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2017 McPhee Release Update


Tuesday June 13, 2017:  Inflows into McPhee Reservoir continue dropping as the seasonal recession takes its course. Downstream releases fell from 1,000 CFS down to 800 CFS overnight in order to preserve elevation as, during the night, a brief low-pressure system from the west passed over the headwaters, temporarily reducing streamflow in the upper Dolores by an unknown amount. 

Boatable releases of no less than 800 CFS will continue at least until the morning of Thursday, June 15th, at 10:00 AM.  Beyond that is unpredictable at this time.

It remains unclear how much snow quantitatively remains in the Dolores River watershed, but what snowpack does persist is primarily located at elevations greater than 10,500 ft – areas which are difficult to thoroughly monitor using SNOTEL stations.

The rate of recession in inflows is unpredictable, but we will continue to match downstream releases to inflows until the final ramp-down of releases is triggered. As usual, the USGS Dolores River Gage at Dolores remains the best indication for inflows into McPhee (see the links below).


We continue to make daily adjustments to the downstream releases. In order to meet both diversions and rafting flows, daily average inflows of approximately 1,700 CFS are required; this is currently expected to occur around Thursday June 15th.

 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.

We will continue daily updates to confirm the forecast and extend boating days as they become apparent.  When the inflows basically equal outflows we will start the ramp down (1,700 CFS inflow daily average).  Ramp down below 800 CFS will extend over 6 days (Daily Avg. releases of 700 CFS, 600 CFS, 500 CFS, 400 CFS, 300 CFS, 200 CFS) allowing those on the water some time to land.


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: