water

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.


  • Warm weather is shrinking area snowpack, but plenty remains for irrigation.
  • Spring weather also means weeds, a growing and perennial problem for Montezuma County.

  • Communities in the Animas and San Juan River watersheds preparing for dirtier water in coming weeks as snow melt stirs up toxic metals from last year's Gold King Mine waste spill.

  • The U.S. Forest Service has changed a proposed rule designed to protect water for ski areas.
  • Biologists with Colorado Parks and Wildlife are pleading with citizens not to feed big-game animals despite the cold and snow.


USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Creative Commons

In this episode of Pandora's Box, host Lyn Patrick talks with Dr. Celia Chen, Ecotoxicologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College, about her research on mercury in the environment, how it gets into the fish in our lakes and rivers, and its potential impacts on human health.

  • San Juan County, Utah Commissioner Phil Lyman is declining his County Commissioner of the Year award.
  • The Bureau of Reclamation has released a report indicating that the Gold King Mine wastewater spill was avoidable.


Jessica Petersen / Creative Commons

The Dolores Water Conservancy District manages the water in McPhee Reservoir, which serves the farmers, ranchers, and municipal water systems here in southwest Colorado. KSJD's Tom Yoder talks with Bruce Smart, board president of the Dolores Water Conservancy District about how the DWCD works to balance the water needs of our communities, and why they are asking voters for a mill levy rate fix.

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.


  • Montezuma County Commission restricts audience comment during meetings to 10-minute public comment period, and decides not to formally support the Dolores Water Conservancy District's ballot measure to fix it's mill levy rate.


  • Study shows that community costs of excessive drinking are especially high in Colorado and New Mexico.
  • Visitors will soon be paying more to camp in Colorado’s State Parks.
  • EPA says water sent to Navajo Nation farmers after Gold King Mine spill met federal and tribal standards for livestock and irrigation.


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