Rio Chama Water Forecast Beta - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-21-2012   #1
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 91
Rio Chama Water Forecast Beta

Hey all-

Looking for any beta regarding the Rio Chama water flow forecast below El Vado. Looking to run it at the end of April, but it needs some serious water.

Anyone know when levels should start rising?


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Old 03-21-2012   #2
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 88

The Chama is tough to call, especially in a low water year. Do they let the run-off through or do they catch it up above with several impoundments to release when the farmers downstream call for it. At times, they will do releases in the spring and in the summer--depending on water and downstream demands. If its hot and it doesn't rain, the farmers ask for their water early. If they do a scheduled release, they usually start on Friday and continue through Satruday and then shut it off on Sunday. I believe weekday permits are released on April 1st, April 2nd this year. So if you get a thursday launch and limp down the river, you might be able to get the release the next day. Again, this all depends on run-off, storage capacity, and downstream demands. The BLM Taos Field Office might be able to give you a better idea of what they are thinking for the season. Best to give em a call, grab a permit, and cross your fingers.
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Old 03-22-2012   #3
Issip's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 216
Look at past years data - there's no garantee but this year was reasonable for snow in Northern New Mexico so releases should be similar to last year.

Permits are not required until May1, I am planning the same trip for just that reason (end of April as I have no permit) - I did it last year and had a great time (it was cold and snowed/rained most of the time, but that doesn't bother me as much as a crowd).

Water Data:

USGS Current Conditions for USGS 08285500 RIO CHAMA BELOW EL VADO DAM, NM

BLM info:
Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River
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