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/
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.
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.