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Priorities > Near-term

  • Prioritizing streams for actions can assist in making near-term choices for improving the preservation and protection of trout populations in the study area.

  • Below is an initial priorities list that ranks and briefly describes 13 streams.

  • The list was developed by representatives of San Juan National Forest (SJNF) and Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW).

  • It is has been discussed with the Upper Dolores Stream Protection Working Group, which includes members of Dolores River Anglers (DRA) and Colorado Trout Unlimited (CTU).

  • Permitting and approval processes must be completed before actions can proceed.

​Priority list

A. High priority

  1. Wildcat

  2. Snow Spur (along with Lizard Head)

B. Mid priority

  1. Fish

  2. Bear

  3. Rio Lado

C. Low priority

  1. Roaring Forks

  2. Priest

  3. Coal (near the Meadows)

D. For additional consideration

  1. Tenderfoot

  2. East Fork

  3. West Fork

  4. Cold

  5. Meadow​​​


  • Wildcat has a particular Colorado River cutthroat trout species that is earmarked for protection. Actions are appropriate for the near term in order to preserve populations prior to translocating some members to one or more other streams that likely have longer-term resilience.

  • Snow Spur is near Lizard Head pass, has large parking areas nearby, and therefore has high recreational use. It has been known to support cutthroat, brook, and brown trout. The higher culvert may function at the downstream end as a barrier to fish passage. A waterfall below the lower culvert may be a natural barrier. The stream has very little shading from trees or shrubs, but some bank-side cover from grasses. The result may be warm-weather heating from solar exposure. Wood could be brought over from Lizard Head to support installation of woody structures for trout refuge and baseflow recharge.

  • Fish has a state wildlife area beginning three miles upstream, which may provide a partnership opportunity with SJNF. It could be suitable for translocation of cutthroat from Wildcat. A concrete dam at 3 mi may warrant later consideration as a fish barrier.

  • At Bear, breached beaver dams upstream of the Gold Run Trail could be rebuilt.

  • Rio Lado has relatively low flows and may not have long-term persistence. It does have a roughly 8-ft stone dam relatively near its outfall that provides a barrier to fish passage. Habitat preservation work could be combined with stream crossing rehabilitation projects at two elevations.

​Notes, cont.

  • Roaring Forks may be a suitable candidate for creating additional trout refuge using woody debris. It supports recreational, non-native trout fishing.

  • Priest has a concrete barrier to fish passage on private property near its outfall. The concrete culvert just upstream may present an opportunity for barrier installation on public property (road easement).

  • Coal, near the Meadows, has beaver complexes in the upstream Wilderness Area, which may mean additional beaver-support activity is unnecessary. A steel culvert at roughly 10,000 ft may provide for a useful barrier installation. Downstream of the culvert, the installation of woody debris could assist in testing the success in creating refuge and cover for trout.

  • Tenderfoot may be too small and short-lived for taking action. It does have an 8-10-ft natural barrier a small distance upstream from its outfall.
  • East Fork may have too much flow in lower reaches for successful intervention actions. Reaches upstream may become attractive, such as above Twin Creeks, however, even if less convenient to access.

  • West Fork also may have too much flow for intervention actions. Above Burro Bridge, however, may be suitable. Downstream has relatively recent dam installations from beaver activity.

  • Cold needs further assessment for possible actions.

  • Meadow may be a good candidate for intervention actions because it has easy road access. it may have a longer term problem from sun exposure, as indicated also at Snow Spur.

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