POSTED BY ERIC SPRAGUE ON MARCH 15, 2023
McPhee is currently releasing approximately 10 CFS for the downstream fishery. Starting in April, fishery releases are expected to rise, pending coordination with CPW.
As of March, the Upper Dolores Basin SNOTEL sites are averaging 148% of the 30 year seasonal median SWE, and the Basin River Forecast Center’s official 50% exceedance forecast is for 345 KAF inflows into McPhee. The best conditions we’ve seen since 2019. While conditions look promising for a spill (managed release of excess water), possibly one large enough schedule recreation around, please note that we’re going into 2023 with a nearly empty reservoir. Following three shortage years, McPhee is down approximately 200 KAF from full, and will have to fill during the runoff season. The basin runoff efficiency, the timing of the runoff, and the manifestation of March and April precipitation all introduce a great deal of uncertainty into forecasted inflows and operational projections, meaning it is still too early to tell.
We will continue to monitor conditions and will update this page as McPhee fills and the season develops. Look for more news in April.
For more details on the current official forecast, go to https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/wsup/graph/front/espplot_dg.html?year=2021&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
The following are links to the American Whitewater River Inventory pages for the lower Dolores River: