Wetlands & The Watershed

The San Juan Mountains are known to be one the “wettest” and most lush mountain ranges in the Rocky Mountains due mainly in part to the spectacular seasonal monsoon rains that recharge our watershed each summer. Most of the area within Mountain Village lies within the Silver Mountain landslide, one of the largest landslide features in North America.

This unique geologic feature produces an uneven topography that supports numerous groundwater discharge points in the form of springs and seeps. And Mountain Village is situated at the headwaters of the free-flowing San Miguel River and encompasses several tributary streams within its boundaries.

Tributary Streams

  • Prospect Creek
  • Skunk Creek
  • Elk Creek
  • Turkey Creek
  • Lost Creek
  • Snowshoe Creek
  • Gorrono Creek
  • Waddal Creek
  • Little Prospect Creek

These streams, and the large amount of wetland and riparian areas they support, are a vital part of our mountain habitat and what sets our environment apart from other resort communities in the high desert of Colorado. Therefore we have standards in place to ensure our development and recreational activities do not impact these ecosystems.


All of the wetlands in our community benefit not only us but the surrounding region of San Miguel County, and most are protected and regulated by the federal Clean Water Act. As wetlands provide a variety of functions that support aesthetic, ecological and physical needs within the community, their protection and a framework for their maintenance and enhancement are necessary to maintain the ecological integrity of the area.

The Wetlands Management Plan for Mountain Village was created in 1996 and applies to properties owned by Telluride Ski and Golf or owned by Telluride Ski and Golf at the time of the consent decree (which was terminated in 2013 with a few key surviving provisions including the Wetlands Management Plan). The Town of Mountain Village also administers regulations pertaining to wetlands pursuant to our Community Development Code and associated with any development, redevelopment or disturbance of wetland areas. If you have any reason to believe wetlands exist on your property, contact our Planning and Development Services Department to ensure your activities are not compromising these essential ecosystems. If development is occurring in proximity to a wetland, the town expects wetland areas to be protected consistent with our regulations. The Town of Mountain Village wetland regulations allows for flexibility in platting or replatting property to support avoidance of wetland areas as it relates to activity and development.

As an additional resource, the Mountain Studies Institute, with funding assistance provided by the Town of Mountain Village, has produced the following publication in hard copy and electronic format called Wetlands of the San Juan Mountain Region. If you wish to familiarize yourself with the value and importance of wetland areas, please read the publication.

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