Water resources of Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah

Open-File Report 76-580




Dinosaur National Monument, partly in the Rocky Mountain System and partly in the Colorado Plateaus physiographic province, covers an area of 322 square miles (834 square kilometres) in northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah. The climate is generally cool and pleasant in May, early June, September, and October; winters are cold. Normal annual precipitation ranges from less than 8 to more than 16 inches (203 to 406 millimetres).

Geologic formations in the monument range in age from upper Precambrian to Holocene, but not all ages are represented. The monument is on the south limb of the east-trending regional fold representing the Uinta Mountains. Faults and subsidary folds on the south slope of the Uinta Mountains complicate the geology and hydrology of the area.

None of the surface streams in the monument are diverted for public supply, but the Green and Yampa Rivers are a recreational resource for boaters. The flow of the Green River is regulated by Flaming Gorge Reservoir; however, flood potentials are estimated for the Yampa River and three smaller streams. Facilities in the monument are not endangered by probable mean annual floods, but may sustain some damage to facilities by the 25- or 50-year floods.

Major aquifers in the monument are sandstone and limestone formations, but these formations are drained in the higher areas. Alluvium along the major stream channels yields small amounts of water to wells, but some of the water is not of suitable chemical quality for public supply. All public water supplies in 1971 were obtained from wells, and the use of water during 1970 was estimated to be 15 million gallons (46 acre-feet or 0.057 cubic hectometres). Most of the ground water obtained from sandstone and limestone is of suitable chemical quality for public supply.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Water resources of Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Salt Lake City, UT
Contributing office(s):
Utah Water Science Center
Report: 68 p.; 3 Plates: 48.25 in. x. 27.49 in. or smaller
Public Comments:
Prepared for the U.S. National Park Service
United States
Colorado, Utah
Other Geospatial:
Dinosaur National Monument