McPhee is currently releasing approximately 50 CFS for the downstream fishery, which will continue into May when flows are expected to increase.
As of today, the Upper Dolores Basin SNOTEL sites are averaging 170% of the 30 year seasonal median snow water equivalent (SWE), and the Basin River Forecast Center estimates there is a 70% probability that total APR-JUL inflows into McPhee will be at or above 480,000 AF. At this point, a managed release (spill) is expected, though there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the size and timing of the spill. Basin conditions are similar to this time in 2019 in terms of the snowpack and the runoff forecast. Furthermore, McPhee reservoir is beginning the season low — still requiring approximately 200,000 AF to fill — which means that, like 2019, the spill is expected to span a timeframe later in the runoff season, i.e. mid to late May and into early June. Rafting releases are not scheduled in April as McPhee will need some time to fill up some before ramping up.
USBR is currently planning to host a public meeting on the spill in early May. Look for a press release on the date and location in the next week. We’ll post the details here soon after.
As usual, we will continue to monitor conditions and will update this page as McPhee fills and the season develops, so keep an eye on this page for updates. CBRFC will release the mid-April forecast next week.
For more details on the current official forecast, go to https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2021&id=MPHC2
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
The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:
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