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Old 05-09-2009   #1
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 168
Rio Chama at record levels this weekend

A friend who paddled the Chama yesterday at over 3000 cfs sent me this:
Albuquerque Area Office
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Media Contact: Mary Perea Carlson (505)462-3576

May 08, 2009

Rapid Snow Melt Prompts Reclamation to Increase Release Out of El Vado Reservoir

The Bureau of Reclamation today increased the amount of water being released from El Vado Reservoir in preparation to receive more water from the rapidly melting snowpack.

This is the first time the release out of El Vado has been increased to around 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) since 1973, and only the second time since 1941. The average release from El Vado for this time of year is 1,370 cfs. Reclamation made the decision to release more water as the Reservoir neared its capacity while continuing to receive an inflow of about 5,000 cfs. The forecast of continued high temperatures and a possible chance of rain over the weekend compounded the need to move water from the reservoir.

Residents of the properties directly downstream from El Vado Dam on the Rio Chama were notified of the change by Reclamation.

Anyone planning to use the Rio Chama below El Vado for recreation over the weekend should be cautious and aware of the higher than usual flows.

“We are moving this water as a precaution. We want to ensure that we have the room in the reservoir to receive the incoming flows,” said Albuquerque Area Manager John Poland.

Reclamation has coordinated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and determined there is adequate space in the downstream Abiquiu Reservoir to capture the water. It will then be available in the coming weeks to augment runoff flows in the Middle Rio Grande. This will benefit the Rio Grande silvery minnow.

Basically the Chama will be going off at the highest levels 35 years!

Be safe if you go, it will be a wild ride with the river essentially at flood stage. I for one will be wussing out on the river at this level.

If you go please shoot some video for us all to see.

NOTE: The gauge has not updated since last night and might be broken (or washed away).



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Old 05-09-2009   #2
Ricky NM's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 166
Was on it today and it was a lot of fun! To put into perspective, the water was lapping the top of the wall in Screaming Left! Big irregular waves and some ugly looking eddies, but still nothing too bad. There were, however, LOTS of strainers and logs coming down. There was a 25 footer in Big Eddy! The Gauge was completely underwater.

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Old 05-22-2009   #3
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 6
Put in Friday, the 15th, at noon from Cooper's. Coop said it was at 2,000 cfs which made me happy 'cause Wednesday the 13th it was at 3950 according to the web. This was my 3rd time, second in my raft, (did it in my canoe at about 1,000) & I think 2,000 is perfect. Maybe even 2500. Just got the raft last year so it fits my level right now perfectly. No problems except tried to cut the corner on Screaming Left and got stuck on a rock I never could see. Gonna build some kind of a holder for an umbrella tomorrow after we got hailed on Saturday. May do the racecourse Monday.
Live each day like it's your last!! One day it will be!!!
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