Upcoming dam release benefits ecology of Dolores River

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Upcoming dam release benefits ecology of Dolores River

Native fish, riparian forest need spring flows
The Dolores River snakes through canyons below McPhee Dam.
Kayakers and rafters enjoy the Dolores River with about 4,000 cfs being released from the dam in 2017.
The sun reflects off the Dolores River in 2017 and shows where it is over it banks in places when 4,000 cfs is released.
Dolores boating release could begin in May

McPhee Reservoir managers are predicting a whitewater boating release from the dam in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The reservoir is rising more than one foot per day, and irrigation diversion demand remains very low, according to the Dolores Water Conservancy District.
So far low snowpack below 9,000 feet has generated most of the runoff inflows into the lake. Now upper elevation snowpack is beginning to release into the Dolores River and McPhee.
Recent storms have added to the snowpack and slowed the runoff. Sunny days over the weekend restarted the high elevation melt off, but it is again expected to slow with more storms and cooler temperatures arriving into the region this week. Next week, sunny, warm weather is expected to return and expedite melting.
“What all this means is McPhee should be close to full the week before Memorial day, which likely will start the 2019 managed release,” said DWCD engineer Ken Curtis.
For planning purposes, the length of the whitewater release is expected to last 3-4 weeks. Although the start date may vary, the first half of the estimated spill length is more certain the second half, Curtis said.

Upcoming dam release benefits ecology of Dolores River

The Dolores River snakes through canyons below McPhee Dam.
Kayakers and rafters enjoy the Dolores River with about 4,000 cfs being released from the dam in 2017.
The sun reflects off the Dolores River in 2017 and shows where it is over it banks in places when 4,000 cfs is released.
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