Dolores River Spill Expected To Reach 4,000 CFS

Mar 17, 2017

Boaters, water managers, and environmental monitoring groups are looking forward to the largest managed release from the McPhee Dam since 2008.

On Thursday, the Dolores River Monitoring and Recommendation team agreed on a plan to release water from the dam, which involved input from water managers, boaters, scientists, environmental groups, federal lands agencies, and local governments.


A graph of expected flow from McPhee Dam shows the final release plan in yellow, though the release could change based on conditions.
Credit Dolores River Monitoring and Recommendation Team


Surplus water is expected to spill from the McPhee Dam from April 13th until mid-June, with 45 to 60 days of flow planned at 2,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). Water managers plan to release an even larger burst of water, expected at 4,000 CFS, during three days in late May (May 19th through 22nd). Scientists say the extra water will flush extra sediment downstream and create better habitat for native fish.


Despite the extra water flowing downstream, water managers say all water allocations will be met, including those for agricultural use.


Find up-to-date flow measurements, which are subject to change based on conditions, at the Dolores Water Conservancy District website.


The Bureau of Land Management manages regulations for boaters on the Lower Dolores, and Dolores River Boating Advocates and American Whitewater post information about boating conditions and safety.