Author Archive for Ken Curtis – Page 2

2017 McPhee Release Update

Friday June 9, 2017Surprise! McPhee inflows rose last night thru early this morning and peaked back near 2,800 CFS.  Therefore downstream releases are up to 1,600 CFS and will sustain for 24 hours at least, ranging between 1,800 down to 1,200 CFS for a few days.  The encore rafting will extend into Tuesday June 13. 

Dropping downstream releases will re-start when the upper Dolores start dropping again, probably when cooler temperatures actually settle in Sunday- Monday time frame.  We continue to make daily adjustments to downstream releases, but the releases will not drop below 800 CFS until Tuesday June 13 at the earliest.  To meet both diversions and rafting flows requires daily average inflows of approximately 1,700 CFS that will last into Tuesday at a minimum.

 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 to confirm the forecast and extend boating days as they become apparent.  When the inflows basically equal outflows we will start the ramp down (1,700 CFS inflow daily average).  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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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

Thursday June 8, 2017:  Dolores River inflows up slightly from yesterday, but down from the peak 3 days ago.  Inflow is dropping a few hundred CFS per day putting us on track to start ramping down below 800 CFS late Sunday to Tuesday.  Our downstream releases are at 1,300 today while we hold elevation and may drop slightly over next 24 hours.  Downstream releases will remain between 1,400 down to 1,000 CFS over the next 48 hours, and then may drop to 800 CFS Saturday or Sunday.  We continue to make daily adjustments to downstream releases, but the releases will not drop below 800 CFS through Sunday June 11.  To meet both diversions and rafting flows requires daily average inflows of approximately 1,700 CFS that could last past Sunday.

 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 Monday – Friday to confirm the forecast and extend boating days as they become apparent.  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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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 7, 2017:  Dolores River inflows continue down, possibly influenced by yesterday’s cloud cover & mountain showers.  Our downstream releases are chasing the dropping Dolores at Dolores Gage numbers and we expect to release at 1,200 CFS over night.  We continue to make daily adjustments to downstream releases, but the releases will not drop below 800 CFS through Sunday June 11. 

Inflow and corresponding downstream releases could bounce up slightly tomorrow, but will generally be headed down.  We foresee a 1,000 CFS day tomorrow or Friday, then one or two at 800 CFS before the final ramp down.  There remains a chance that releases continue at 800 CFS or more a day or two past Sunday, but that remains unclear today. 

So the final runoff recession appears to have started, but will remain sufficient to require excess releases downstream through Sunday June 11.  McPhee downstream releases will remain 1,000 – 1,400 CFS for the near term and above 800 CFS through Sunday.  To meet both diversions and rafting flows requires daily average inflows of approximately 1,700 CFS that could last past Sunday.

 Help Guide the Future

As you come off the water we hope you will 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 Monday – Friday to confirm the forecast and extend boating days as they become apparent.  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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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

 

Invasive Mussel Risk to Colorado Public Meeting

7:00 PM Thursday June 8 at the Dolores Community Center

Robert Walters of Colorado Parks and Wildlife will present the latest risk and activities around Colorado’s efforts to prevent the introduction and infestation of invasive in our local lakes.

2017 McPhee Release Update

Tuesday June 6, 2017:  Dolores River inflows appear to have turned down after yesterday’s apparent final peak.   So the final runoff recession may have started, but will remain high enough to require excess releases through Sunday June 11.  McPhee downstream releases will remain 1,200 – 1,600 CFS for the next several days and above 800 CFS through Sunday.  To meet both diversions and rafting flows requires daily average inflows of 1,700 CFS that could last past Sunday, but remain unknown.

 We will continue daily updates Monday – Friday to confirm the forecast and extend boating days as they become apparent.  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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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

Monday June 5, 2017:  Dolores River inflows will sustain releases for 6 days though at least Sunday June 11 at boatable flows of 800 CFS or greater.  Currently downstream releases are 1,250 CFS and will rise to 1,400 – 1,600 CFS over the next few days to maintain reservoir elevation 6924. 

While the reservoir tops out we are releasing excess flows above the 850 +/- CFS user diversions.  Dolores River inflows rose through the last weekend reaching instantaneous values of almost 3,000 CFS (daily average of 2500 +/- CFS).  Will they continue rising or have they peaked?  CBRFC still shows the runoff recession starting this week, possibly tomorrow.  The rate of recession is expected to start slowly.

Since McPhee is full, the real question is how long will inflows remain above the 1,700 CFS needed to meet minimum boatable flows of 800 CFS and diversions 850 +/- CFS.  Even if the downward recession limb starts tonight, higher inflows will sustain through the weekend to Sunday June 11.  Boatable downstream releases past Sunday are possible, but a little too far out to be certain at this point.

We will continue daily updates Monday – Friday to confirm the forecast and extend boating days as they become apparent.  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:

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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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

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

Saturday June 3, 2017:  The reservoir is almost full.  We will start ramping up releases this evening.  Downstream releases will reach the boatable level of 800 CFS by 9:00 AM Sunday morning and should work down river close to Bradfield by 12:00 PM noon on Sunday.

Ramping up will be rapid overnight, +/- 100 CFS increase every 3 hours.  During this extended boating release, flows may fluctuate between 800 CFS and 1,200 CFS to maintain a consistent reservoir elevation.   

Boatable flows will last through Wednesday evening.  Monday’s update should cover the full work week.

 CBRFC still shows the runoff recession starting early next week, though warm temperatures appear to bring down one last peak.  The extra releases could run for a week to 10 days depending on actual volume of inflow during these extra releases and how fast the recession limb drops.

Starting Monday June 5, we will post updates more often, daily Monday – Friday.  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:

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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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 May 31, 2017:  McPhee is currently releasing 78 CFS, but the next little bump is in sight.  We will start ramping up on Monday June 5 and have minimum boatable flows, 800 CFS, by Tuesday June 6.  They should reach Bradfield by noon – 12:00 PM – Tuesday.

Ramping up will be rapid on Monday, +/- 100 CFS increase every 3 hours. During this extended boating release, flows may fluctuate between 800 CFS and 1,200 CFS to maintain a consistent reservoir elevation.   

We see at least 3 days at 800+ CFS, including Tuesday.  On Monday’s update we hope to confirm whether inflows will allow us to achieve the full 5 day target period. 

We are confident about the next 4 – 5 days filling the reservoir and requiring the release of additional excess water, but we are not sure about the duration of this early June water.    The snow pack continues to shrink and CBRFC forecast shows a minor inflow increase over the weekend and then the final descending recession limb of the runoff.  The extra releases could run for a week to 10 days depending on actual volume of inflow during the extra releases and how fast the recession limb drops.

Starting Monday June 5, we will post updates more often, daily Monday – Friday.  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:

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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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

Thursday May 25, 2017:  McPhee releases are running 400+/- CFS.  At midnight, start of Friday, releases will continue ramping down to 200 CFS by midnight start of Saturday.  Final ramp down starts midnight Sunday and reaches 75 CFS midday Sunday 5/28.

 Lake elevation is at 6917.2 and finally rising.  McPhee should gain 3’+ over the next 6- 7 days.  Between elevation 6920 to 6922, based on weather forecasts, remaining snowpack, current inflow and the expected inflow, another decision milestone should arrive.  Based on the conditions we see next week, somewhere between Thursday June 1 and Monday June 5 we should be able to provide guidance to the end of the runoff season.  We expect to have a few days notice of any changes as McPhee approaches full.  A combination of remaining snowpack and inflow rates drive how we reach and manage topping off McPhee.

 Recent Drivers for the 2017 Downstream Releases:  Our forecasts have steadily dropped with the drier than normal spring weather.  So, as we enter the second half of May, McPhee lacks 8 feet (34,000 AF) and so it is time to fill.  The chance still exists (coin toss), based on some high pressure systems and runoff timing, that early hot June weather could bring down the remaining snow pack very quickly.  Those conditions could force running a mini “fill & spill” for 4 – 6 days.  We’re watching for those conditions, but should not approach a full reservoir for several weeks that could trigger some additional excess water.  Website updates will be more sporadic, but check back around June 2 if warm weather returns.

As usual early release plans were changed to meet real time weather and runoff conditions.  Given the changing actual conditions we were able to:

  • Advertise ahead & release 4,000 CFS for 72 hours of channel maintenance
  • Provide notice for 7 days of optimal flow releases (1,900 – 2,100 CFS)
  • Sustain boatable releases for 52 days
  • Get CPW downstream to conduct linear native fish monitoring for the first time in 6 years, finishing today

Now the collaborative partners will start evaluating all the data collected down river for future “year in review” public meetings.  The multi-year collaborative efforts on the lower Dolores have led to these release rates and associated monitoring before, during and after the high flow events.  We expect this analysis to confirm beneficial effects for the boating experience and ecological improvements and guide future refinements.   More detail on the 2017 conditions and release schedules is provided below.

2017 Release Planning:  This 2017 release and boating season on the lower Dolores is unique for several reasons:  high reservoir levels coming into spring of 2017, large snow-packs in mountains, and an early start to the runoff from the mountains. The conditions in 2017 have given us a rare opportunity to provide a range of flows in the river and to achieve a more natural peak flow release of 4,000 CFS for several days. With input and monitoring work from diverse stakeholders on the Dolores River Native Fish Monitoring & Recommendation Team, providing different flow levels on the river is helping to test and achieve multiple ecological/habitat objectives set forth in a collaborative plan that was originally approved by local stakeholders in 2014.  Providing a range of flows to test and meet ecological objectives also provides excellent boating conditions, including the ability for recreational users to experience the Dolores River at different flow levels in the same year. With the remaining water, we will fill the reservoir (ensuring security for water users) and – as much as possible – provide releases that meet boatable flows.  We understand the frustration in this uncertainty, and we are consistently working to manage flows and reservoir levels to meet all stakeholders’ needs and will continue to provide information here that allows boaters to best prepare for Dolores River boating trips.

Current Notices:

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 .  Also look for signs, spotters and other guidance from the contractor, SEMA Construction, when the intermittent closures are active.

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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

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

Monday May 22, 2017:  McPhee releases are ramping down to 600 CFS by midnight Tuesday in 6+ hours and then hold for 24 hours through Tuesday to midnight start of Wednesday when they start the next step down to 400 CFS over 24 hours.  Then 24 hours at 400 CFS, then down to 200 CFS and hold for 24 hours then down to 75 CFS around Sunday May 28 (Corrected from last post).

Lake elevation has not started up yet, but should by tomorrow.  It should take at least one week until we see how early June is setting up with temperatures and the rising lake elevation.  Combined with the June 1st forecast (out around June 2 or 5) this should drive any final decisions for 2017 downstream releases.

 Recent Drivers for the 2017 Downstream Releases:  Our forecasts have steadily dropped with the drier than normal spring weather.  So, as we enter the second half of May, McPhee lacks 8 feet (34,000 AF) and so it is time to fill.  The chance still exists (coin toss), based on some high pressure systems and runoff timing, that early hot June weather could bring down the remaining snow pack very quickly.  Those conditions could force running a mini “fill & spill” for 4 – 6 days.  We’re watching for those conditions, but should not approach a full reservoir for several weeks that could trigger some additional excess water.  Website updates will be more sporadic, but check back around June 2 if warm weather returns.

As usual early release plans were changed to meet real time weather and runoff conditions.  Given the changing actual conditions we were able to:

  • Advertise ahead & release 4,000 CFS for 72 hours of channel maintenance
  • Provide notice for 7 days of optimal flow releases (1,900 – 2,100 CFS)
  • Sustain boatable releases for 52 days
  • Get CPW downstream to conduct linear native fish monitoring for the first time in 6 years, finishing today

Now the collaborative partners will start evaluating all the data collected down river for future “year in review” public meetings.  The multi-year collaborative efforts on the lower Dolores have led to these release rates and associated monitoring before, during and after the high flow events.  We expect this analysis to confirm beneficial effects for the boating experience and ecological improvements and guide future refinements.   More detail on the 2017 conditions and release schedules is provided below.

2017 Release Planning:  This 2017 release and boating season on the lower Dolores is unique for several reasons:  high reservoir levels coming into spring of 2017, large snow-packs in mountains, and an early start to the runoff from the mountains. The conditions in 2017 have given us a rare opportunity to provide a range of flows in the river and to achieve a more natural peak flow release of 4,000 CFS for several days. With input and monitoring work from diverse stakeholders on the Dolores River Native Fish Monitoring & Recommendation Team, providing different flow levels on the river is helping to test and achieve multiple ecological/habitat objectives set forth in a collaborative plan that was originally approved by local stakeholders in 2014.  Providing a range of flows to test and meet ecological objectives also provides excellent boating conditions, including the ability for recreational users to experience the Dolores River at different flow levels in the same year. With the remaining water, we will fill the reservoir (ensuring security for water users) and – as much as possible – provide releases that meet boatable flows.  We understand the frustration in this uncertainty, and we are consistently working to manage flows and reservoir levels to meet all stakeholders’ needs and will continue to provide information here that allows boaters to best prepare for Dolores River boating trips.

Continue to watch the releases below McPhee at http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=DOLBMCCO&MTYPE=DISCHRG and the gages linked below.

 Current Notices:

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:  The temporary equipment bridge (the low clearance one) was removed Thursday afternoon March 30. No intermittent closures are expected for a week or two. When a more definitive start date is available CDOT will provide notice.  Please see their website 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  and look for signs, spotters and other guidance from the contractor, SEMA Construction, when the intermittent closures are active.

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/.

DOVE CREEK PUMPHOUSE ROAD:  Please be careful of heavy traffic in and out of the Dove Creek Pumps launch site.  The road narrows and trucks with trailers cannot pass each other at certain points.  Consideration of others and patience are appreciated here.

 

Rico Gage:    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09165000

 

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