Waterfall Creek flowing through the proposed Sheep Mountain Special Management Area (John Richter Photography)

One of the last free-flowing rivers in the West, the San Miguel is experiencing increasing threats from drought conditions becoming the norm, the mining industry and potential development. SMA is involved in several efforts to improve the quality and flows of the San Miguel and middle Dolores Rivers. We are the interim chair of the San Miguel Watershed Coalition and also on the board for the Dolores River Coalition.

We watch over water quality on the San Miguel. We look for river health threats such as tailing from mines, legislature that threatens he protection statuses of rivers and local pollution. We are fighting to get a Wild and Scenic designation for the San Miguel River, as these types of designations  “preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

In 2012, SMA negotiated a legal settlement to reduce six proposed water reservoirs on the San Miguel River. The Montrose County’s river system is already stressed, and with increasing levels of drought and dryer summers, creating new reservoirs could have had major consequences for the river system.

© Sheep Mountain Alliance