Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Cheney Reservoir - Mesa County
Ownership: None Listed
Description: An irrigation water storage reservoir, this oasis in the desert between Grand Junction and Delta at the western base of the Grand Mesa attracts a wide array of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other water-loving birds, particularly during spring and fall migration. The surrounding desert of saltbush-greasewood and low hills hide the reservoir from view until you get there. The wash below the dam has some mature cottonwoods, and the lakeshore has scattered patches of willow and, unfortunately, tamarisk. Birds you could see here are Gambel's Quail, Yellow Warbler, Bullock's Oriole, Greater Sandhill Crane, most any duck known to migrate through western Colorado valleys, herons, egrets, grebes, ibises, sandpipers, yellowlegs, curlews, snipe, etc.

The road from US 50 can become nearly impassable when wet, even with 4-wheel drive. The shale-derived soils in the area can be pretty greasy, but since this area, often referred to locally as "the stinking desert" really is a desert, greasy is a somewhat rare condition. A convenience store with gasoline at Whitewater can provide you with the basics; beyond that, Grand Junction and Delta are your best bets for lodging and dining. The Cheney Reservoir turnoff from US 50 is perhaps a mile or two closer to Grand Junction than Delta.

Habitat: Reservoir, Sagebrush, Lowland Riparian, Tamarisk
Directions: From the junction of US 50 and CO 141 just south of Whitewater (10 miles SE of Grand Junction on US 50), proceed 9.75 miles southeast on US 50. Look for an unmarked BLM dirt road/gate in the fence on the left (east) side of highway at milepost 51. Turn left (east, toward the Grand Mesa) and go 1.5 miles to Cheney Reservoir. The primary dam and lands downstream private; most of the rest of the shoreline is on BLM land. The main access road passes through private land and this notice does not give the public permission to enter; please respect private property.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Cheney Reservoir Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Cheney Reservoir

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Eastern Phoebe2023-002 19 Oct 2022