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Dolores River

Introduction to the Dolores River

The Dolores River rises near 12,500 feet elevation in the San Juan mountains of Colorado and flows 241 miles to its confluence with the Colorado River in eastern Utah. The 4,600 square mile watershed is the ancestral and modern homeland of many indigenous peoples, including the Nuchu (Ute) and others. McPhee Dam was completed in 1985, impounding McPhee Reservoir, as part of the Dolores Project, which is operated by the US Bureau of Reclamation and provides irrigation water to farmers in the neighboring San Juan River basin.

Dolores River Adaptive Management Support (DRAMS) Project

A team of FLC faculty and students, in collaboration with several partners, are working on a 5-year monitoring effort to understand how Dolores River channel below McPhee Reservoir is responding to changes in streamflow and sediment. For more information about this collaborative effort, explore the story map below or visit the story map site here

The protocol for the 5-year geomorphic and vegetation monitoring effort is a living document and can be explored here

 

DRAMS Project Funding

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. 

Dolores River Adaptive Management Support project funding logos: Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Nature Conservancy, Southwestern Water Conservation District, Dolores Water Conservancy District, Dolores River Restoration Partnership

DRAMS Project Partners

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. 

Dolores River Adaptive Management Support project partner logos: Rivers Edge West, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bureau of Reclamation, Colorado Mesa University, Conservation Legacy, Four Corners Water Center, Fort Lewis College, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management

Connect with us

Water in the Southwest is a critical issue to all who make this beautiful place home. Whether you're a community member or student, your engagement in these important questions is vital to our future. 

FCWC staff

Gigi Richard, Ph.D.
FCWC Director & Geosciences Instructor

Center of Southwest Studies, Room 265
970-247-6561
water@fortlewis.edu

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