The managed release from McPhee is nearing its end as the reservoir approaches full, and the seasonal recession of the runoff is beginning. Please read this entire post and check back regularly if you have plans on the Dolores River below McPhee. We’ll continue to update this post twice weekly, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays, through the remainder of the spill.
McPhee is currently releasing 800 CFS downstream, and is nearly full. Releases are expected to remain at 800 CFS through tomorrow morning, Friday June 14th, at which point releases will ramp up to 900 CFS. Releases will remain around 900 CFS through this weekend. Sunday afternoon, June 18th, releases are expected to drop so McPhee can finish filling over the following day or so. Releases may drop below 800 CFS early next week, in which case we’ll post an update on Monday.
Downstream releases are expected to be about 800 CFS on average for the remainder of next week, and will likely begin following inflows once the reservoir has topped off, with diurnal changes above and below 800 CFS.
Wen following the inflows, releases will mimic the pattern of inflows into the reservoir minus diversions (predicted to be about 600 CFS now), and will vary throughout the day. Flows may be more or less than 800 CFS and are expected to decrease on average until downstream releases reach the planned base flow of 75 CFS.
As always, the forecast can change, and the remaining length of the spill is unknown. Particularly this late into the spill, releases below McPhee can change at any time. Check this page as well as the river gages before making plans downstream.
CBRFC produces a daily inflow forecast that provides an idea of what inflows to expect moving forward. It is a model and therefore bears a measure of uncertainty, but it may still be an informative source when releases begin mimicking the river. You can find it at https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/dbdata/station/flowgraph/flowgraph_hc.html?id=MPHC2&ptype=2&linear_flow=0.
American Whitewater has asked us to post a link to their online rafter survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DoloresBoaters2023.
For more details on the current official forecast, go to https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2023&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
- DRBA: https://doloresriverboating.org/
- AW: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/
The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River: