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Old 05-06-2015   #1
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
No flow on Rio Chama until after Memorial day

Just found out that there will be insuficient flow out of El Vado reservoir to float the Rio Chama until after Memorial Day weekend. It is at about 100 CFS right now. The permit season to float that section starts May 1. Lucky me, got drawn for May 8-10. Sad news. It says to check flows, so I did. It was not easy to get to someone who knew what the anticipated flow was going to be. There is a nice USGS web site to see current and historic flows, but nothing on anticipated flow levels. The BLM manages the floating, and Bureau of Rec manages the flow/discharges. The informations between the two agencies doesn't seem to flow real fast. I'm sure it is frustraiting for the BLM river manager too, just venting a bit here. To give credit, they do say that flows can be variable so important to check.

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Old 05-06-2015   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 45
bummer.. we've got a trip this weekend too, and I'd heard that BuRec anticipated releasing 300 cfs all of May - low but enough to float. Have you talked to BuRec or the river ranger yet? Sometimes they seem to know what's going to happen..

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Old 05-06-2015   #3
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
Yes, I emailed the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Rec because I had been watching the flows on the USGS site and was concerned when it went down to 100 CFS a few days ago. It looked like they had been keeping the flows up over the weekends but wanted to be sure. The reply I received, when I specifically asked about flows this coming weekend, said "Unfortunately, there are no plans to increase flows out of El Vado this weekend. Because we have come out of storage restrictions under the Rio Grande Compact, we are storing what we can at El Vado this spring." I also called the BLM office with this info. and asked for a call back. Have not heard back yet, but it was late today when I called. So that is all I know at this point.
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Old 05-06-2015   #4
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
Not exactly a proper consolation prize, especially for a gear boat campstravaganza, but Mama Chama is running 2380cfs..... car camp and hit it with little boats that can be carried up the hill, and that would be a good alternate weekend... Its on my 'gotta do it sometime cause its homestate' list, and that's really good flow, as of today..... other then that, sucks to get skunked on any permit. they should offer an alternate launch when that happens. IMHO.
Good Luck!

OH and BTW..... Sketch Barbwire strainer somewhere on the run, if you read the AW notes...
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Old 05-07-2015   #5
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
just found out from bureau of Rec that they are going to slightly increase flows out of el vado starting tomorow. Not sure if enough to float, and it may go back down. Might work out, getting to 300 or 400 CFS but sounds to risky to me. Just wanted to let everyone know it MAY be floatable after all.
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Old 05-07-2015   #6
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
We decided we are going to give it a go and see what the flow is like when we get there. If to low, will have a nice drive and camping trip.
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Old 05-20-2015   #7
Dolores, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 36
Seen the levels lately? Wow.

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Old 05-20-2015   #8
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 217
Levels look pretty damn good now. Has anybody ever ran the chama at 100 cfs?
A hole so big, it sucked the leaves off the tree.
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Old 05-20-2015   #9
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 29
What is going on? Almost 10 times the flow we had two weeks ago. YES. The Rio Chama has been run at flows hovering around 100 cfs. 106 cfs to be exact.
It was a tough, bottom scrapping, cursing affair, that brought little joy when stuck, but in all reality, it was an amazing adventure. Two 16ft. Hysides (loaded), one 14ft. Hyside (loaded) one 13ft. Hyside (semi-full), and two 12ft. Hyside's (one loaded, the other practically empty) made the 34 mile trip in five days.
One layover to enjoy a healthy dose of beer and several rounds of Pigs during a day of inclement weather.
Do it, it can be done. Just give yourself a few extra days.
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Old 05-21-2015   #10
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 20
We ran it two weekends ago at 100 CFS in 13 ft raft, heavy with 4 people and gear. Same story as above, lots of scraping and draging. Don't think I would do it that way again, lighter loaded boats or small inflatables would be much better at that flow. Same feeling as above person, it was an amazing adventure, one to remember. To top it off we had rain and snow. non rowing passengers got pretty cold but we all survived. Took out at chavez canyon instead of big eddy.
I did now get on an email update list from USGS and yes the flows are now way up. This is what they say for this weekend "The release from El Vado into the Rio Chama will be going up this afternoon to about 500 cfs. Tomorrow, the release will again increase to about 1000 cfs. The release will stay there through Thursday and possible into Friday. The flow will then be reduced to about 600 to 700 cfs for the weekend and into Monday morning." It was sent on 19th.

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