April 20, 2017 Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

Thursday April 20, 2017:  McPhee releases continue at boatable flows of 1,100 to 1,900 CFS through the near term 3 – 5 days. 

 

 April 25 – May 1:  Releases will be at Optimum Flows, 1,900 – 2,100, for at least 7 days.

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

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

 

Summary:  April mid-month forecast dropped 40,000 AF, but inflow rates and reservoir elevations are driving spill operations.  Inflow remains high, but will fluctuate with a series of cold fronts pushing through, with chance of some mountain precipitation.  New operating trigger is to start 4,000 CFS High Flows at McPhee reservoir elevation 6921.  Between now and next Tuesday flows should remain steady and then ramp up on Sunday, but may ramp up sooner than Monday 4/24 based on conditions.  Releases will continue at Optimum for 7 days before ramping up for a minimum 3 days at approximately 4,000 CFS through the May 4 – 6 weekend.  Ramping up takes 2 days and ramping down takes 3 days making 8 days at High Flows, possibly extended one day if conditions warrant. 

 

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 still project sufficient runoff for continued boatable releases into early 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.

2017-4-17 McPhee Release Update

 

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

April 17, 2017:  MCPHEE DOWNSTREAM RELEASES CONTINUE AT 1,100 to 1,200 CFS through the week.  See below for more detail about future anticipated changes.

 

Summary:  The near term forecast holds at mostly sunny with steady temperatures until later in the week.  The higher runoff started late last week, and the reservoir elevation rises slowly towards the next trigger around 6920. 

 

The April 1st forecast did not change quantity and we continue working on various scenarios to achieve multiple goals including:  optimum flows of 1,900 – 2,000 CFS, high flows of 2,500 – 4,000 CFS and continue releases through Memorial Day weekend.   We still expect to release around 250,000 AF that will make McPhee releases last approximately 60 days.  More detail below.

 

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.

 

We continue to monitor reservoir elevations versus inflow which are tracking as predicted by the near term weather forecasts and resultant melt models.  A front coming in mid-week followed by a weekend front will be the next drivers of inflow and we wait to see how this may slow the runoff rates.    Based on the continued inflow we will adjust releases to maintain 6920 by the end of April.  The higher inflow is raising the reservoir elevation that in turn should trigger higher releases in the ”Optimum” range of 1,900 to 2,000 CFS later this month.

 

We still plan for the higher boating releases, 2,500 to 4,000 CFS, in early May and will give 2 weeks’ notice hopefully next Thursday.  It still looks like we will reach appropriate trigger elevations in the first half of May and hope to solidify our schedule next week on the optimum flows followed by the higher boating releases.

 

After the higher release peak, downstream flows will vary, but remain boatable, to raise the reservoir elevation ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.  2017 Operations are still forecast to release 250,000 AF downstream over a minimum of 60 days taking us to Memorial Day weekend.   Final release rates over Memorial Day will depend on how April & May inflow comes down and final April – July runoff volume.

 

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.

2017-4-13 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

April 13, 2017:  MCPHEE DOWNSTREAM RELEASES CONTINUE AT +/- 1,200 CFS through the weekend, but high pressure has set up and if weather patterns stay warm and sunny we will schedule higher releases.  See below for more detail about future anticipated changes.

 

Summary:  The near term forecast looks sunny and warming.  The higher runoff started today, Thursday, and the reservoir elevation started up again this morning.  We plan to not exceed McPhee elevation of 6920 through the end of April.   The April forecast did not change quantity, but the recent storms have delayed the timing.  We continue working on various scenarios to achieve multiple goals including:  optimum flows of 1,900 – 2,000 CFS, high flows of 2,500 – 4,000 CFS and continue releases through Memorial Day weekend.   We still expect to release around 250,000 AF that will make McPhee releases last approximately 60 days.  More detail below.

 

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.

 

The sunny warming weather finally brought increasing inflows this morning, a few days later than anticipated.  Continued warm & dry weather should continue higher inflow that may be accelerated by newest layers of dust.  Once the reservoir elevation starts climbing we will adjust releases to maintain 6920 by the end of April.  The current driver will be how long the current high pressure ridge remains over the 4 Corner region.  A small low pressure system may hit our mountains next week, but may be deflected north.  The higher inflow is raising the reservoir elevation that in turn should trigger higher releases in the ”Optimum” range of 1,900 to 2,000 CFS later this month.

 

We still plan for the higher boating releases, 2,500 to 4,000 CFS, in early May and will give 2 weeks’ notice hopefully next Thursday.  It still looks like we will reach appropriate trigger elevations in the first half of May and hope to solidify our schedule next week on the optimum flows followed by the higher boating releases.

 

After the higher release peak, downstream flows will vary, but remain boatable, to raise the reservoir elevation ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.  2017 Operations are still forecast to release 250,000 AF downstream over a minimum of 60 days taking us to Memorial Day weekend.   Final release rates over Memorial Day will depend on how April & May inflow comes down and final April – July runoff volume.

 

 

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.

Watercraft Exempt from Mandatory Inspections

What Watercraft are Exempt from Mandatory Inspections?
The following nine watercraft are exempt from mandatory inspection as defined by CPW.
These are the only watercraft in Colorado that are exempt from the mandatory inspection law and
regulations. All others must be inspected.

1. Kayak
2. Canoe
3. Raft
4. Belly Boat
5. Windsurfer Board
6. Sailboard
7. Float Tubes
8. Inner Tubes
9. Paddle Boards

Marine propulsion systems that are gasoline or diesel powered must be inspected, regardless of the
watercraft type. They are NOT exempt. Electric motors must be inspected when they are not on an
exempt watercraft.
Any trailer that goes into the water must be inspected. Trailers are only exempt when they do not
enter water and the watercraft on top of the trailer is one of the exempt hand‐launched watercraft
listed above.
What are the reasons for exempting the above 9 types of watercraft from inspection?

1. Hand‐launched
2. Typically do not have a marine propulsion system
3. Typically do not have interior water holding compartments
4. Typically do not stay on the water long = short exposure time
5. Typically do not stay still on the water = short exposure time
6. Typically do not anchor or make contact with lake or reservoir bottom
7. Typically fully dried out before putting in a car or on top of a car for transport.
8. Provides a low‐risk access option for boaters and anglers when inspections aren’t present and
boat ramps are closed.

2017-4-10 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

April 10, 2017:  MCPHEE DOWNSTREAM RELEASES CONTINUE AT THE  +/- 1,200 CFS  FOR THIS WEEK.  See below for more detail about future anticipated changes.

 

Summary:  The near term forecast looks sunny and warming.  We expect the runoff to respond and start climbing this week.  The April forecast did not change quantity, but the recent storms have delayed the timing.  We continue working on various scenarios to achieve multiple goals including:  optimum flows of 1,900 – 2,000 CFS, high flows of 2,500 – 4,000 CFS and continue releases through Memorial Day weekend.   We still expect to release around 250,000 AF that will make McPhee releases last approximately 60 days.  More detail below.

 

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.

The sunny warming weather should start increasing flows immediately and reported dust deposits could accelerate inflows.  A high pressure ridge appears to be setting up over 4 Corners that will generate about 2 weeks of this warm & dry pattern.  The inflow increases will start raising the reservoir elevation that in turn should trigger higher releases in the ”Optimum” range of 1,900 to 2,000 CFS later this month.

We still plan for the higher boating releases, 2,500 to 4,000 CFS, in May.  It looks like we will reach appropriate trigger elevations in the first half of May currently and we anticipate on providing 2 weeks prior notice to those high release flows.

After the higher release peak, downstream flows will vary, but remain boatable, to raise the reservoir elevation ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.  2017 Operations are still forecast to release 250,000 AF downstream over a minimum of 60 days taking us to Memorial Day weekend.   Final release rates over Memorial Day will depend on how April & May inflow comes down and final April – July runoff volume.

 

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.

2017-4-6 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

April 6, 2017: NO CHANGES FOR THE WEEKEND. McPhee releases continue at +/- 1,200 CFS into next week.

Summary: After a cold opening weekend, DWCD will continue releasing 1,200 CFS below McPhee until the runoff starts climbing again later in April. A new forecast comes out this week that we will combine with the early runoff to run a new operating plan. We still expect to release around 250,000 AF that will make McPhee releases last approximately 60 days. The next paragraph goes into more detail.

See updated Slickrock and bridge notice below.

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.

The “ripe” snow pack that sent an extra 30,000 to 40,000 AF down in March continues to receive more snow, but the runoff has stopped climbing with the recent cloud cover and cooler weather. We expect runoff to start rising again later this week, then stall, and then re-start next week. Consistent sunny weather will eventually settle in and rapidly increase inflow. The snow pack became isothermal (ripe) several weeks ago, which means it all reached 32 degrees and is ready to melt. As snow is a good insulator the snow pack will stay ripe and only needs the energy, sunny and warm, to start melting again at all elevations.

The inflow forecast volume from the CBRFC does not appear to be dropping, but has come down early. Therefore we still expect to release around 250,000 AF of water that should yield 60 or more boating days above 800 CFS depending on the release rates, to have a lower flow and longer or higher flow and shorter boating season. The current 1,200 CFS releases are one way to save some water quantity to increase flows later in the spill season when the weather is warmer. Delaying the jump to 2,000 CFS should also extend the spill. Other operating decisions around release rates that reflect the actual runoff conditions may likewise shorten or lengthen the season beyond our absolute control.

The McPhee operating plan must balance or trade off actual runoff rates with diversions, downstream release rates and how long to extend the spill. The inflow forecast continues to evolve over April and May even as the runoff is coming down and will continue to force changes to the spill for safety or other operational reasons. Currently we expect to reach 2,000 CFS releases later in April and still intend to run higher 4,000 CFS releases later in spring, but are still adjusting McPhee release plans to the changing runoff received to date and projections for the next four months. We will post the next update Thursday April 6 that should reflect any impacts from the April 1st forecast from CBRFC.

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.

2017-4-3 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

April 3, 2017:  McPhee releases continue at 1,200 CFS for this week.

 

Summary:  After a cold opening weekend, DWCD will continue releasing 1,200 CFS below McPhee until the runoff starts climbing again later in April.  A new forecast comes out this week that we will combine with the early runoff to run a new operating plan.  We still expect to release around 250,000 AF that will make McPhee releases last approximately 60 days.  The next paragraph goes into more detail.

 

See updated Slickrock and bridge notice below.

 

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.

 

The “ripe” snow pack that sent an extra 30,000 to 40,000 AF down in March continues to receive more snow, but the runoff has stopped climbing with the recent cloud cover and cooler weather.  We expect runoff to start rising again later this week, then stall, and then re-start next week.  Consistent sunny weather will eventually settle in and rapidly increase inflow.  The snow pack became isothermal (ripe) several weeks ago, which means it all reached 32 degrees and is ready to melt.   As snow is a good insulator the snow pack will stay ripe and only needs the energy, sunny and warm, to start melting again at all elevations.

 

The inflow forecast volume from the CBRFC does not appear to be dropping, but has come down early.  Therefore we still expect to release around 250,000 AF of water that should yield 60 or more boating days above 800 CFS depending on the release rates, to have a lower flow and longer or higher flow and shorter boating season.  The current 1,200 CFS releases are one way to save some water quantity to increase flows later in the spill season when the weather is warmer.  Delaying the jump to 2,000 CFS should also extend the spill. Other operating decisions around release rates that reflect the actual runoff conditions may likewise shorten or lengthen the season beyond our absolute control.

 

The McPhee operating plan must balance or trade off actual runoff rates with diversions, downstream release rates and how long to extend the spill.  The inflow forecast continues to evolve over April and May even as the runoff is coming down and will continue to force changes to the spill for safety or other operational reasons.  Currently we expect to reach 2,000 CFS releases later in April and still intend to run higher 4,000 CFS releases later in spring, but are still adjusting McPhee release plans to the changing runoff received to date and projections for the next four months. We will post the next update Thursday April 6 that should reflect any impacts from the April 1st forecast from CBRFC.

 

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.

2017-3-27 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

March 27, 2017:  Current hydrologic conditions will require McPhee to “spill” this year.

 

McPhee Releases Ramping Up later this week.

 

Summary:  A warm March has started the runoff early and driving McPhee elevations up, approaching 6915 and rising.  Therefore we will start ramping up flows this Wednesday March 29, 2017.  McPhee releases will reach 800 CFS by Friday March 31, 2017 and 1,200 CFS by Saturday April 1, 2017.  Updates will start more regularly next Monday.  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.

 

March stayed dry up until last week.  Since then we’ve received two storms with more on the way.  What’s been more of an impact were the warmer sunny days for most of March.  Those record warm days translated into an isothermal snow pack across Colorado that is all poised to start melting.  Although there was some warning, it became very apparent last week that the runoff was coming in much higher and sooner than normal.  We often see some early melt then cooler weather that slows down the runoff.  The recent storms and cloud cover has steadied the inflow, but irrigation has not started and McPhee continues to rise.  Storms are possible for another 10 -14 days, but will only slow the rising runoff, not stop the inflow.

 

We expect to reach 2,000 CFS flows next week and still intend to release higher 4,000 CFS releases later in spring, but are still adjusting plans to the changing runoff.  We will post the next update Monday April 3 and again later next week when we receive an April 1st forecast from CBRFC.

 

Several Notices:

 

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.

 

SLICKROCK:  DRBA is working to coordinate the take out at Slickrock, not sure if it will be old or new one.  Both locations are on private property so please respect all rules to keep them open for the future.  More at the DRBA site:  http://doloresriverboating.org/.

 

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

 

 

BEDROCK BRIDGE:  Remember that CDOT has bridge work going on at Bedrock that may require short delays for safe passage.  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.

 

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.

2017-3-20 McPhee Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

March 20, 2017:  Current hydrologic conditions will require McPhee to “spill” this year.

 

Summary:  Targeted first rafting day is between April 11 to April 16.  Rafting releases around 2,000 CFS shall continue for 30+ days.  An increase or “spike” may come around mid to late May, but will be noticed in subsequent updates.  Next update April 5 after the April 1 CBRFC forecast update, unless runoff drives McPhee elevation up towards 6920 and an earlier start of the release is required.  Routine Monday & Thursday updates once the spill starts.

 

The forecast has dropped, but still provides plenty of excess water for a spill.  McPhee sits at elevation 6909 (+/-) and lacks about 62 KAF to fill at elevation 6924.00.

For current McPhee Elevations between updates on the spill, visit our Lake Elevations page: http://doloreswater.com/lake-elev/

Also, see link http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=ELEV.

We have concluded several meetings for input and have an operating plan.  The goal is to start ramping up releases between April 9 to 14.  At the 400 CFS per day ramping criteria boating releases from McPhee Dam will reach 800 CFS within 2 days.  We will continue ramping up until we reach 2,000 CFS of releases.  We will release at 2,000 CFS for several weeks with minor adjustments for increased inflow.  Part of the few day delay is to assure we can have a 4,000 CFS spike for 5+/- days around the 3rd week of May.  We then intend to drop releases back down to 2,000 CFS for the Memorial Day weekend and to the end of the spill in early June.

 

Several Notices:

 

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.

 

SLICKROCK:  DRBA is working to coordinate the take out at Slickrock, not sure if it will be old or new one.  Both locations are on private property so please respect all rules to keep them open for the future.  More at the DRBA site:  http://doloresriverboating.org/.

 

American Whitewater likewise has good information about this year’s rafting opportunities and details for boaters at https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Regional/view/region/WT/

 

BEDROCK BRIDGE:  Remember that CDOT has bridge work going on at Bedrock that may require short delays for safe passage.  Please see their website at https://www.codot.gov/projects/sh-90-bridge-replacement-k-01-c/news and look for signs, spotters and other guidance from the contractor, SEMA Construction.

 

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

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 with two more months of dry 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 we will 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.

2017-3-15 McPhee Operations Meeting

McPhee Operations Meeting

6:00 PM March 15, 2017

Dolores Community Center

Please join Reclamation and DWCD for updates provided at the McPhee Operations Meeting at the Dolores Community Center 6:00 PM March 15, 2017.