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Lower Dolores River Receives Water Right for Wildlife and Environmental Use

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A Colorado water court has ruled in favor of allowing an instream flow water right on the lower Dolores River in Mesa and Montrose counties. On Thursday, District Court Judge J. Steven Patrick granted a request for summary judgment sought by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which administers instream flows. An instream flow secures water to be left in streams or lakes for the benefit of wildlife and the natural environment. This water right provides up to 900 cubic feet per second during peak spring flows and lesser amounts through the winter to aid three native fish species. It applies to a 33-mile river stretch between Gateway and Uravan. The Southwestern and Colorado River water conservation districts had opposed the instream flow. This right will be junior to older water rights.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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