The managed release from McPhee is near its end and the reservoir is full. Warm, clear weather is bringing down the last of the snowpack, and we’ve seen two nights of high diurnal inflows that have allowed us to remain at 1,200 CFS. We anticipate a couple more days of high diurnal peaks before the seasonal recession of inflows begins in earnest.
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 1,200 CFS downstream, and is full. McPhee is poised to begin following the inflows hourly at any time; however, we’re holding at approximately 1,200 CFS for the time being to balance the raised inflows. Currently, we expect daily average releases to be about 1,100-1,300 CFS, through Thursday, June 22nd.
Downstream releases are expected to be about 600-800 CFS on average this weekend, June 24th & 25th, with diurnal changes above and below that range. Afterwards releases are expected to continue to decrease daily until the spill has ended. Check back Thursday for an update on this weekend.
When following the inflows, releases will mimic the pattern of inflows into the reservoir minus diversions (predicted to be about 700 CFS over the next week), and will vary throughout the day, typically higher in the early mornings, and lower in the afternoons. Flows may be more or less than 800 CFS and are expected to decrease on average over a period of about 10 days 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 at the end of 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: