Dolores River

credit DiamondBack Pickup Covers / Creative Commons

This week may bring the last of the boatable water releases on the Lower Dolores River this year. Dolores Water Conservancy District Chief Engineer Ken Curtis tells KSJD warm weather over the weekend brought higher snowmelt in the mountains, which increased the flow to the reservoir and prompted one more “spill” from the dam to maintain safe reservoir levels.

Amanda Wilson / Creative Commons

The lower Dolores River will remain boatable at least through Sunday.

Austin Cope / KSJD

Boating flows are coming back, briefly, on the lower Dolores River.

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The Dolores River below McPhee Dam is no longer boatable, but there is still a chance of a brief additional boating release in June if the remaining snowpack starts to melt rapidly. Releases have been ramped down to 200 cubic feet per second or less to allow the lake to fill. Reservoir managers say drier-than-normal weather prevented them from extending boating releases through the Memorial Day weekend.

Julie Knudson / The Nature Conservancy

This year’s release of water from the McPhee dam into the Lower Dolores River brought boaters from across the country. But it wasn’t only recreational boaters who came to the river. A group of scientists also monitored the effects of the high flow on the river's course and its ecosystems.