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.

2017-3-6 Release Update

2017 McPhee Release Update

 

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.

 

March 6, 2017:  Current hydrologic conditions will require McPhee to “spill” this year.

 

  • Forecasts estimate that between 300 – 440 KAF of inflow should be expected from April through July.
  • McPhee sits at elevation 6904 (+/-) and only lacks 82 KAF to fill at 6924.
  • The expected minimum runoff is already on the ground in the snowpack.

Therefore we expect a “spill” by mid-April.  At McPhee, downstream water is actually released through the 5,000 CFS capacity river outlet works, matched to our Rocky Mountain hydrology and the Dolores Basin specifically.  Therefore a “spill” is actually a managed release versus the uncontrolled or less controlled releases through a spillway near the top of the dam.  This prevents the escapement of non-native fish that might predate on downstream natives.

 

We have plenty of storage to collect March inflows and anticipate starting the spill for rafting the 2nd & 3rd week of April as specific runoff conditions unfold.  Snow and rain continue to accumulate and develop the final runoff totals and timing, so final operating details will continue to adjust until the end of the spill expected in June.  We do expect between 40 to 60+ days of rafting flows above 800 CFS, with targets significantly higher, 1,200 – 2,000 CFS.

 

We’ll hold water to target Memorial Day and into June, but the actual runoff timing will drive the back end of the releases downstream.  So right now, mid-April to late-May rafting flows below McPhee are very dependable and look to extend into June.  Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer, after the March 15th forecast update.

 

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

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