Rafting the San Miguel

Historic Hanging Flume Overlook

BLM Kayak along the San Miguel

Gunnison River through Dominguez-Escalante NCA



The Southwest Resource Advisory Council Subgroup and Gunnison Basin stakeholder groups concluded public meetings and submitted their suitability recommendations for eligible segments in the Gunnison, Dolores, and San Miguel river basins to the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office.  These recommendations, as well as other public comments, will be documented in the WSR Suitability Report and are being considered during formulation of the preferred alternative for the Uncompahgre Resource Management Plan.


Please visit the Dominguez-Escalante NCA WSR webpage for meeting dates and other information on eligible Gunnison Basin segments within the NCA

• Gunnison Basin Stakeholder Group Suitability Recommendations (2/16)

• Gunnison Basin Suitability Proponent Group Recommendations (2/22)


Deep Creek

Gunnison River Segment 2

Monitor Creek

Potter Creek

Roubideau Creek Segment 1

Roubideau Creek Segment 2

West Fork Terror Creek


February 24

February 3

January 24

January 21

January 10


The RAC Subgroup presented their suitability recommendations to the Southwest RAC at the Statewide RAC Meeting on February 25.  The RAC adopted the recommendations.

Analysis and RAC Suitability Recommendations for Dolores and San Miguel Segments 1.1MB



November 29 & 30, December 1

December 6 & 7

December 14 & 15

January 4 & 5 (modified)

January 20



WSR Introduction - Edd Franz (BLM Outdoor Rec Planner)

WSR Frequently Asked Questions - Edd Franz (BLM Outdoor Rec Planner)

WSR Designation Impacts and Benefits (2.4MB) - Roy Smith (BLM Water Rights Specialist)

Vegetation Values - Amanda Clements (BLM Ecologist)

San Miguel and Dolores River Fish Values - Dan Kowalski (Division of Wildlife Aquatic Biologist)


Congress authorized the National Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) Act in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.  The Act safeguards the special character of these rivers, while allowing for their appropriate use and development, and encouraging river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in river protection.

The Act requires the BLM to assess river segments under its management as part of its resource management planning process.  The study and designation of rivers consists of a multi-step process: eligibility → suitability → congressional action.  Only Congress or (under certain circumstances) the Secretary of the Interior may designate a river for inclusion in the WSR system.  The UFO currently does not manage any WSR-designated segments.

WSR Study Process and Status - Updated May 2011


The first step in the WSR study process is to determine which river segments meet eligibility criteria.  To be eligible, a river segment must be free-flowing and possess one or more outstandingly remarkable values (ORV).  ORVs may be scenic, recreational, geological, fish or wildlife related, historic, cultural, botanical, hydrological, or paleontological. ORVs must be of a quality or scarcity that makes them unique, rare, or exemplary within the region.  In addition, rivers must have sufficient water quality to support those values.  The UFO completed the eligibility phase and documented its findings in the June 2010 Final Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Report for the BLM Uncompahgre Planning Area (5.2 MB).


The UFO has completed the initial evaluation of suitability for eligible river segments, and will document the findings in the Uncompahgre Draft RMP and Environmental Impact Statement.  This phase results in a determination of which segments the BLM will recommend to Congress for inclusion in the National WSR System.

Suitability analysis is designed to be highly inclusive, and there were numerous opportunities for public stakeholder involvement throughout the process.  Separate meetings were held for the Gunnison and San Miguel-Dolores river basins, during which stakeholders provided additional information and helped to analyze various management prescriptions, as well as the positive or negative impacts of various designations for each segment.  The BLM and stakeholders worked together to identify how stream-related values could best be protected and enhanced, and considered potential impacts to other values such as mining activities and water supplies.  As part of the process, the BLM considered alternatives to WSR designation for managing water-related values.

The suitability phase addresses several management considerations, including:

  • Should the river’s free-flowing character, water quality, and ORVs be protected, or are one or more other uses important enough to warrant doing otherwise?
  • Is protection of identified ORVs within management control?  
  • Will historical or existing rights be adversely affected?
  • Will the river’s free-flowing character, water quality, and ORVs be protected through designation? Is it the best method for protecting the river corridor? The benefits and impacts of WSR designation must be evaluated, and alternative protection methods considered.
  • Is there a demonstrated commitment to protect the river by any non-federal entities who may be partially responsible for implementing protective management?


BLM Special Designations & Decisions

Potential ORV Management Tools


Final WSR Eligibility Report for the Uncompahgre Planning Area

Final WSR Suitability Report

WSR Questions & Answers

Grand Junction Field Office Wild and Scenic River Studies


Sunlight on Dry Creek


Wild:  Those rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments and generally inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive and waters unpolluted.

Scenic:  Those rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments, with shorelines or watersheds still largely primitive and shorelines largely undeveloped, but  accessible in places by roads.

Recreational: Those rivers or sections of rivers that are readily accessible by road or railroad, that may have some development along their shorelines, and that may have undergone some impoundment or diversion in the past.

Do the BLM’s WSR determinations create any federal water rights to protect the ORVs?

No. A federal water right is not created unless Congress designates a stream segment and identifies the need for a federal water right.

Where can I get more in-depth information?

The website WWW.RIVERS.GOV is an excellent resource for detailed information related to the National WSR System, including the WSR Act, the eligibility and suitability processes, and agency guidance. 


Teresa Pfifer, Acting Field Manager

Phone: (970) 240-5300  |  TDD: (970) 240-5366  |  FAX: (970) 240-5367

2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO  81401

Office Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Click on the address above for a map showing the location of

BLM Uncompahgre Field Office administrative headquarters


Rafting the Lower Gunnison