Cut Cable across Dolores River: Beware!


Beware of River Obstacles!

Last evening, Tuesday, June 2nd, local boaters reported that a cable was strung across the Upper Dolores River below the American Legion and State Wildlife site. As of this morning, the cable has been cut, but it is still attached to a tree on RIVER LEFT. Please pay attention as the cable is alongside the river and may be in the water. And as always, pay attention to the changing conditions and obstacles occurring on the river. Have fun, but be safe!


Dolores River Boating Advocates needs another Board Member: Join and maybe save a river

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Wanted: DRBA Board Member!
5d9a53e1-c120-445d-bc63-272e65b0f512.pngAre you interested in joining this lively crew?

Dolores River Boating Advocates (DRBA) is seeking a new Board of Directors’ Member who is interested in helping support and further our mission, which is to “optimize flows, restore the natural environment, and permanently protect the Dolores River for whitewater boating.”

 Currently DRBA has a seven-member Board of Directors, all of whom are very active in the forward movement and efficacy of DRBA. At this point in time, our board consists entirely of boating and river enthusiasts. And while we feel this is important to our mission, we are also open and interested in adding a Board Member who appreciates our work but who may not necessarily belong to the “boating community”. We feel we are at a point in our organizational growth where a Board Member with particular expertise in non-profit budgets is of utmost importance to our continued progress. In particular, DRBA seeks someone with the following qualifications:

· Experience with non-profit budgets
· Financial reporting and bookkeeping knowledge and experience
· Familiarity (and preferably competence) with Quickbooks 2012
· Critical thinking skills
· Open-mindedness
· Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
· Honesty and confidence, especially in a group setting
· Passionate about conservation of rivers and wild landscapes

We at DRBA have a lot of fun, and we also work very hard to attain our goals. All board members are active in our meetings, events, fundraising, and various planning and outreach activities. This commitment is appreciated and expected from our Board Members. We work closely with our paid staff person, Lee-Ann Hill, who serves as our Program Coordinator. Ms. Hill is a consummate professional, steeped in the skills and knowledge needed to lead DRBA as we venture into several stout and vital projects in 2015. Our most prized project for 2015 is the creation of a documentary film about the Dolores River. We believe that our work is making a difference in boating and river awareness related to the Dolores River. Below is a list of our accomplishments in 2014 and a list of goals for 2014 and beyond.

All interested parties are encouraged to contact myself, Sam Carter, DRBA Board of Directors President, via email (sam) or phone (907-739-3275) at your earliest convenience. We will begin a conversation to see if there exists a potential match between yourself and DRBA.

We are proud of and excited about the work we are doing at DRBA. Consider joining us as a Board Member!

Sam Carter

DRBA’s Current Projects, Recent Accomplishments and Future Goals

Projects and Accomplishments:

  • Obtained 501 (c) 3 status in 2013
  • Trained a cadre of volunteer river rangers in 2013 to take the place of a BLM river ranger below McPhee Reservoir after federal funding was slashed
  • Worked with the U.S. Forest Service to enhance a current boating put-in and build a new put-in between Dolores and Stoner, CO (where no proper access is available)
  • Worked with an upstream rancher on the Dolores River to build two safe pass-through river fences to keep his cattle contained and assure safety for whitewater boaters
  • Submitted comments regarding the important and emerging Colorado State Water Plan
  • Conducted river clean-up activities in the Town of Dolores and upriver with Trout Unlimited
  • Provided and secured financial support for the operation of the USGS Slick Rock River Gage operations on the Lower Dolores
  • Conducted Tamarisk removal project with Paradox Valley School and the Dolores River Restoration Partnership in the Dolores River Wilderness Study Area
  • Host annual ‘Permit Party’ for regional boating community to promote whitewater access and advocacy
  • Offer Leave No Trace and river stewardship activities to local schools and adults
  • Produce monthly radio show, “The River Trip”, about the Dolores River, including recent interview with river champion Katie Lee
  • Produce monthly DRBA e-newsletters highlighting stories and issues involving the Dolores River
  • Active participant in the Lower Dolores Working Group’s Steering Committee
  • Participate in discussions regarding federal legislation for a National Conservation Area (NCA) for the Lower Dolores River
  • Offer free raft rides to the public at the Dolores River Festival in June every year
  • Sponsor a water quality monitoring site on the Dolores River for River Watch, a national program that monitors the health of rivers
  • Secured grant from Patagonia to produce film about the Dolores River!

Future Goals (2015 and Beyond):

  • Continue our educational, stewardship, outreach, advocacy projects and programs
  • Planning an “Adopt a River Section” program to annually clean and maintain river camps on the Lower Dolores River from the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers to the confluence with the Colorado River
  • Production of a new river guide for the upper and lower Dolores River and San Miguel Rivers from their headwaters to the confluence of the Colorado River. Proceeds will fund future DRBA education, stewardship, advocacy, outreach and operational costs
  • Attract national attention to the Dolores River with documentary film sponsored by Patagonia, Osprey and other sponsors.

Love the Dolores River? Remember when it flowed freely? Join this Organization and help Keep the Dolores alive!


Join Us

Final Fence Rally
We need a few good hands to help us finish the fence. Join us on the Dolores River THIS SATURDAY, November 8th to finish the second boater-friendly cattle fence above the town of Dolores, and to wrap up the fences for the season. The fence will be down for the winter and for spring runoff, then it will be re-installed next year during cattle season. We need several volunteers to wrap this project up. If you haven’t had the opportunity to work on it, this is your chance! For more details and to sign up, please contact Lee-Ann at 970-560-5486 or email info.THANK YOU!!!


What the TDR?
If you are wondering about the Dolores River Valley Plan, and the ongoing efforts to address the Montezuma County Commissioner’s overturning of the Transferable Development Rights (TDRs), please visit the Protect Montezuma County Water website at:, or the Facebook page at: They are accepting donations for ongoing efforts to maintain the water quality and integrity of the Dolores River.

An Interview with a Living Legend
We are excited to announce our upcoming interview with seasoned and sassy river advocate Katie Lee. Katie Lee has been advocating for living rivers for over 50 years! At age 95, she has plenty to share about her experiences running the Colorado River and the Dolores River pre-dams, and her thoughts about dams. Her colorful career as an actress, songwriter, folksinger, river runner, author, and activist found her in equally colorful settings with other Southwest legends like Edward Abbey and David Brower. Tune in to KSJD Community Radio next Thursday, November 13th at 8:30 AM to hear about it directly from this remarkable Western character.


Dolores River Boating Advocates needs some volunteers next week

Good fences make good neighbors

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Seeking volunteers for river fence building

Join us NEXT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, July 25th and 26th, to build a boater-friendly river fence that will keep cows within their boundaries on both sides of the Dolores River while still allowing safe passage for boating. The project will take place at the Lightenberger Ranch, North of the town of Dolores. Two fences will be constructed across the river at each end of the property. We need several volunteers each day to achieve this important mission. If all goes well on Friday, Saturday may be a short day. Volunteers will be appreciated with pizza and beverages at the Dolores Brew Pub Friday evening! For more details and to sign up, please contact Lee-Ann at 970-560-5486 or email info.


Our mailing address is:Dolores River Boating Advocates

PO Box 1173

Dolores, CO 81323

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Are You Familiar with the Dolores River? Then you should be a member of the Dolores River Boating Advocates

Recreation, conservation, agriculture and river management

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River Management

Description: month, the long-awaited San Juan National Forest Plan and the Bureau of Land Management’s Tres Rios Resource Management Plan were released. These plans will help guide the management of the Dolores River for the next twenty years and beyond. Local stakeholder efforts will also play into the fate of the Dolores. And while the federal government is “shutdown,” local discussions about Dolores River management continue on subjects as varied as Land Use Codes, the Dolores River Valley Plan, and the Lower Dolores River Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (Implementation Plan). This month, we at DRBA are diving deeper into the topic of native fish in the Lower Dolores River, and how enhanced flows can improve their natural habitat while simultaneously providing recreational opportunities. Re-establishing a flow regime that mimics historical hydrography is a vital step towards restoring the natural balance of the river. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Biologist Jim White joined us on The River Trip on KSJD this month to discuss the status of native fish in the Dolores River. Jim’s research and experience illustrates that mindful management of the river is warranted to save native species and habitat. He also pointed out the need to do this in concert with community water allocation needs. These efforts are symbiotic. As a civilization, we need to support healthy rivers, clean water, and strong natural processes as all of that, in turn, supports us. Native fish flows and whitewater rafting flows are also symbiotic in terms of being mutually beneficial, as discussed in the following feature by DRBA Board Member Sam Carter. Management plans offer prime opportunities to actualize a balance for the cultural ecology of the Dolores River watershed. Read on, and join us in our efforts and enthusiasm in protecting the Dolores River. *Links for italicized plans are at the bottom of the page.

View from the Board

By DRBA Board Member Sam Carter

Tropical Storm Ivo brought just shy of two inches of rain to much of the Dolores River Basin near the end of August. The rain provided a dichotomous situation for the thirsty land of Southwest Colorado. Along with the welcome moisture came a flash flood on the Lower Dolores River in Slickrock Canyon. The Dolores River rose from 11cfs (cubic feet/second) to 400cfs from Ivo’s rains washing out immense amounts of accumulated silt. The silt had built up because, aside from a few minor flash floods, there has not been a sustained strong flush through the Dolores River canyon since the summer of 2011, and these important flushing flows have been irregular since McPhee Dam was developed. When Ivo’s rains came through, this silt became a muddy slurry that was uninhabitable to the fish in the river. Scores of them died, starved of the oxygen they need to survive. Observing all of this was a Cortez Journal reporter and a team of fish biologists from Colorado Parks and Wildlife who were conducting an annual native fish survey.

While the rain was welcome for the thirsty lands of Southwestern Colorado, the unfortunate die-off of the fish was a striking eye-opener concerning the state of the Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir. It is understood that the water in the lake provides a great deal of life for Montezuma and Dolores counties through municipal and agricultural uses. Yet, the removal of this water at the current levels is harming the ecosystem of the river itself, as seen through the decline of native fish species. The scientific investigations from the Dolores River Dialogue and the “A Way Forward” native fish studies clearly state that without change to flows, the health of the fish will only further deteriorate.

This recent flash flood event in the Slickrock Canyon highlights the urgency of the situation. The native fish in the Dolores River are not reproducing well, the population is aging, their habitat is being reduced, and they are under predation from non-native fish. Time is of the essence for the survival of these species.

Fortunately, a diverse group of stakeholders has been working to meet the various social and ecological needs of the water of the Dolores River. The native fish research from the A Way Forward project has been translated into a flow management plan that accommodates agricultural, municipal, and recreational uses. Supporting this effort benefits all of us.

Dolores River Boating Advocates (DRBA) supports efforts to improve flows that support native fish. We encourage managing base flow releases out of McPhee dam to provide for significant springtime flushes. Such flushes would enhance eco-system conditions for native fish populations, as well as allow for a whitewater boating season to occur. We believe this can be done while honoring the needs of our municipalities and of agricultural irrigation users. DRBA understands the challenges involved with this pursuit, and is actively working to assist in the process of developing flows that sustain fish health, whitewater opportunities, and municipal and agricultural use. DRBA encourages residents of Montezuma and Dolores counties to attend to the needs of the Dolores River’s health while also respecting the water needs of residents.

Say What?

San Juan National Forest/BLM Tres Rios Field Office Management Plans: Plans that address long-term management of 2.4 acres of public lands. More info can be found at

The River Trip: DRBA’s monthly radio show on KSJD that focuses on stories and issue of the Dolores River. This month’s show with Colorado Parks and Wildlife Biologist Jim White can be heard at:

Implementation Plan: Short for the “Lower Dolores River Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan” which is the culmination of the native fish research project, “A Way Forward” (see below) and a general assessment of community water needs. The Implementation Plan addresses the dynamics and critical components of improving flows in the lower Dolores River. Draft reports can be found at

A Way Forward: A report conducted by three independent scientists to evaluate the status of native fish in the Lower Dolores River. The Report can be found at:

Cultural Ecology: The study of human adaptations to social and physical environments. Human adaptation refers to both biological and cultural processes that enable a population to survive and reproduce within a given or changing environment.

Our mission: Dolores River Boating Advocates seeks to optimize flows, restore the natural environment, and permanently protect the Dolores River for whitewater boating.


Upcoming Events

River Watch Training, Cedaredge, CO
River Watch is a statewide volunteer water quality-monitoring program operated by the Colorado Watershed Assembly in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. River Watch trains voluntary stewards to monitor water quality and other indicators of watershed health, and utilizes this high quality data to educate citizens and inform decision makers about the condition of Colorado’s waters. Please contact us if you are interested in attending the training and helping us with water quality monitoring on the Dolores River.

Water 101, 8am-5pm, Holiday Inn Express, 2121 East Main Street, Cortez, CO

The Seminar features a line-up of experts, including keynote speaker Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, as well as representatives from federal, state, and local agencies who will provide an understanding of local water law and related issues including: local water sources, water administration, irrigation conservation, environmental concerns and answers to key questions pertaining to the acquisition and use of water, as well as water related real estate transactions.

Montezuma County BOCC Special Meeting on Land Use Codes and the Dolores River Plan, 1:30 PM, Montezuma County Courthouse, 109 Main Street, Cortez


Dolores River Facts

The Dolores River is 230 miles long from the headwaters in the San Juan Mountains near Rico, Colorado to the confluence with the Colorado River at Dewey Bridge near Moab, Utah.

The lower Dolores River is home to five species of native fish including the Flannelmouth sucker, the Bluehead sucker, the Roundtail chub, the Speckled dace and the Mottled sculpin.

McPhee Dam increased the amount of irrigated land from 37,500 acres to 73,600 acres while also increasing water delivery up to two months.

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Please send your Dolores River stories for our newsletter to: info, and check out our website ( and Facebook page where you can post your comments, photos, and stories.
Copyright © 2013 Dolores River Boating Advocates, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or provided us with your contact information at an event.
Our mailing address is:Dolores River Boating AdvocatesPO Box 1173

Dolores, CO 81323


Dolores River Boating Advocates is looking for a Program Coordinator


Help Wanted

DRBA is looking for the next Program Coordinator to manage the day-to-day operations of the group. Jay Loschert, the current Program Coordinator, is moving to Phoenix at the end of July. Interested individuals should visit the info by June 25. This is a part-time contract position with a start date of August 1, 2013.

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