Author Archive for Eric Sprague

DWCD 2018 Outlook for McPhee and Dolores Project Irrigators

Current forecast odds are barely enough for a full irrigation supply in 2018, with the CBRFC 50% forecast having dropped 20 KAF in the last month.  Carry over storage is likely to be low and threatens the 2019 supply.  More updates in early March.

CBRFC Exceedance Worst Case 90% 70% 50% – MP 30% 10%
Forecast Inflow  KAF

(April – July)

46 61 86 110 155 200
% Supply 77% 82% 95% 100% 100% 100%
FSA Contract Allocation Inches/Acre 17” 18” 21” 22” 22” 22”

 

MP – Most Probable, 50/50 chance, coin toss, median forecast based on historical weather & resulting hydrology.

FSA – Full Service Area, Yellow Jacket to Dove Creek (No adjustments are made to irrigation pools that could increase based on M&I lease, Class B & Water Bank)

The 30 year average April through July runoff for McPhee is 295,000 acre feet.  We have the potential to collect precipitation towards the spring runoff through May.

The grim February forecast followed January’s continuing lack of snow.  At the beginning of this month, there was only about 40% of the normal snow pack with a high pressure ridge is persisting over the western US, diverting the majority of precipitation to the north. Based on the current conditions the forecast only gives a 3% chance of the Dolores basin reaching average runoff this year. If the high pressure ridge breaks down in March we should see the storm track return to our area.  If high pressure remains we’ll continue missing more normal precipitation.

McPhee currently has 132,000 Acre Feet of active storage that can provide nearly half of the 2018 water diversion needs for our community.  This higher than normal carry over provides some insurance given the current conditions.  With inflows remaining on the low end, carryover into 2019 will be low and increase the potential for future shortages.

Dolores Project Municipal supplies are not subject to shortage based on contract and/or senior water rights in some cases.  This applies to MWC, Cortez, Towaoc and Dove Creek.

Contact Ken or Eric at 882-2164 #5 & #6 respectively or visit doloreswater.com.

Final Drought Contingency Plan Update

Final version of Dolores Project Drought Contingency Plan. See link below.

CLEAN Final Draft DPDCP with Reclamation Comments Addressed

2018 McPhee Release Update

Wednesday January 10, 2018McPhee currently releasing 40 CFS for the downstream fishery. Releases will continue at this rate until March 1st, when they will increase to 50 CFS, then to 64 CFS on March 16th. Current runoff forecasts for the Dolores are not optimistic, with a 50% probability that McPhee could receive only 130,000 AF this season, according to the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. The SNOTEL sites are averaging only 31% of the median snow pack as of January 10th.

Based on current runoff forecasts, it does not look like a controlled release from McPhee is likely to occur this year.

We will update this page again in mid-February with any new developments.

CBRFC Website: http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2018&id=MPHC2

 

Current Notices:

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

Dolores River Boating Advocates:  www.doloresriverboating.org

American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

Drought Contingency Plan Update in Response to Reclamation Review

Latest version addressing Reclamation comments that will be discussed at the January 11th Board Meeting. See links below.

 

Letter to Boards January Board Meetings

 

Final Draft DPDCP with Reclamation Comments Addressed

2017 McPhee Release Update

Lower Dolores River

2017 Post Release

Presentation and Discussion

Wednesday, August 16th

Dolores Community Center

6 – 8 PM

Monday July 17, 2017:  As of today, releases below McPhee are at 78 CFS. Releases will remain around 78 CFS until mid September when they will drop to 40 CFS and hold there through the winter. Flows will rise again to 50 CFS in March.

 

Help Guide the Future

The survey remains open for awhile to provide feedback on your boating experience.  Please take some time to complete the American Whitewater survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AW_2017Dolores

The survey responses will inform and help shape future managed release planning efforts.

Current Notices:

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

Dolores River Boating Advocates:  www.doloresriverboating.org

American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

2017 McPhee Release Update

SHORT TERM HIGH FLOWS STILL IN EFFECT, FLOWS DROPPING, ROUGH FOOTING IN THE STREAM BED.

Thursday July 13, 2017:  Releases below McPhee are currently still at 450 CFS and will decrease to 200 CFS this afternoon.  These special releases from CPW are intended to hinder non-native Small Mouth Bass (SMB) spawning down river. Releases will remain at 450 CFS through 3:00 PM today, then flows flows will ramp back down to 78 CFS by early tomorrow morning (4:00 AM).

 

Help Guide the Future

The survey remains open for awhile to provide feedback on your boating experience.  Please take some time to complete the American Whitewater survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AW_2017Dolores

The survey responses will inform and help shape future managed release planning efforts.

Current Notices:

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

Dolores River Boating Advocates:  www.doloresriverboating.org

American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

2017 McPhee Release Update

SHORT TERM HIGH FLOWS IN EFFECT, FLOWS RISING, ROUGH FOOTING IN THE STREAM BED.

Monday July 10, 2017:  Releases below McPhee are currently at 200 CFS and will increase to 450 CFS around midnight tonight.  These special releases from CPW are intended to hinder non-native Small Mouth Bass (SMB) spawning down river. Releases will remain at 450 CFS through 3:00 PM Thursday July 13.  Then the flows will ramp back down to 78 CFS by early Friday morning (4:00 AM).

 

Help Guide the Future

The survey remains open for awhile to provide feedback on your boating experience.  Please take some time to complete the American Whitewater survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AW_2017Dolores

The survey responses will inform and help shape future managed release planning efforts.

Current Notices:

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

Dolores River Boating Advocates:  www.doloresriverboating.org

American Whitewater: http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

HOUSE CREEK BOAT RAMP EXTENDS HOURS OF OPERATION FOR HOLIDAY WEEKEND

DOLORES, Colorado – June 27, 2017

To help accommodate increased motorized boating at McPhee Reservoir, the invasive species inspection station for the House Creek Boat Ramp will extend its hours of operation over the coming holiday weekend. The House Creek inspection station will be open from 6a.m. to 8p.m. Friday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 4. McPhee is one of a few reservoirs in southwestern Colorado with operating mussel inspection stations that allow for motorized boating in its waters. In addition to House Creek, the inspection station at the McPhee Boat Ramp will remain open seven days a week from 6a.m. to 8 p.m.; however, the McPhee Boat Ramp is often more crowded than the House Creek Boat Ramp. All other access points to McPhee Reservoir have been gated to prevent uninspected boats from entering the reservoir.

All motorized boats should be prepped prior to launching to reduce time at the ramp.  Previously inspected boats carrying documentation and tags moving through the inspection station process in about 10 minutes.  The process for boats that have not been cleaned, drained and dried, and thus require decontamination takes more time.

 

For more information, contact Tom Rice at 970 882 6843.

2017 McPhee Release Update

Thursday June 22, 2017:  Downstream releases are at 600 CFS and will hold there until 7:00 AM tomorrow morning before beginning to drop at a rate of 25 CFS every 3 hours again. This pattern of dropping 200 CFS for a day, then holding for a day will continue until flows reach 78 CFS. CPW will then budget the fish pool and final summer release rates will be posted later this month.

Now that the ramp-down has begun and inflows are falling steadily, updates will no longer be posted daily.

As usual, the USGS Dolores River Gage at Dolores remains the best representation of inflows into McPhee (see the links below).

Those interested in utilizing the river during the following days should check the Dolores River Below McPhee Gage for flows directly beneath the dam (link below)

Help Guide the Future

As you finish your raft trip, please take some time to complete the American Whitewater survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AW_2017Dolores

The survey responses will inform and help shape future managed release planning efforts.

We will continue daily updates.  When the inflows basically equal outflows we will start the ramp down.  Ramp down below 800 CFS will extend over 6 days (Daily Avg. releases of 700 CFS, 600 CFS, 500 CFS, 400 CFS, 300 CFS, 200 CFS) allowing those on the water some time to land.

 

Current Notices:

 

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

SLICKROCK:  Continue to monitor DRBA for latest on Slickrock. Slickrock put-in/take-out access will happen on private property downstream of Hwy 141 bridge (bridge crosses Dolores River) about 200 yards past bridge on river left.  Look for small flagging in bushes on left.  DO NOT use the old boat ramp on river right upstream of bridge.  That is private property and is not accessible this season.  Additional info about Slickrock access and other information here from Dolores River Boating Advocateswww.doloresriverboating.org

BEDROCK BRIDGE:  CDOT updates at https://www.codot.gov/news/2017-news/march/caution-to-boaters-near-co-90-bedrock-bridge-low-bridge-in-place-through-april-8-intermittent-river-closures-begin-mid-april .

 

American Whitewater also provides good information about this year’s rafting opportunities and details for boaters at http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

 

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100

 

2017 McPhee Release Update

Wednesday June 21, 2017:  Dolores River inflows dropped again last night, triggering the ramp-down below boatable flows to begin this morning.  Downstream releases are at 800 CFS and dropping slowly at 25 CFS every 3 hours. Releases will continue to fall at this rate until they reach 600 CFS, then will hold at 600 for 24 hours before beginning to drop at the same rate of 25 CFS every 3 hours on Friday morning. This pattern of dropping for a day, then holding for a day will continue until flows reach 78 CFS. CPW will then budget the fish pool and final summer release rates will be posted later this month.

This late into the season, there is very little data available that can be used to forecast flows within 24 hours. Because it is difficult to discern what inflows will be doing in the short term, operational decisions become largely reactive. Having said that, the warm weather coinciding with reduced flows is a good indication that the seasonal recession has finally taken over.

Updates will continue to be posted at least twice weekly through the ramp-down.

As usual, the USGS Dolores River Gage at Dolores remains the best representation of inflows into McPhee (see the links below).

Those interested in utilizing the river during the following days should check the Dolores River Below McPhee Gage for flows directly beneath the dam (link below).

Help Guide the Future

As you finish your raft trip, please take some time to complete the American Whitewater survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AW_2017Dolores

The survey responses will inform and help shape future managed release planning efforts.

We will continue daily updates.  When the inflows basically equal outflows we will start the ramp down.  Ramp down below 800 CFS will extend over 6 days (Daily Avg. releases of 700 CFS, 600 CFS, 500 CFS, 400 CFS, 300 CFS, 200 CFS) allowing those on the water some time to land.

 

Current Notices:

 

Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

SLICKROCK:  Continue to monitor DRBA for latest on Slickrock. Slickrock put-in/take-out access will happen on private property downstream of Hwy 141 bridge (bridge crosses Dolores River) about 200 yards past bridge on river left.  Look for small flagging in bushes on left.  DO NOT use the old boat ramp on river right upstream of bridge.  That is private property and is not accessible this season.  Additional info about Slickrock access and other information here from Dolores River Boating Advocateswww.doloresriverboating.org

BEDROCK BRIDGE:  CDOT updates at https://www.codot.gov/news/2017-news/march/caution-to-boaters-near-co-90-bedrock-bridge-low-bridge-in-place-through-april-8-intermittent-river-closures-begin-mid-april .

 

American Whitewater also provides good information about this year’s rafting opportunities and details for boaters at http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/385/.

 

Dolores Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV

Dolores below McPhee:  http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

Slickrock Gage:  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09168730

Bedrock Gage:          http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09171100