was formed in 2014 to focus on the habitat for the three sensitive warm-water native species: the flannelmouth sucker, the roundtail chub, and the bluehead sucker.
The DRAMS Project is made possible with funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, The Nature Conservancy, Southwestern Water Conservation District, Dolores Water Conservancy District, and the Dolores River Restoration Partnership.
The five-year monitoring project is a collaboration between Fort Lewis College, Colorado Mesa University, RiversEdge West, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bureau of Reclamation, Conservation Legacy, US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
Access the Dolores River Dialogue archives