How low is too low for rafts on the San Juan? (or any Navajo Dam release info?) - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-27-2010   #1
Durango, CO
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2010
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How low is too low for rafts on the San Juan? (or any Navajo Dam release info?)

We did the 'juan in early june and timed it perfectly with high water coming from the Animas. We launched on 6/7 at about 4200 cfs, took out 5 days later still over 3000.

With another group of friends we are launching from Mexican Hat on July 11th.

Currently, the flows are around 700, but they came up from 450ish a few days ago (less irrigation diversion? or is this bump due to releases from Navajo?)

Guessing we'll be 4-500 cfs? is that too low? We will have a couple 14' rafts and a canoe on the trip.

I'm aware that the sandbars will blow. Our last camp is Steer Gulch with Slickhorn B the night before, so we should be able to break up the lowest section a bit.

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Old 06-27-2010   #2
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Jul 2009
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This year we put in at 2100 and it was just over 900 at the takeout. The last three days involved a remarkable drop, and along with the wind, we were working hard.

To be honest, I can't imagine running it in anything under 800. Have fun whatever you end up doing!
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Old 06-28-2010   #3
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
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One year we launched and it was 1200 cfs and it dropped down to 375 on the last day. I was in my 18' cat and had to jump out a half dozen times in the braids to push. Those that had rafts had no problem--self bailer floor flotation really makes a difference.

So yes, you can float at theses levels though the last day is a bit harder.
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Old 06-29-2010   #4
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Gonzorango, Colorado
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NAVAJO – Reclamation will be increasing the release from Navajo Reservoir to 950 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. Releases are made for the authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit, and to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell).
The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program recommends a target base flow of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area.
Unregulated inflow into Navajo Reservoir during the month of May was 265,000 acre-feet, or 96 percent of average. Currently, the daily reservoir inflow is averaging about 850 cfs. NIIP diversions are currently set at 500 cfs. The reservoir water surface elevation is currently 6074.93 feet, which corresponds to a storage content of about 1,550,000 acre-feet.
On June 4, 2010, the National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center issued an updated inflow forecast for Navajo Reservoir for the April through July runoff period. This forecast is projecting a volume runoff into the reservoir of 650,000 acre-feet, or about a 83 percent of average runoff for the Upper San Juan River Basin. Based on this runoff forecast and current reservoir conditions, there will not be a spring peak release this runoff season. To view the most current reservoir elevation, content, inflow and release, click on: Navajo Reservoir Data.
A public meeting on Navajo Reservoir operations will be held on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. in Farmington, New Mexico. At this meeting, review of last spring and summer reservoir operations, and plans for this fall and winter 2010/2011 operations will be discussed. These are open forum discussions on the operation of Navajo Reservoir with many interested groups participating. Anyone interested in the general operation of the reservoir is encouraged to attend. Please contact Pat Page in Reclamation's Durango, Colorado Office at (970) 385-6560 for information about these meetings or the daily operation of Navajo Reservoir. To view minutes from the last Navajo Operations Meeting, click on: Meeting Notes.
Paul Davidson
Updated June 28, 2010
Email comments/inquires to: [email protected]
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