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2017 McPhee Release Update


Wednesday June 14, 2017:  Due to the low temperatures, inflows into McPhee Reservoir have dropped rapidly during the last 24 hours. Downstream releases remain at minimal boating flows of 800 CFS. Release plans have not changed from yesterday.

Boatable releases of no less than 800 CFS will continue until the morning of Thursday, June 15th, at 10:00 AM.  Afterwards, the standard ramp-down of controlled releases will likely begin. Ramp down below 800 CFS will extend over 6 days (Daily Avg. releases of 700 CFS, 600 CFS, 500 CFS, 400 CFS, 300 CFS, then 200 CFS) allowing those on the water some time to land.

The rate of recession in inflows is unpredictable, and we may continue to match downstream releases to inflows to some degree even during the ramp-down – we will not accelerate the ramp-down beyond the standard drop of 100 CFS per day, but we may be required to extend releases at these lower flows by a day or more as we manage the reservoir elevation. Normally during a spill, we’d do as we have before, and try to forecast these flows, then bunch them together into fewer days at higher flows, but this late in the season, without precise data (especially regarding the effects of weather and the remaining snowpack), daily flows can be erratic, and the recession may accelerate without warning.

As usual, the USGS Dolores River Gage at Dolores remains the best representation of inflows into McPhee (see the links below).

We will continue to make daily posts here on the Releases tab through Friday the 16th or until the ramp-down begins, then we’ll begin posting less – at least twice weekly through the ramp-down. Those interested in utilizing the river during the ramp-down can check the Dolores River Below McPhee Gage for flows directly beneath the dam (link below).

 Help Guide the Future

As you finish your raft trip, please take some time to complete the American Whitewater survey at:

The survey responses will inform and help shape future managed release planning efforts.


Current Notices:


Call 970-882-2164 Extension 5, 1 or 6 if you have questions.

SLICKROCK:  Continue to monitor DRBA for latest on Slickrock. Slickrock put-in/take-out access will happen on private property downstream of Hwy 141 bridge (bridge crosses Dolores River) about 200 yards past bridge on river left.  Look for small flagging in bushes on left.  DO NOT use the old boat ramp on river right upstream of bridge.  That is private property and is not accessible this season.  Additional info about Slickrock access and other information here from Dolores River Boating Advocates:

BEDROCK BRIDGE:  CDOT updates at .


American Whitewater also provides good information about this year’s rafting opportunities and details for boaters at


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.


Dolores Gage:

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:

Dolores below McPhee:

Slickrock Gage:

Bedrock Gage: