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.