In-Stream Flows, Wild and Scenic Designation for Dolores and San Miguel?

The Colorado Water Conservation Board’s (CWCB) is looking at a proposed in-stream flow (ISF) appropriation for the San Miguel River. The designation would protect flows—and riparian areas—for three threatened fish species in the Dolores and lower San Miguel rivers. There is opposition in the area, however, with concerns that the levels the CWCB is asking for are too high and not supported by historical flow data. There is concern, too, about whether water will be available in the future for agriculture or domestic or municipal development. Similar opposition is coming from Montrose County commissioners who oppose federal Wild and Scenic River designations being considered for portions of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers. They contend that the rivers are already adequately protected, and the designation would result in fragmented, multi-layered governmental regulation and could hamper energy development and harm private property owners.