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Hi,

You are invited to attend an operations meeting hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation about McPhee Reservoir and the Dolores Project. The meeting is on March 21, 2012 at the Dolores Community Center at 7:00 pm. Topics of discussion will focus on anticipated water releases to the lower Dolores River and an overview of the Dolores Project.

If you have any questions, please contact Vern Harrell at [email protected] or 970-565-0865.
 

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I thought the meeting went fairly well. It is a matter of educating boaters on the amount of flexibility and the difficulties in estimating late runoff inflow into the reservoir, which directly impacts downstream releases when it's full.

Water districts are very conservative when it comes to water supply for their customers. On top of that, once in the early 2000's the reservoir didn't fill when water was released for downstream boatable flows. This occurred going into a series of drought years, which caused shortages for water customers and a long time to recover the reservoir storage (remember the years in a row of no boatable flows?). This is still very fresh in the minds of the District, so every effort is made to make sure the reservoir fills before considering recreational or downstream releases.

However, the reservoir can only store so much, so any inflow that is greater than the storage available will be released downstream. The operators allow for downstream releases to begin prior to filling the reservoir completely, in order to smooth out the release, but the backside of the release hydrograph is very tricky. When the SNOTEL stations are all melted out, there is still some inflow expected, but there is not a good way to quantify that amount. During this time, the forecasters are running blind, and it is very difficult to estimate the remaining inflow. This is when the operators will be on the conservative side and ramp down in case the remaining inflow is very little. In most years, there is usually more inflow, and that is why you see the back end fluctuations in releases.

I believe there are some ways that the reservoir operations can be tightened up to some extent with some new forecasting and reservoir operating tools, but don't expect a perfect pre-defined schedule of boatable flows, mother nature is too variable for that. Also remember that a full reservoir is good news for boaters and farmers alike.
 

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don't expect a perfect pre-defined schedule of boatable flows, mother nature is too variable for that.
If Mother Nature was in charge we could plan trips on the Dolores in the Spring and enjoy it. Unfortunately Mother Concrete is in charge and she is frugal these days...

Thanks for all the information Ryan. I'm really hoping for a late May run this year so any continued updates from anyone in the know would be helpful. I'll post anything I find out.

Remember people, this is why we oppose dams. This big, fat tributary of the mighty Colorado is dying - and for shitty reasons. We could conserve water, waste less on absurd methods of finding oil by private businesses, and save rivers like the Dolores!
 

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I agree the Dolores was my first multi day trip so it is a special place to me. It's a shame a relatively small bunch of farmers can control a river with a dam that we paid for and water that they pay a fraction of the cost. In other words the water that these farmers get almost free is subsidized by people who have very little say.


If Mother Nature was in charge we could plan trips on the Dolores in the Spring and enjoy it. Unfortunately Mother Concrete is in charge and she is frugal these days...

Thanks for all the information Ryan. I'm really hoping for a late May run this year so any continued updates from anyone in the know would be helpful. I'll post anything I find out.

Remember people, this is why we oppose dams. This big, fat tributary of the mighty Colorado is dying - and for shitty reasons. We could conserve water, waste less on absurd methods of finding oil by private businesses, and save rivers like the Dolores!
 

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I agree the Dolores was my first multi day trip so it is a special place to me. It's a shame a relatively small bunch of farmers can control a river with a dam that we paid for and water that they pay a fraction of the cost. In other words the water that these farmers get almost free is subsidized by people who have very little say.
That was a great trip--wasn't that the trip when you lost your wedding ring--and your exwife thought we went to the strip club in Grand Junction? I remember the river was running at 4000+. Around 1992 I think.
 

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Did he lose the ring at the club?


:)
What's funny is, he lost it while we were sitting around the fire in the old style aluminum lawn chairs--while we were swapping lies about prior accomplishments, his chair collapsed and the ring went flying. Grand Marnier probably caused that.
 
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