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Lower Dolores River Will See Another Release

Jane Dally

Local boaters, don’t put away your kayaks and inflatable rafts just yet.



The Dolores Water Conservancy District announced Friday that there will be boatable flows through the weekend of June 11th and 12. DWCD General Manager Mike Preston tells KSJD that, after releases were ramped down to about 600 cubic feet per second this week, the Dolores River began to swell again and the reservoir is now 3-10ths of a foot shy of being full. Another factor is that irrigation demand, which was higher last week, is down now as farmers move into the first hay cutting. Preston says from here on out what is released will be whatever is coming down the river, minus what is diverted for irrigation and other uses. He says small spills such as this one are the most difficult to manage. He says Sno-Tels in the mountains no longer have snow to measure and it’s impossible to predict when runoff will hit the river or how much of it there is. Boaters can expect flows of 800 to 1,000 cfs through Sunday, at which time the ramp-down will likely begin again. Smaller craft may be able to navigate the river well past the weekend. Meanwhile, Preston says this year’s spill has had benefits to the environment as well as recreation. The higher flows flushed out silt from fish spawning beds and watered cottonwoods and other plants in the floodplain.


UPDATE 06/13/2016: McPhee releases peaked over the weekend and the Dolores Water District will begin a ramp-down during the week of June 13. Tuesday's flows will be at 800 cfs, and water managers will determine when to continue the ramp-down after Tuesday


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