Watershed Concerns

The DRRP represents a set of stakeholders working to address a major concern in the watershed: the invasion of tamarisk and other aggressive, invasive plants along the Dolores River. The extensive growth of these invasive plants has significantly displaced native vegetation, impaired wildlife habitat and forage, and impaired recreational opportunities.

Like many other rivers in the arid West, the Dolores River has seen increasing concerns from user groups about the management of its flows. Farmers relying on flows to grow alfalfa and barley are sitting down with agency staff worried about declines in several native fish species populations, and rafters concerned with recreational opportunities to identify a shared way forward for managing the flows of the Dolores River.



The Dolores River is remote, making access a key management challenge. In terms of the ecology, managers and private landowners face a variety of hurdles: some soils are characterized by high-salinity levels and disturbance from historic grazing; many sites are inundated with several invasive species (e.g. Russian knapweed) that require several years of intensive treatment; and the altered flow regime created by McPhee Dam provides a set of constraints (e.g. where and how riparian plant species may be planted).