Dolores River

Julie Knudson / The Nature Conservancy

About 24,000 people boated the Lower Dolores River this summer, according to estimates from the Bureau of Land Management. At a public meeting Wednesday night, leaders from Dolores River Boating Advocates, American Whitewater, and The Nature Conservancy told the Dolores Water Conservancy District they appreciated this season’s regular communication with boaters and other stakeholders about releases from McPhee Dam. However, some said they would have preferred more advance notice on the late summer releases.

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.