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Take action! Ensure Impacts to Dolores River Are Fully Analyzed

Posted: 07/10/2024
By: Hattie Johnson

Flows in the Dolores River below McPhee Dam depend on how its dam and irrigation infrastructure are operated. Since the construction of the dam, boatable flows are only available in years when the reservoir is overflowing. Native fish and a healthy and diverse riparian corridor are dependent on these wildly variable dam releases. Two agreements that direct the operations and water management for McPhee Dam are up for renewal in 2025. Flows have been less consistent over the past 24 years and have resulted in significant impacts to boaters, fish, and riparian habitat. We believe that an environmental analysis of those agreements must be updated before the current agreements are renewed, for the health of the river and to be legally compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act. Use this easy-action form to help us in asking the Bureau of Reclamation to fully analyze the impacts of future Dolores Project operations on environmental, cultural and recreational values. 

The Operating Agreement and Carriage Contract were originally signed by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Dolores Water Conservation District in 2000 based on environmental analyses that took place at that time. In the 24 years since, the Dolores River has seen drastic changes to its ecosystem and recreational use, all exacerbated by climate change. 

Given these drastic environmental changes, the actual amount of available water has been much less than what was allocated. We’ve asked the Bureau of Reclamation to update this important analysis and review of environmental impacts before renewing these agreements, which will dictate how water out of the reservoir is managed for the next 25 years. 

We need your help in urging Reclamation to begin this important assessment.

American Whitewater

Hattie Johnson

Phone: 970-456-8533
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