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

 

2017 McPhee Release Update

Thursday May 18, 2017:  McPhee releases will have one last bounce to 1,000 CFS for this final weekend.  Releases will ramp up starting Friday morning and then start ramping down starting noon Sunday May 21 to 800 CFS by midnight.  From there releases drop to 600 CFS over 24 hours, then hold for 24 hours, then down to 400 CFS over 24 hours, then hold 24 hours and so on to 75 CFS by Monday May 29.

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 the analysis to confirm beneficial effects for both the boating experience and ecological improvements while guiding 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

 

Drought Contingency Plan

A draft Drought Contingency Plan was prepared for the Dolores Project. The DWCD received a Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART grant to fund the preparation of the draft Drought Contingency Plan. The DWCD along with Montezuma Irrigation Company and Ute Mountain Ute Farm and Ranch participated in the Planning Task Force, which also included representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation and Division of Water Resources. The Planning Task Force met regularly to discuss and develop the content to be included in the draft plan. The draft plan is a comprehensive evaluation of mitigation and response actions to reduce water shortages and provide greater drought resiliency for Dolores Project water users.

Please provide your comments by email to: comments@durangowater.com. Comments are due no later than close of business on June 23, 2017. A public meeting will be held on June 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the DWCD Cortez Office, 60 South Cactus, Cortez CO. The purpose of the meeting is to collect comments and facilitate dialogue surrounding the draft plan. All are welcome to attend! Thank you for your time in reviewing the document.

Letter Requesting Public Comment

Draft Dolores Project Drought Contingency Plan

Appendix A to Draft Dolores Project Drought Contingency Plan

 

2017 McPhee Release Update

Monday May 15, 2017:  McPhee releases are back down to 800 CFS, minimum boatable flows today, after the weekend.  CPW is conducting fish surveys all week at 800 CFS. 

Boatable releases (800 CFS minimum) will last through the afternoon of Sunday May 21.  We will provide a final update on next weekend’s, May 20 & 21, release rates on Thursday May 18 and go to 1,000 CFS if possible.   We are starting to receive mid-month forecast data and will make announcements on Thursday about McPhee releases beyond Sunday May 21. 

Based on the lower May 1st inflow forecast we are not certain about boating releases making it to Memorial Day. At this point the CBRFC 50% probability forecast would provide flows to the end of May.  The 50% forecast is a coin toss, not a guarantee.  If only the 70% probability forecast flows come in we would need to ramp down after May 21.  The difference between the 50% and 70% forecast is 30 KAF or about 15 rafting days at 1,000 CFS.  So we don’t have guaranteed inflow as we fill up the last 53,000 AF, but we do see sufficient inflows to fill McPhee and continue boating releases to May 21.  Boating releases past May 21 need more certainty on the extra 30,000 AF of inflow.  Stay tuned.

 We are monitoring the current storm, which combined with the CBRFC mid-month forecast due Tuesday May 16, may provide guidance on extending the season through the end of May.  There is measurable snow left, but inflow models are uncertain and have consistently dropped this season.  If we see sufficient evidence next week (new snow, steady or growing forecast, steady inflow and rising reservoir elevations) we will be able to announce an extended boating season to the end of May.  If we do not see the evidence to assure us that we will fill, we will start ramping flows down the afternoon of Sunday May 21.  If that happens we will fill up McPhee and then may have some unexpected extra inflow that is released down river later.

 CDOT Update:  Please note that the beam placement at Bedrock may be starting tomorrow May 16.  Check the CDOT updates on the link 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.  Memorial Day and June boatable flows are at risk and may or may not happen. We will know more about Memorial Day and June as we approach those dates. 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.

 Boatable Releases are 800 CFS – 1,900 CFS

Optimal Releases are 1,900 – 2,100 CFS

High Releases are 2,100 CFS and greater

 New Notice:  The CDOT bridge work at Bedrock construction scheduled for May 16 and may need to schedule short closures then.  Please monitor updates at the CDOT website:

https://www.codot.gov/projects/sh-90-bridge-replacement-k-01-c/river-users

 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:

BLM:  Conditions on the river, especially below Gypsum Valley, have been reported as very dry and risk of campfires getting out of control is a serious concern.  Last year’s grasses are dry and not yet replaced by green spring growth.  Additionally, spring winds are picking up.  PLEASE use extra caution when camping in the river corridor.  Keep any cooking fires small.  As always, use your fire pan and blanket.  Select an area for your fire pan that is away from dry fuels.  Monitor the wind.  Ensure your fire is cold before going to bed.  Have water and a shovel at hand at all times.  Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

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

Ramping Down:  As McPhee approaches full elevation, we will start ramping down McPhee downstream boating releases when the Dolores inflow matches the total McPhee diversions and releases.  From a release at 800 CFS downstream we cut back to 600 over 24 hours and then hold 600 CFS for 24 hours.  This pattern repeats through 400, then 200 then down to 75 CFS and we’re done.  Ultimately you will have 4 days from 800 CFS to below 400 CFS when the releases start diminishing.

2017 McPhee Release Update

Thursday May 11, 2017:  McPhee releases are down to 800 CFS, minimum boatable flows today, Thursday May 11. 

 Boatable releases (800 CFS minimum) will last through the afternoon of Sunday May 21.  For the upcoming weekend May 13 & 14 we will increase downstream releases to 1,000 CFS, starting early Friday, then back down to 800 CFS starting Sunday to reach 800 CFS releases Monday morning for next week’s CPW native fish surveys.  800 CFS releases will run all next week, Monday – Friday. 

 We will decide next week whether to bump up flows to 1,000 CFS for Saturday May 20 & Sunday May 21 and post by next Thursday May 18. 

 Based on the lower May 1st inflow forecast we are not certain about boating releases making it to Memorial Day. At this point the CBRFC 50% probability forecast would provide flows to the end of May.  The 50% forecast is a coin toss, not a guarantee.  If only the 70% probability forecast flows come in we would need to ramp down after May 21.  The difference between the 50% and 70% forecast is 30 KAF or about 15 rafting days at 1,000 CFS.  So we don’t have guaranteed inflow as we fill up the last 53,000 AF, but we do see sufficient inflows to fill McPhee and continue boating releases to May 21.  Boating releases past May 21 need more certainty on the extra 30,000 AF of inflow.  Stay tuned.

 We are monitoring the current storm, which combined with the CBRFC mid-month forecast due Tuesday May 16, may provide guidance on extending the season through the end of May.  There is measurable snow left, but inflow models are uncertain and have consistently dropped this season.  If we see sufficient evidence next week (new snow, steady or growing forecast, steady inflow and rising reservoir elevations) we will be able to announce an extended boating season to the end of May.  If we do not see the evidence to assure us that we will fill, we will start ramping flows down the afternoon of Sunday May 21.  If that happens we will fill up McPhee and then may have some unexpected extra inflow that is released down river later.

  CDOT Update:  Please note that the beam placement at Bedrock has been delayed one week starting May 16 rather than May 9.  Check the CDOT updates on the link 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.  Memorial Day and June boatable flows are at risk and may or may not happen. We will know more about Memorial Day and June as we approach those dates. 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.

 Boatable Releases are 800 CFS – 1,900 CFS

Optimal Releases are 1,900 – 2,100 CFS

High Releases are 2,100 CFS and greater

 

New Notice:  The CDOT bridge work at Bedrock construction scheduled for May 16 and may need to schedule short closures then.  Please monitor updates at the CDOT website:

https://www.codot.gov/projects/sh-90-bridge-replacement-k-01-c/river-users

 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:

BLM:  Conditions on the river, especially below Gypsum Valley, have been reported as very dry and risk of campfires getting out of control is a serious concern.  Last year’s grasses are dry and not yet replaced by green spring growth.  Additionally, spring winds are picking up.  PLEASE use extra caution when camping in the river corridor.  Keep any cooking fires small.  As always, use your fire pan and blanket.  Select an area for your fire pan that is away from dry fuels.  Monitor the wind.  Ensure your fire is cold before going to bed.  Have water and a shovel at hand at all times.  Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

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

 

Ramping Down:  As McPhee approaches full, we attempt to start ramping down McPhee downstream boating releases when the Dolores inflow matches the total McPhee diversions and releases.  From 800 CFS down we cut back to 600 over 24 hours and then hold for 24 hours.  This pattern repeats through 400, then 200 then down to 75 CFS and we’re done.  Ultimately you will have 4 days from 800 CFS to below 400 CFS when the releases start diminishing.

2017 McPhee Release Update

Monday May 8, 2017:  McPhee releases are at 2500 CFS and dropping to 800 CFS by Thursday May 11. 

Based on the lower May 1st inflow forecast we are not certain about boating releases making it to Memorial Day near the end of May. Boatable releases (800 CFS minimum) will last through the afternoon of Sunday May 21.  We will need to fill McPhee at that point.  More detail on future weekend, May 13-14 & 20-21, release rates by Thursday. 

 The CBRFC mid-month forecast should show up on May 15 or 16 and may provide guidance on extending the season through the end of May.  There is significant snow left, but inflow models may continue to drop.  We will continue to provide updates and may extend boating releases beyond May 21st as McPhee fills and runoff forecasts firm up.

 CDOT Update:  Please note that the beam placement at Bedrock has been delayed one week starting May 16 rather than May 9.  Check the CDOT updates on the link below.

CPW native fish surveys will take place May 15 to May 18 at 800 CFS releases below McPhee.

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.  Memorial Day and June boatable flows are at risk and may or may not happen. We will know more about Memorial Day and June as we approach those dates. 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.

 

Boatable Releases are 800 CFS – 1,900 CFS

Optimal Releases are 1,900 – 2,100 CFS

High Releases are 2,100 CFS and greater

 

New Notice:  The CDOT bridge work at Bedrock construction scheduled for May 16 and may need to schedule short closures then.  Please monitor updates at the CDOT website:

https://www.codot.gov/projects/sh-90-bridge-replacement-k-01-c/river-users

 

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:

BLM:  Conditions on the river, especially below Gypsum Valley, have been reported as very dry and risk of campfires getting out of control is a serious concern.  Last year’s grasses are dry and not yet replaced by green spring growth.  Additionally, spring winds are picking up.  PLEASE use extra caution when camping in the river corridor.  Keep any cooking fires small.  As always, use your fire pan and blanket.  Select an area for your fire pan that is away from dry fuels.  Monitor the wind.  Ensure your fire is cold before going to bed.  Have water and a shovel at hand at all times.  Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

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:  See Above new CDOT notice.

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

 

Ramping Down:  As McPhee approaches full, we attempt to start ramping down McPhee downstream boating releases when the Dolores inflow matches the total McPhee diversions and releases.  From 800 CFS down we cut back to 600 over 24 hours and then hold for 24 hours.  This pattern repeats through 400, then 200 then down to 75 CFS and we’re done.  Ultimately you will have 4 days from 800 CFS to below 400 CFS when the releases start diminishing.

2017 McPhee Release Update

Thursday May 4, 2017:  McPhee release is at 4,000 CFS today and runs Friday & Saturday, until the start of Sunday at 12:00 AM, then ramp down starts at 800 CFS per 24 hours until we hit 800 CFS on May 11. 

 

The May 1st inflow forecast dropped again.  McPhee releases may not make it to Memorial Day near the end of May. Boatable releases (800 CFS minimum) will last through the afternoon of Sunday May 21.  We will need to fill McPhee at that point.  More detail on future weekend, May 13-14 & 20-21, release rates as we get closer. 

 

The next weather system (a closed low pressure system) currently off the California coast is confusing the CBRFC forecast.  It may reach our area and could provide the necessary moisture to extend rafting through the end of May.  The mid-month forecast should show up on May 15 or 16.  There is significant snow left, but inflow models continue to drop.  We will continue to provide updates and may extend boating releases beyond May 21st as McPhee fills and runoff forecasts firm up.

 

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.  Memorial Day and June boatable flows are at risk and may or may not happen. We will know more about Memorial Day and June as we approach those dates. 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.

 

Boatable Releases are 800 CFS – 1,900 CFS

Optimal Releases are 1,900 – 2,100 CFS

High Releases are 2,100 CFS and greater

 

New Notice:  The CDOT bridge work at Bedrock construction proceeds and may need to schedule short closures soon.  Please monitor updates at the CDOT website:

https://www.codot.gov/projects/sh-90-bridge-replacement-k-01-c/river-users

 

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:

BLM:  Conditions on the river, especially below Gypsum Valley, have been reported as very dry and risk of campfires getting out of control is a serious concern.  Last year’s grasses are dry and not yet replaced by green spring growth.  Additionally, spring winds are picking up.  PLEASE use extra caution when camping in the river corridor.  Keep any cooking fires small.  As always, use your fire pan and blanket.  Select an area for your fire pan that is away from dry fuels.  Monitor the wind.  Ensure your fire is cold before going to bed.  Have water and a shovel at hand at all times.  Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

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

 

Ramping Down:  As McPhee approaches full, we attempt to start ramping down McPhee downstream boating releases when the Dolores inflow matches the total McPhee diversions and releases.  From 800 CFS down we cut back to 600 over 24 hours and then hold for 24 hours.  This pattern repeats through 400, then 200 then down to 75 CFS and we’re done.  Ultimately you will have 4 days from 800 CFS to below 400 CFS when the releases start diminishing.

2017 McPhee Release Update

Monday May 1, 2017:  McPhee releases continue as scheduled. 

 Today:  Releases will be at Optimum Flows, 1,900 – 2,100.

 Starting tomorrow, Tuesday May 2, flows will start ramping up at 1,200 CFS per day (over 40 hours) to reach 4,000 CFS midnight, 12:00 AM, Thursday May 4 at McPhee dam.  These flows will run at 4,000 for 72 hours.  Actual flows down river will follow based on speed of the river.

 May 4, 5 & 6:  Releases will be High Flows at 4,000 CFS +/-

 Ramp down starts midnight 12:00 AM Sunday May 7 and lowers at 800 CFS per day over 3.75 days (90 hours) down to boatable flows, 800 – 1200 CFS.  These flows should run through May while filling McPhee reservoir, but post peak release rates & duration are dependent on future weather and inflows.  Based on dropping forecast the duration of rafting releases is shortening and may not reach June.  Unknown currently how long flows will hold up through May.

 

 Boatable Releases are 800 CFS – 1,900 CFS

Optimal Releases are 1,900 – 2,100 CFS

High Releases are 2,100 CFS and greater

 

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.

 

Several Notices:

BLM:  Conditions on the river, especially below Gypsum Valley, have been reported as very dry and risk of campfires getting out of control is a serious concern.  Last year’s grasses are dry and not yet replaced by green spring growth.  Additionally, spring winds are picking up.  PLEASE use extra caution when camping in the river corridor.  Keep any cooking fires small.  As always, use your fire pan and blanket.  Select an area for your fire pan that is away from dry fuels.  Monitor the wind.  Ensure your fire is cold before going to bed.  Have water and a shovel at hand at all times.  Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

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 here from DRBA:  www.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

 

Ramp down is not currently expected until early June, but that schedule could change depending on continued spring weather.  The snow on the ground that is starting to melt will carry us through the first 45 days.  When the Dolores Inflow matches the McPhee outflow on the way down a last peak we will start ramping down.  From 800 CFS down we cut back to 600 over 24 hours and then hold for 24 hours.  This pattern repeats through 400, then 200 then down to 75 CFS and we’re done.  Ultimately you will have 4 days from 800 CFS to below 400 CFS when the releases start down.

2017-4-27 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

Thursday April 27, 2017:  McPhee releases continue as scheduled. 

 

Today – May 1:  Releases will be at Optimum Flows, 1,900 – 2,100.

 

May 2 – May 8:  Releases will be High Flows, 2,100+

 

May 4, 5 & 6:  Releases will be High Flows at 4,000 CFS +/-

 

Ramp down starts Sunday May 7 & continues over 3 days down to boatable flows, 800 – 1200 CFS.  These flows should run through May while filling McPhee reservoir, but post peak release rates & duration are dependent on future weather and inflows.  Stay tuned.

 

Still New from the BLM:  NOTICE BOATERS!

Conditions on the river, especially below Gypsum Valley, have been reported as very dry and risk of campfires getting out of control is a serious concern.  Last year’s grasses are dry and not yet replaced by green spring growth.  Additionally, spring winds are picking up.  PLEASE use extra caution when camping in the river corridor.  Keep any cooking fires small.  As always, use your fire pan and blanket.  Select an area for your fire pan that is away from dry fuels.  Monitor the wind.  Ensure your fire is cold before going to bed.  Have water and a shovel at hand at all times.  Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

 

Back to releases:

 

Summary:  We are set for the next 10 days.  We’ll have more information on post high flows in future updates. 

 

The ramp down after May 8 will continue down to boatable flows in the 800 – 1,200 CFS range while McPhee fills prior to Memorial Day.  Forecasts continue to drop and boating releases may not reach into June.

 

Boatable Releases are 800 CFS – 1,900 CFS

Optimal Releases are 1,900 – 2,100 CFS

High Releases are 2,100 CFS and greater

 

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.

 

Several 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 here from DRBA:  www.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

 

Ramp down is not currently expected until early June, but that schedule could change depending on continued spring weather.  The snow on the ground that is starting to melt will carry us through the first 45 days.  When the Dolores Inflow matches the McPhee outflow on the way down a last peak we will start ramping down.  From 800 CFS down we cut back to 600 over 24 hours and then hold for 24 hours.  This pattern repeats through 400, then 200 then down to 75 CFS and we’re done.  Ultimately you will have 4 days from 800 CFS to below 400 CFS when the releases start down.