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McPhee Release Update for Monday June 17, 2019


McPhee is currently releasing flows of approximately 1,600 CFS downstream.

  • Managers increased releases on Wednesday June 12th to 3,400 CFS to abate reservoir elevation gain as well as to perform habitat maintenance flows downstream.
  • Releases remained at 3,400 CFS until noon Saturday June 15th, when releases began ramping down.
  • Releases are still ramping down steadily and will continue to do so until reaching 1,200 CFS at midnight tonight, Monday June 17th.
  • Releases are currently expected to remain at 1,200 CFS through Thursday June 20th as McPhee fills (flows may turn up sooner), after which they will ramp up as necessary to balance reservoir inflows and outflows through the weekend. More information on what weekend releases are expected will come later this week.
  • Releases will remain at or above 1,200 CFS through the weekend, Sunday June 23rd.
  • Following the weekend, releases are expected to ramp down as inflows recede. Currently, managers anticipate there will be a couple more days of releases over 1,200 CFS following June 23rd, potentially through Wednesday June 26th; however, dates and flows at that time will be managed closely in response to inflows.
  • Upcoming, smaller peaks in inflows while the river recedes are likely, and with McPhee at full, managers will react to these as well. More details will continue to be announced on later posts.

Please continue to check back on this site regularly for new updates, primarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

Currently, a slow-moving low-pressure system is present over the Dolores River headwaters, increasing cloud cover and precipitation. This system resulted in significantly reduced inflows over the weekend, and it is currently increasing uncertainty in inflow forecasts as it is interrupting predicted runoff patterns and intercepting satellite imagery of the extent of the snowpack.

As of today, all the SNOTEL sites in the McPhee drainage basin below 11,000 ft have hit zero. This means managers are now “snow blind”, and can no longer use melt rates to inform anticipated daily runoff volumes, further increasing uncertainty in inflow forecasts.

If you have questions, the best way to address DWCD is through the “Contact” page of this website. Otherwise you can try calling 970-882-2164 extensions 5, 1 or 6.


Dolores Gage:

McPhee Elevation & Capacity:

Dolores below McPhee:

Slickrock Gage:

Bedrock Gage:



The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River:

Bradfield to Dove Creek

Dove Creek to Slickrock

Slickrock to Bedrock

Bedrock to Gateway

Gateway to Confluence with the Colorado River