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Old 02-09-2010   #1
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Dolores

While casting for smallies on McPhee a couple years ago I noticed quite a bit of new bank erosion.

Query: Is bank erosion widening the water prison and creating a larger capacity than reported or allowed?

Bonus Query: At which level would Dante put the McPhee prison guards for stealing water from the starved fish and wild life trying to emerge each spring from the lower Dolores?

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Old 02-09-2010   #2
 
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Unfortunately, the plug on the Dolores just traps sediment that slowly raises the lakebed thus decreasing water capacity creating a more shallow body of water that evaporates at a higher rate. Regarding the "prison guards", I would be happier if they went back to school and learned a bit more about hydrology and watershed management. Perhaps boaters, wildlife and other downstream users would then get accurate flow projections instead of a damn that is operated for local agriculture first and foremost.
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Old 02-09-2010   #3
 
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Speaking of the Delores, which most of the Colorado snowpack in the southwest corner, could this be the year to plan a May Delores?
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Old 02-09-2010   #4
 
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ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Sno...otsjadsm10.gif

Not there yet, but it could happen. look at how much bigger "08 was than we are presently. it went in '08, but not big.
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Old 02-09-2010   #5
 
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This year's snowfall in SW Colorado has been unusual. We live at 7660' elevation, and our snowfall hasn't been significantly greater than Durango's at 6512' or significantly less than Durango Mtn Resort's at 8793'. This is pretty atypical. The upshot? There's a LOT more low-elevation snow this year, and it's all gonna melt and run. The NRCS Snotel graphs don't show that.
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Old 02-10-2010   #6
 
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Rich, I am not yelling at you for spelling it incorrectly...I have made the same mistake once or twice myself; but it is the Dolores River. That river is truly legendary. The maiden in one Dolores legend is surely crying her forgiving tears for us due to our sin of constructing McFee Damn.
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Old 02-10-2010   #7
 
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Interesting comment on the lower snow elevation snow pack. Here in Moab and especially the Cisco desert, there is more snow than I can remember seeing since I started spending winters here in 1993.
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Old 02-10-2010   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealion View Post
Interesting comment on the lower snow elevation snow pack. Here in Moab and especially the Cisco desert, there is more snow than I can remember seeing since I started spending winters here in 1993.
All this lower elevation snow in SW Colorado is going to bring free-flowing rivers up early, and will certainly help to fill the reservoirs that feed the dam-controlled rivers. Obviously this doesn't show up in the Snotel graphs since the Snotel measuring sites are up high, but I gotta assume that it's factored in to reservoir fill projections and release schedules. I'm curious what Rivermanryan has to say about it.
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Old 02-10-2010   #9
 
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Here is a link to watch: Dolores Water Conservancy District
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Old 02-10-2010   #10
 
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I live in the Dolores Valley and I can say that what Steve said about the low elevation snow in the Animas drainage has held true over here on the last couple storms. The big bomber storms of December dumped big over here and the Animas didn't get as much. I think the Scotch Creek site was around 140% of average on Jan 1. Things have evened out between the basins now though. We are still at 102% I think.

I think the Dolores will run this year but don't expect a long spill. The lake was sucked very low last fall and it will take a lot more to fill it. I'm planning on making a Rico to Moab trip (w/ McPhee portage) this year as soon as they spill. I think long term the new shale development and it's water demands will be the end of river running on the lower Dolores.
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