Dolores River

Dolores River Boating Advocates

Boaters can now mark their calendars for the first weekend in June to take a trip down the Lower Dolores River.

64MM / Creative Commons

The on-again, off-again boating spill from McPhee Dam this year may be on again. The Dolores Water Conservancy District website says that thanks to recent and anticipated heavy precipitation and low irrigation demand, the Dolores River is back on track for a short, small spill, the first in five years. As of Monday, the reservoir was just 12 feet short of being full. The website says if a boating release occurs, it will likely cover the Memorial Day weekend and last five to 10 days at 1,000 or more cubic feet per second.

Amanda Wilson / Creative Commons

The big question on many boater's minds is if there will be a spill into the Lower Dolores River from McPhee Reservoir this spring that would allow for recreational flows. River Radio host Sam Carter talks with Vern Harrell, manager at the Bureau of Reclamation, about the prospect for a boating spill this spring, and the factors that go into deciding if a spill is appropriate given the various demands on the water in the Dolores River.


  • Montezuma County Commissioners are adamantly opposed to a national monument designation along the Dolores River corridor.
  • National Fire Protection Association has awarded four $500 grants for wildfire projects in southwest Colorado.

Alex Berger / Creative Commons

In this episode of River Radio, host Sam Carter talks with Nate and Matthew Klema, brothers who grew up boating the Dolores River and have spent much of their lives running rivers around the world, about their recent speed record through the Grand Canyon, and how their experiences have shaped them.

Sam Beebe / Creative Commons

In this episode of River Radio, host Sam Carter talks with Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia Clothing Company, about his land conservation efforts and love for the world's wild places.

  • Montezuma County commissioners join in call for a new citizens’ group to work on a National Conservation Area along the Dolores River.
  • Maintenance and future ownership of the Dolores-Norwood Road remain a topic of dispute between the Montezuma County commissioners and the Forest Service.


Awilson / Creative Commons

In 1885, the Montezuma Valley Irrigation District completed a tunnel that moved water from the Dolores River to the Montezuma Valley. This trans-basin diversion allowed the town of Cortez and the entire valley to grow and thrive.  But this transfer, and later McPhee dam, changed the Dolores River. A hundred and fifty years later, the community is working to find a balance between keeping the water it has long relied on, and meeting federal requirements for healthy fish and a protected river downstream. Reporter Stephanie Paige Ogburn has more on those efforts.


  • Colorado Board of Equalization rejects Montezuma County’s effort to give a tax break to farmers.
  • Montezuma County commissioners adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward a National Conservation Area along the lower Dolores River.


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