McPhee Release Update for Thursday July 11, 2019 – Spill Has Ended

The 2019 managed release from McPhee has ended.

This will be the final spill update posted for this release.

 

Downstream releases are down to base flows of approximately 85 CFS, where they are expected to remain through August. In early September, releases will dial down to 75 CFS, after which they will drop to 40 CFS and remain there through the winter.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

 

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dolores-river-srma

The BLM has a detailed boating map of the Dolores river posted on their website. Link below.

BLM Avenza Map page for the Dolores: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/colorado-dolores-river-100k-boating-map-17×40

 

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

McPhee Release Update for Friday July 8, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 400 CFS downstream as it follows its final ramp-down to base flows. 

  • Inflows are dropping daily, at a rate of up to a couple hundred CFS per day, until the snowpack runs out. Releases will fall accordingly, and are expected to reach base-flows later this week, ending the spill. Current weather forecasts show no indication that inflows will turn back up, even for a short time.
  • Remain aware of the water level if on the river. For information on what types of craft are appropriate for different low flows, contact American Whitewater and Dolores River Boating Advocates (links below).

The following is more detailed information regarding how the spill is behaving, primarily repeated from previous posts.

McPhee is currently full and releases are varying as necessary to balance total reservoir outflows (including diversions) with total inflows in order to keep McPhee full, which is the first priority of reservoir operations during this period of the managed release. It is not known with certainty how releases will change through the end of the spill; however, they will vary regularly and trend downwards.

On a normal recession, daily average inflows can be expected to drop by a couple hundred CFS per day until the snowpack runs out.

Until the spill ends, releases will commonly fluctuate due to diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, similar to a more natural river hydrograph.

Earlier this year, releases from McPhee were managed to be as controlled and stable as possible, with standardized, measured changes following predictable ramping patterns. Because McPhee has reached full, releases are now following dropping reservoir inflows. Primarily, this means three things;

  • First, that releases now follow a more natural hydrograph rather than extended periods at set flows. Instead, flows are behaving almost as if on an unmanaged river, reacting unpredictably to the combination of dynamic factors ranging from snow water content, coverage, and melt rates to solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and transit loss. While reservoir operation moderates these rapid changes, releases will continue to follow inflows as much as possible and will be less steady than they have been. Releases will fluctuate to follow reservoir inflows less the current diversions.
  • Second, that releases will fluctuate on a diurnal cycle, with larger releases at night in delayed response to snowmelt during the day, and lower releases during the day resulting from the reduced snowmelt at night.
  • And third, that releases will not necessarily follow the standardized ramping rates experienced so far this year, or in previous years. Changes may come at any time of the day, and will change at roughly the same rate the upstream river is changing.

There is a possibility that releases may “hover” at some flows below 800 CFS (i.e. 200 – 799 CFS) for short periods of time as the seasonal recession in inflows progresses. At low flows in this range, there are small craft boating opportunities as represented on the American Whitewater website “Recommended minimum flows are 200 CFS for canoes/kayaks/inflatables” link below.

The primary goal of managing the releases this way is to fill McPhee and then keep it at full while ramping down. Because volume is intended to remain constant, there is a reasonable relationship which can be drawn between inflows and outflows in order to get an idea of what releases are about to do. In CFS,

“Dolores River Inflows” + “Other inflows” – “Irrigation Diversions” = “McPhee Releases”

“Dolores River Inflows” are forecasted by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) and can be viewed on the CBRFC website at https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?MPHC2. Please note that these flows are forecasts, and not at all guaranteed. They are updated daily and can vary substantially from day to day, especially if you’re looking more than about two days out.

“Other Inflows” is a catch-all value used to represent other sources of runoff into McPhee, e.g. House, Beaver, and Plateau creeks. This late in the season, this value is negligible, and can be treated as zero.

“Irrigation Diversions” is the total volume of water diverted from the reservoir to the project users. Currently, it is approximately 750 CFS, however there is some potential for it to increase during the next several days.

“Irrigation Diversions” and “Other Inflows” are running at approximately 750 CFS, so the releases will track at about 750 CFS less than the Dolores Gage (Real time Dolores Gage flows are at  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500).  Please note that these USGS readings do not look ahead like the forecasts mentioned above.

If you are watching the river inflows into McPhee to try and estimate what releases will be, please keep in mind; 1) that releases will not equal inflows – see the equation above, and 2) that it takes time for changes in releases to travel downstream. As a point of reference, in the past, it has taken approximately 20 hours at 800 CFS for changes in releases to be detected at the Slickrock gage, and it has taken even longer at lower flows.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

 

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dolores-river-srma

The BLM has a detailed boating map of the Dolores river posted on their website. Link below.

BLM Avenza Map page for the Dolores: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/colorado-dolores-river-100k-boating-map-17×40

 

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

McPhee Release Update for Friday July 5, 2019

Late last night, July 4th, inflows fell enough that releases dropped below 800 CFS. Releases are currently approximately 700 CFS, and will fall steadily throughout the day.

The decline in inflows along with the warm weather confirms that the seasonal recession has begun. This means that inflows will now fall daily, at a rate of up to a couple hundred CFS per day, until the snowpack runs out. Releases will fall accordingly, and are expected to reach base-flows of about 75 CFS around Monday July 8th, ending the spill. Current weather forecasts show no indication that inflows will turn back up, even for a short time.


McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 700 CFS downstream. Releases are now projected to decrease following the seasonal recession downward.  Daily release patterns are expected to fluctuate following the diurnal runoff pattern.

  • Please read this whole post before planning a Dolores River trip downstream of McPhee.
  • All signs indicate that the Dolores River has begun its seasonal recession. In keeping with the runoff pattern, releases from McPhee are expected to drop over the next several days. If you are thinking about a trip, plan accordingly. Check the Dolores River gages (see below) and this site regularly before you leave on a river trip. Remain aware of the water levels while on the river.
  • McPhee is currently operating it’s final ramp-down to base flows. 

For information on what types of craft are appropriate for different flows, contact American Whitewater and Dolores River Boating Advocates (links below).


The following is more detailed information regarding how the spill will behave over the next several days.

McPhee is currently full and releases are varying as necessary to balance total reservoir outflows (including diversions) with total inflows in order to keep McPhee full, which is the first priority of reservoir operations during this period of the managed release. It is not known with certainty how releases will change through the end of the spill; however, they will vary regularly and trend downwards.

On a normal recession, daily average inflows can be expected to drop by a couple hundred CFS per day until the snowpack runs out.

Until the spill ends, releases will commonly fluctuate due to diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, similar to a more natural river hydrograph.

Earlier this year, releases from McPhee were managed to be as controlled and stable as possible, with standardized, measured changes following predictable ramping patterns. Because McPhee has reached full, releases will now follow dropping reservoir inflows. Primarily, this means three things;

  • First, that releases now follow a more natural hydrograph rather than extended periods at set flows. Instead, flows are behaving almost as if on an unmanaged river, reacting unpredictably to the combination of dynamic factors ranging from snow water content, coverage, and melt rates to solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and transit loss. While reservoir operation moderates some of these rapid changes, releases will continue to follow inflows as much as possible and will be less steady than they have been. Releases will fluctuate to follow reservoir inflows less the current diversions.
  • Second, that releases will fluctuate on a diurnal cycle, with larger releases at night in delayed response to snowmelt during the day, and lower releases during the day resulting from the reduced snowmelt at night.
  • And third, that releases will not necessarily follow the standardized ramping rates experienced so far this year, or in previous years. Changes may come at any time of the day, and will change at roughly the same rate the upstream river is changing.

There is a possibility that releases may “hover” at some flows below 800 CFS (i.e. 200 – 799 CFS) for short periods of time as the seasonal recession in inflows progresses. At low flows in this range, there are small craft boating opportunities as represented on the American Whitewater website “Recommended minimum flows are 200 CFS for canoes/kayaks/inflatables” link below.

The primary goal of managing the releases this way is to fill McPhee and then keep it at full while ramping down. Because volume is intended to remain constant, there is a reasonable relationship which can be drawn between inflows and outflows in order to get an idea of what releases are about to do. In CFS,

“Dolores River Inflows” + “Other inflows” – “Irrigation Diversions” = “McPhee Releases”

“Dolores River Inflows” are forecasted by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) and can be viewed on the CBRFC website at https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?MPHC2. Please note that these flows are forecasts, and not at all guaranteed. They are updated daily and can vary substantially from day to day, especially if you’re looking more than about two days out.

“Other Inflows” is a catch-all value used to represent other sources of runoff into McPhee, e.g. House, Beaver, and Plateau creeks. This late in the season, this value is negligible, and can be treated as zero.

“Irrigation Diversions” is the total volume of water diverted from the reservoir to the project users. Currently, it is approximately 750 CFS, however there is some potential for it to increase during the next several days.

“Irrigation Diversions” and “Other Inflows” are running at approximately 750 CFS, so the releases will track at about 750 CFS less than the Dolores Gage (Real time Dolores Gage flows are at  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500).  Please note that these USGS readings do not look ahead like the forecasts mentioned above.

If you are watching the river inflows into McPhee to try and estimate what releases will be, please keep in mind; 1) that releases will not equal inflows – see the equation above, and 2) that it takes time for changes in releases to travel downstream. As a point of reference, in the past, it has taken approximately 20 hours at 800 CFS for changes in releases to be detected at the Slickrock gage, and it has taken even longer at lower flows.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

 

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dolores-river-srma

The BLM has a detailed boating map of the Dolores river posted on their website. Link below.

BLM Avenza Map page for the Dolores: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/colorado-dolores-river-100k-boating-map-17×40

 

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

McPhee Release Update for Wednesday July 3, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,000 CFS downstream. Releases are now projected to decrease following the seasonal recession downward.  Daily release patterns are expected to fluctuate following the diurnal runoff pattern.

  • Please read this whole post before planning a Dolores River trip downstream of McPhee.
  • All signs indicate that the Dolores River has begun its seasonal recession. In keeping with the runoff pattern, releases from McPhee are expected to drop over the next several days, with flows dropping below 800 CFS within the next few days. If you are thinking about a trip, plan accordingly, particularly if planning more than a day trip. Check the Dolores River gages (see below) and this site regularly before you leave on a river trip. Remain aware of the water levels while on the river.
  • Currently, releases are expected to drop below 800 CFS by Saturday July 6th, though, with diurnal fluctuations, this could occur earlier. Managers are planning to post here when releases first drop to 800 CFS.

For information on what types of craft are appropriate for different flows, contact American Whitewater and Dolores River Boating Advocates (links below).


The following is more detailed information regarding how the spill will behave over the next several days.

McPhee is currently full and releases are varying as necessary to balance total reservoir outflows (including diversions) with total inflows in order to keep McPhee full, which is the first priority of reservoir operations during this period of the managed release. It is not known with certainty how releases will change through the end of the spill; however, they will vary regularly and trend downwards.

Releases are expected to stay above 800 CFS through July 4th, but this cannot be guaranteed. On a normal recession, daily average inflows can be expected to drop by a couple hundred CFS per day until the snowpack runs out.

Until the spill ends, releases will commonly fluctuate due to diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, similar to a more natural river hydrograph.

Earlier this year, releases from McPhee were managed to be as controlled and stable as possible, with standardized, measured changes following predictable ramping patterns. Because McPhee has reached full, releases will now follow dropping reservoir inflows. Primarily, this means three things;

  • First, that releases now follow a more natural hydrograph rather than extended periods at set flows. Instead, flows are behaving almost as if on an unmanaged river, reacting unpredictably to the combination of dynamic factors ranging from snow water content, coverage, and melt rates to solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and transit loss. While reservoir operation moderates some of these rapid changes, releases will continue to follow inflows as much as possible and will be less steady than they have been. Releases will fluctuate to follow reservoir inflows less the current diversions.
  • Second, that releases will fluctuate on a diurnal cycle, with larger releases at night in delayed response to snowmelt during the day, and lower releases during the day resulting from the reduced snowmelt at night.
  • And third, that releases will not necessarily follow the standardized ramping rates experienced so far this year, or in previous years. Changes may come at any time of the day, and will change at roughly the same rate the upstream river is changing.

There is a possibility that releases may “hover” at some flows below 800 CFS (i.e. 200 – 799 CFS) for short periods of time as the seasonal recession in inflows progresses. At low flows in this range, there are small craft boating opportunities as represented on the American Whitewater website “Recommended minimum flows are 200 CFS for canoes/kayaks/inflatables” link below.

The primary goal of managing the releases this way is to fill McPhee and then keep it at full while ramping down. Because volume is intended to remain constant, there is a reasonable relationship which can be drawn between inflows and outflows in order to get an idea of what releases are about to do. In CFS,

“Dolores River Inflows” + “Other inflows” – “Irrigation Diversions” = “McPhee Releases”

“Dolores River Inflows” are forecasted by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) and can be viewed on the CBRFC website at https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?MPHC2. Please note that these flows are forecasts, and not at all guaranteed. They are updated daily and can vary substantially from day to day, especially if you’re looking more than about two days out.

“Other Inflows” is a catch-all value used to represent other sources of runoff into McPhee, e.g. House, Beaver, and Plateau creeks. This late in the season, this value is negligible, and can be treated as zero.

“Irrigation Diversions” is the total volume of water diverted from the reservoir to the project users. Currently, it is approximately 750 CFS, however there is some potential for it to increase during the next several days.

“Irrigation Diversions” and “Other Inflows” are running at approximately 750 CFS, so the releases will track at about 750 CFS less than the Dolores Gage (Real time Dolores Gage flows are at  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500).  Please note that these USGS readings do not look ahead like the forecasts mentioned above.

If you are watching the river inflows into McPhee to try and estimate what releases will be, please keep in mind; 1) that releases will not equal inflows – see the equation above, and 2) that it takes time for changes in releases to travel downstream. As a point of reference, in the past, it has taken approximately 20 hours at 800 CFS for changes in releases to be detected at the Slickrock gage, and it has taken even longer at lower flows.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

 

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dolores-river-srma

The BLM has a detailed boating map of the Dolores river posted on their website. Link below.

BLM Avenza Map page for the Dolores: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/colorado-dolores-river-100k-boating-map-17×40

 

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

 

McPhee Release Update for Monday July 1, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,500 CFS downstream as releases decrease following the diurnal runoff pattern.

  • As of Friday June 28th, McPhee has reached full.
  • Releases are varying as necessary to equalize total reservoir outflows (including diversions) with total inflows in order to maintain McPhee’s water surface elevation at full, or 6924 FT.
  • Because releases are following the river, it isn’t known with certainty what releases will be through the end of the spill other than that they will vary regularly and trend downwards. Given today’s Dolores River inflow, releases should stay above 1,000 CFS through July 4th or a little longer, but this cannot be guaranteed. On a normal recession, daily average inflows can be expected to drop by a couple hundred CFS per day until the snowpack runs out. Check river gages and this site regularly before you leave on a river trip.
  • Until the spill ends, releases will commonly fluctuate due to diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns similar to a more natural river hydrograph. Please see below for important information to help you understand the variability for this period.
  • After the bump in inflows – which began this weekend and continues into this work week as a result of the clear skies and warming trend – it is expected that the final recession in the runoff will begin within the next couple of days, and releases will follow the inflows down until the spill ends.
  • Managers are no longer planning on triggering the sudden 200 CFS drop when releases recede to 800 CFS. Originally intended as a signal for boaters, to alert them that the river is on its way down, new ecological concerns have been raised by CPW which must be addressed before this signal can be committed to. Furthermore, diurnal changes in flows are expected to exceed changes of 200 CFS during the recession, and it is likely the signal would be too difficult to distinguish to be useful, particularly further down the canyon.
  • Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates. They are now expected to come primarily on Mondays and Wednesdays. Managers are currently planning to post when releases first drop to 800 CFS.

 

The following is more detailed information regarding how the spill will behave now that the reservoir has filled.

Earlier this year, releases from McPhee were managed to be as controlled and stable as possible, with standardized, measured changes following predictable ramping patterns. Because McPhee has reached full, releases will now follow reservoir inflows. Primarily, this means three things;

  • First, that releases now follow a more natural hydrograph. Extended periods at set flows are unlikely. Instead, flows are behaving almost as if on an unmanaged river, reacting unpredictably to the combination of dynamic factors ranging from snow water content, coverage, and melt rates to solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and transit loss. While reservoir operation moderates some of these rapid changes, releases will continue to follow inflows as much as possible and will be less steady than they have been. Releases will fluctuate to follow reservoir inflows less the current diversions.
  • Second, that releases will fluctuate on a diurnal cycle, with larger releases at night in delayed response to snowmelt during the day, and lower releases during the day resulting from the reduced snowmelt at night.
  • And third, that releases will not necessarily follow the standardized ramping rates experienced so far this year. Changes may come at any time of the day, and will change at roughly the same rate the upstream river is changing.

 

There is a possibility that releases may “hover” at some flows below 800 CFS (i.e. 200 – 799 CFS) for short periods of time as the seasonal recession in inflows progresses. At low flows in this range, there are alternate small craft boating opportunities as represented on the American Whitewater website “Recommended minimum flows are 200 CFS for canoes/kayaks/inflatables” link below.

The primary goal of managing the releases this way is to fill McPhee and then keep it at full while ramping down. Because volume is intended to remain constant, there is a reasonable relationship which can be drawn between inflows and outflows in order to get an idea of what releases are about to do. In CFS,

“Dolores River Inflows” + “Other inflows” – “Irrigation Diversions” = “McPhee Releases”

“Dolores River Inflows” are forecasted by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) and can be viewed on the CBRFC website at https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?MPHC2. Please note that these flows are forecasts, and not at all guaranteed. They are updated daily and can vary substantially from day to day, especially if you’re looking more than about two days out.

“Other Inflows” is a catch-all value used to represent other sources of runoff into McPhee, e.g. House, Beaver, and Plateau creeks. This late in the season, this value is negligible, and can be treated as zero.

“Irrigation Diversions” is the total volume of water diverted from the reservoir to the project users in the Montezuma Valley. Currently, it is approximately 700 CFS, however there is some potential for it to increase during the next several days.

“Irrigation Diversions” and “Other Inflows” are running at approximately 700 CFS, so the releases will track at about 700 CFS less than the Dolores Gage (Real time Dolores Gage flows are at  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500).  Please note that these USGS readings do not look ahead like the forecasts mentioned above.

If you are watching the river inflows into McPhee to try and estimate what releases will be, please keep in mind; 1) that releases will not equal inflows – see the equation above, and 2) that it takes time for changes in releases to travel downstream. As a point of reference, in the past, it has taken approximately 20 hours at 800 CFS for changes in releases to be detected at the Slickrock gage, and it has taken even longer at lower flows. Please plan any trips accordingly.

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

 

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dolores-river-srma

The BLM has a detailed boating map of the Dolores river posted on their website. Link below.

BLM Avenza Map page for the Dolores: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/colorado-dolores-river-100k-boating-map-17×40

 

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

 

McPhee Release Update for Wednesday June 26, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,200 CFS downstream.

  • Releases are expected to remain at 1,200 CFS until tomorrow afternoon, Thursday June 27th, when they are expected to ramp down to 800 CFS, but no lower.
  • Releases will remain at approximately 800 CFS into Friday June 28th and potentially into June 29th while McPhee finishes filling. The lower releases preceding the weekend will both allow McPhee to fill more quickly ahead of the weekend and increase the chances that flows of 1,200 CFS or more can run through the weekend, when they will be the most accessible to boaters.
  • Once McPhee is full, releases will ramp up to the flow necessary to equalize total inflows and total outflows in the reservoir for the purpose of maintaining the reservoir’s water surface elevation at full, elevation 6924 FT. These release flows are currently unknown, but are expected to be between 900 and 1,400 CFS Sunday and going into next week. Inflows are still expected to dial up this weekend, in reaction to the warming weather, before turning down.
  • From the moment McPhee fills – which is expected Friday or Saturday – until the spill ends, releases will commonly fluctuate due to diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns similar to a more natural river hydrograph. Please see below for important information to help you understand the variability for this period.
  • After the bump in inflows coming this weekend, it is expected that the final recession in the runoff will begin, and releases will follow the inflows down until the spill ends.
  • When inflows decrease enough to bring releases down to 800 CFS, managers will trigger a sudden “drop” in releases of 200 CFS (from 800 to 600 CFS). This “step” in flows is intended as a signal to alert boaters downstream of the impending dropping flows, which may be more difficult to boat on and may herald the approaching end of the spill. This step will last approximately 24 hours – or until McPhee begins to lose storage – after which releases will again balance with inflows and diversions, and the reservoir will resume its process of remaining at full while ramping releases down to base flows. At this point, releases will continue downward unless inflows in McPhee force them to increase.
  • Should releases spike above 800 CFS again after that point due to an unexpected increase in inflows, another “drop” signal like the first will be triggered.
  • Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates. They are still expected to come primarily on Mondays and Thursdays; however, once McPhee reaches full, there won’t be much change to the message. Note that there will not be a new update post tomorrow, Thursday June 27th.

The following is more detailed information regarding how the spill will behave once the reservoir reaches full.

 

So far this year, releases from McPhee have been managed very closely to be as controlled and stable as possible, with standardized, measured changes following predictable ramping patterns. Once McPhee reaches full, releases will begin to follow reservoir inflows. Primarily, this means three things;

  • First, that releases will follow a more natural hydrograph. Extended periods at set flows will be unlikely. Instead, flows will behave almost as if on an unmanaged river, reacting unpredictably to a combination of dynamic factors ranging from snow water content, coverage, and melt rates to solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and transit loss. While reservoir operation will moderate some of these rapid changes, releases will still follow inflows as much as possible and will be less steady than they have been. Releases will fluctuate to follow reservoir inflows less the current diversions.
  • Second, that releases will fluctuate on a diurnal cycle, with larger releases at night in delayed response to snowmelt during the day, and lower flows during the day resulting from the reduced snowmelt at night.
  • And third, that releases will not necessarily follow the standardized ramping rates experienced so far this year. Changes may come at any time of the day, and will change at roughly the same rate the upstream river is changing.

 

There is a possibility that releases may “hover” at some flows below 800 CFS (i.e. 200 – 799 CFS) for short periods of time as the seasonal recession in inflows progresses. At low flows in this range, there are alternate small craft boating opportunities as represented on the American Whitewater website “Recommended minimum flows are 200 CFS for canoes/kayaks/inflatables” link below.

The primary goal of managing the releases this way is to fill McPhee and then keep it at full while ramping down. Because volume is intended to remain constant, there is a reasonable relationship which can be drawn between inflows and outflows in order to get an idea of what releases are about to do. In CFS,

“Dolores River Inflows” + “Other inflows” – “Irrigation Diversions” = “McPhee Releases”

“Dolores River Inflows” are forecasted by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) and can be viewed on the CBRFC website at https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?MPHC2. Please note that these flows are forecasts, and not at all guaranteed. They are updated daily and can vary substantially from day to day, especially if you’re looking more than about two days out.

“Other Inflows” is a catch-all value used to represent other sources of runoff into McPhee, e.g. House, Beaver, and Plateau creeks. This late in the season, this value is negligible, and can be treated as zero.

“Irrigation Diversions” is the total volume of water diverted from the reservoir to the project users in the Montezuma Valley. Currently, it is approximately 700 CFS, however there is some potential for it to increase during the next several days.

“Irrigation Diversions” and “Other Inflows” are running at approximately 700 CFS, so the releases will track at about 700 CFS less than the Dolores Gage (Real time Dolores Gage flows are at  https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?09166500).  Please note that these USGS readings do not look ahead like the forecasts mentioned above.

If you are watching the river inflows into McPhee to try and estimate what releases will be, please keep in mind; 1) that releases will not equal inflows – see the equation above, and 2) that it takes time for changes in releases to travel downstream. As a point of reference, in the past, it has taken approximately 20 hours at 800 CFS for changes in releases to be detected at the Slickrock gage, and it has taken even longer at lower flows. Please plan any trips accordingly.

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

 

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/visit/dolores-river-srma

The BLM has a detailed boating map of the Dolores river posted on their website. Link below.

BLM Avenza Map page for the Dolores: https://www.blm.gov/documents/colorado/public-room/map/colorado-dolores-river-100k-boating-map-17×40

 

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

 

McPhee Release Update for Monday June 24, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,200 CFS downstream.

  • After a brief spike in inflows Friday, cold weather brought inflows rapidly down. Releases have ramped down to 1,200 CFS to allow McPhee to fill the last 5 inches.
  • Releases are expected to remain at 1,200 CFS through Thursday June 27th and at or above 1,000 CFS through next weekend, Sunday June 30th. More details will continue to be announced on later posts.
  • When McPhee reaches full, managers will begin operating releases to balance inflows and maintain reservoir elevation at full. Due to the variation in inflows caused by both diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, it is possible releases will fluctuate at times through the end of the spill over the next 7 – 10 days.

Currently, inflows are expected to turn up later during the week as the warming weather brings down any remaining snowpack. How high inflows get and how long they may last is unknown; however, after this week’s bump in flows, it is expected that the final recession in inflows will begin.

The managed release is now winding down for the year. The ramp-down from 800 CFS down to basic fishery releases is expected to start sometime in early July, and should last approximately a week, then the spill will be over. Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates, primarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

Over the weekend, inflows dropped more steeply due to the colder weather than the River Forecast Center projected, and McPhee is not as full now as managers predicted. The question today is, “How much of the drop in inflows is reduction of snowmelt due to the cold weather and how much is the drop in inflows from the snowpack running out?” If there is an indication within the next two or three days that the snow is running out, managers may be forced to start the spill ramp-down earlier, potentially before the end of the month.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

McPhee Release Update for Sunday June 23, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,500 CFS downstream.

  • After spiking Friday, cold weather brought inflows rapidly down. Releases are currently ramping down to 1,200 CFS, which they are expected to reach at midnight tonight.
  • Releases are expected to remain at 1,200 CFS going into the week.
  • Releases will remain at or above 1,200 CFS through Thursday June 27th, and are expected to remain at or above 1,000 CFS through next weekend, Sunday June 30th. More details will continue to be announced on later posts.
  • When McPhee reaches approximately full, managers will begin operating releases to balance inflows and maintain reservoir elevation at full. Due to the variation in inflows caused by both diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, releases can be expected to fluctuate above 1,200 CFS at times through the next several days.

The managed release is now winding down for the year and the seasonal recession in inflows has begun. The ramp-down from 800 CFS down to basic fishery releases is expected to start sometime around early July. If all goes as planned, it will last approximately a week, then the spill will be over. Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates, primarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

Please review Wednesday’s post under the “Read Older Posts” button below for more information on the current forecast.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

 

McPhee Release Update for Friday June 21, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,600 CFS downstream.

  • In response to inflows spiking higher than expected today, releases are currently ramping up to 2,000 CFS, which they are expected to reach at midnight Saturday morning June 22nd.
  • Releases are expected to remain at 2,000 CFS until Monday June 24th, when releases will ramp down to approximately 1,200 CFS to allow McPhee to finish filling.
  • Releases will remain at or above 1,200 CFS through Thursday June 27th, and at or above 1,000 CFS through next weekend, Sunday June 30th. More details will continue to be announced on later posts.
  • When McPhee reaches approximately full, managers will begin operating releases to balance inflows and maintain reservoir elevation at full. Due to the variation in inflows caused by both diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, releases can be expected to fluctuate above 1,200 CFS at times through the next several days.

The managed release is now winding down for the year and the seasonal recession in inflows has begun. The ramp-down from 800 CFS down to basic fishery releases is expected to start sometime around July 4th. If all goes as planned, it will last approximately a week, then the spill will be over. Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates, primarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

Please review Wednesday’s post under the “Read Older Posts” button below for more information on the current forecast.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River

 

 

McPhee Release Update for Wednesday June 19, 2019

McPhee is currently releasing flows of 1,200 CFS downstream.

  • Releases are currently expected to remain at 1,200 CFS until Friday June 21st to allow McPhee to finish filling, when releases will ramp up as necessary to balance reservoir inflows and outflows (which include both irrigation diversions and downstream releases) through the weekend and into next week (releases could turn up sooner). Currently, flows this weekend are expected to be between 1,200 CFS and 1,600 CFS, though if higher-than-expected inflows occur, that may require releases to go higher for a short time.
  • Releases will remain at or above 1,200 CFS through Tuesday June 25th; however, it is possible but not guaranteed that releases may stay above 1,200 CFS through the following weekend, June 29th and 30th. More details will continue to be announced on later posts.
  • When McPhee reaches approximately full, managers will begin operating releases to balance inflows and maintain reservoir elevation at full. Due to the variation in inflows caused by both diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, releases can be expected to fluctuate frequently above 1,200 CFS through the next couple of weeks.

The managed release is now winding down for the year and the seasonal recession in inflows has begun. The ramp-down from 800 CFS down to basic fishery releases is expected to start sometime around the beginning of July. If all goes as planned, it will last approximately a week, then the spill will be over. Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates, primarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

Another low-pressure system is expected to pass over the Dolores River headwaters early this weekend. As with the previous system, the increased cloud cover (and to a lesser extent, precipitation) will have an impact on inflows, though they are difficult to quantitatively predict. By the end of the weekend, this system is projected to be quickly replaced by a high-pressure system, which is currently expected to settle over the headwaters and remain for several days. Weather forecasts predict above average temperatures – the highest seen yet this year – and inflow forecasts by the River Forecast Center correspondingly predict an increase in inflows. It is possible inflows will reach the high 2,000’s in CFS next week.

As of Monday, all the SNOTEL sites in the McPhee drainage basin below 11,000 ft have hit zero. This means managers are now “snow blind”, and can no longer use melt rates to inform anticipated daily runoff volumes. The River Forecast Center does model the remaining high elevation snow coverage in the basin, however. Currently, effectively all the snow remaining in the model is situated above 11,000 ft, with the rest having melted out. Less than a fifth of the 800 sq. mile Dolores River watershed above McPhee is above 11,000 ft, and most of that portion is on primarily south-facing slopes. The model distinguishes between the basin upstream of the Dolores River gage at Rico and the basin downstream to McPhee. Upstream of Rico, the model estimates there is 75-80% snow coverage remaining above 11,000 ft. In the section of the basin downstream of Rico but upstream of McPhee, the model estimates there is 40% snow coverage remaining above 11,000 ft. While significant portions of snow clearly remain in other nearby basins, there is less remaining in the Dolores basin, which tends to melt out earlier than most others nearby.

 

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.

 

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

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:  https://dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_tabular.aspx?ID=MCPRESCO&MTYPE=STORAGE

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

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

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

DRBA:  https://doloresriverboating.org/

AW:  https://www.americanwhitewater.org/

The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River