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A Political Theorist
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Wax Up the Emerald Mile - Watch for Overtopping

Previous Elevation 6909.43 Ft Present Elevation 6912.08 Ft Full Reservoir Elevation 6924.00 Ft
 

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CBrow
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I feel lucky to have run Ponderosa gorge and the Big Gyp to Bedrock sections in 2010 and 2011. We may never again have enough water in McPhee to allow for a boatable discharge. The boating community got left on the sideline when the "rules" were made for this river. Sad, very sad indeed. :(
 

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A Political Theorist
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Spring Storms Might Force a Release

Absolutely no generosity or credit due the Dolores Water Lords. The release will only happen if, and only if, McPhee is full and can hold no more. If storms coincide with a warm-up in the high country - who knows what 2016 may bring (or take out).

Monday May 16, 2016
McPhee Downstream Release Update


Recent heavy precipitation last week and coming this week puts McPhee back on track for a SMALL & SHORT spill.May mid-month CBRFC Forecast is back up to 245 KAF inflow to McPhee recognizing above average precipitation last week and on-going. Combined with a cool slow start to irrigation season, Mcphee has passed elevation 6912, only 12 more feet until full. Watch the Lake Elevation page for midnight updates. McPhee should hit elevation 6920' next week and we will announce any planned boating releases. A boating release will likely cover the Memorial Day weekend and last 5 - 10 days at 1,000 +/- CFS. Releases could ramp up late next week. Stay tuned for more updates later this week as we assess the full storm affect (CBRFC) and other flow and diversion conditions.
 

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Claiming this from the last Dolores thread...


"Well,

I'd be willing to wager that the present snowpack has been inaccurately gauged, the reservoir will reach full pool, and the Dam crew will have to spill water.

The spillage, however, will come in the form of a poorly planned slow leak that never reaches "boatable flows".


But I'm going to go ahead and amend to add that the spill will last much longer than they claim, so if you miss Mem day weekend, you can still get some. However there will be no advanced notice that they will continue spilling. Or they will ramp down, but inflow will continue, so they will let the water dribble out, but at a minimal flow, as capacity is exceeded. ....dipshits.
 

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Claiming this from the last Dolores thread...


"Well,

I'd be willing to wager that the present snowpack has been inaccurately gauged, the reservoir will reach full pool, and the Dam crew will have to spill water.

The spillage, however, will come in the form of a poorly planned slow leak that never reaches "boatable flows".


But I'm going to go ahead and amend to add that the spill will last much longer than they claim, so if you miss Mem day weekend, you can still get some. However there will be no advanced notice that they will continue spilling. Or they will ramp down, but inflow will continue, so they will let the water dribble out, but at a minimal flow, as capacity is exceeded. ....dipshits.
Sounds like you been on this ride before... ;) Yeah, I expect your prediction to be pretty accurate.
 

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Sounds like you been on this ride before... ;) Yeah, I expect your prediction to be pretty accurate.
Grumper,

I am curious. Where have they gone wrong? I have been looking at the site and until the last 4-5 days it was looking slim from the data I could find (NOAA/CRBF, NRCS, etc). It sounds like locals had a good guess a better spill was going to happen.

Its obvious snotel gauges are limited in the area which would affect predictions though the long term average would still be useful. But if a basin/headwaters area got saturated with snow and was not reflected in their measurements that would have a massive influence on predictions.

Thoughts? Curious to know how to better read the situation in the future.

Phillip
 

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Grumper,

I am curious. Where have they gone wrong? I have been looking at the site and until the last 4-5 days it was looking slim from the data I could find (NOAA/CRBF, NRCS, etc). It sounds like locals had a good guess a better spill was going to happen.

Its obvious snotel gauges are limited in the area which would affect predictions though the long term average would still be useful. But if a basin/headwaters area got saturated with snow and was not reflected in their measurements that would have a massive influence on predictions.

Thoughts? Curious to know how to better read the situation in the future.

Phillip

Sorry for interjecting -- seeing as you were asking someone else's opinion, however, here goes my short version..

Snotell aggregation rarely tells an accurate story of a watershed that spans nearly 7,000 vertical feet of elevation range. As an example, spring weather can cause every station below 10,000 feet to melt out - meanwhile snow accumulates copiously at the few high elevation stations -- they should know not to rely on the average of the watershed.

Further, the vast majority of snowpack is stored up high on north faces and gullies. So even if early runoff appears very weak, it could be another month before weather warms adequately to release the bulk of the snowpack. By then the damkeepers are caught off guard and make release decisions which do not benefit boaters.

It seems every year that the dam does fill, the damkeepers are way off in their analysis, predictions, and guidance to boaters.
 

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Sorry for interjecting -- seeing as you were asking someone else's opinion, however, here goes my short version..

Snotell aggregation rarely tells an accurate story of a watershed that spans nearly 7,000 vertical feet of elevation range. As an example, spring weather can cause every station below 10,000 feet to melt out - meanwhile snow accumulates copiously at the few high elevation stations -- they should know not to rely on the average of the watershed.

Further, the vast majority of snowpack is stored up high on north faces and gullies. So even if early runoff appears very weak, it could be another month before weather warms adequately to release the bulk of the snowpack. By then the damkeepers are caught off guard and make release decisions which do not benefit boaters.

It seems every year that the dam does fill, the damkeepers are way off in their analysis, predictions, and guidance to boaters.

Yes, all that.

And, to be clear, I'm no more an expert on this stuff than anyone else, I just live in the area and try to track things.

Besides being overly cautious by nature (they'd rather surprise than disappoint), they (the dam operators/water managers) have become way too dependent on snotel data, which is incomplete and misleading. They actually need to GET OUT in the field a little, and go look at the snow and take samples, etc. I know a number of local USFS employees and backcountry skiers who've been saying for weeks that there is a lot more snow up there than is suggested by the snotels. One USFS friend told me they are way behind on seasonal road openings because of the snow.

Sooo.....
 

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Yeah, the field efforts in Idaho are a great example of the benefits of supplementary field work. The snotel info is definitely limited in that area but can be misleading in general. I know my home basin can differ noticeably from year to year and isn't always reflected by the available data.

Thanks for sharing guys. Local expertise is always appreciated.

Phillip
 

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Yeah, the field efforts in Idaho are a great example of the benefits of supplementary field work. The snotel info is definitely limited in that area but can be misleading in general. I know my home basin can differ noticeably from year to year and isn't always reflected by the available data.

Thanks for sharing guys. Local expertise is always appreciated.

Phillip
Yeah and thanks for your part, too. And to address part of your earlier post about what might bring about change (paraphrasing): It's gonna have to be cultural or a legal mandate. The water managers in this area don't really take our concerns (rec, fish, habitat) seriously, they just stay in the conversation out of obligation and a fear that the feds might come in and dictate policy to us all. I could go on and on, but I'll stop there.

LET'S GO BOATIN'!
 

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No Flow

It seems to happen every year we have a release and it works as a self regulating permit system. Six weeks ago everybody was planning to be on the Dolores which would have made the place a zoo. Now most folks have made other plans and the crowds shouldn't be nearly as bad.... I've seen them wait until the Thursday before Memorial Day to announce a spill. I'd say indicators of a spill this year was/is... No wind, no dust, saturated soil, higher elevation snow... El Diente snotel site is just over 10,000 feet. It looks like we're going to be running the River of Sorrows this year! Unless the dam operators do something stupid.
 

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I had originally hoped it would happen this coming week. Might have to scramble to put together a crew for the week after Memorial Day. Now just to find a way to explain to my boss why I need to reschedule and the rarity of this river flowing.

Like so many here I have a fondness for this river. It was the first section of whitewater I ever rowed and it still has my favorite camp of any river after 13 years of rafting.

Sadly, I don't think I can get my wife to go with such short notice. We scored a Yampa permit for the first time for mid-June and we have already planned out her vacations days. Maybe the "flu" will sweep through our household around then :^)

Phillip
 

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Dolores SlickRock Access

I called the BLM today to find out the latest details. What a mess. Their weblinks don't work. In addition, I found out that as of 5-16-16, Slickrock access is no longer, see below. I have a voice mail into the BLM guy to find out more.

Subject: Slickrock boat launch

Shannon, the Slick Rock boat access along the Dolores is on private land. In the past, it has been made available to the public for use (at a charge, I believe). I received a call from the landowner this morning, and he is not going to make his land available for use this year. That would be a pretty big deal IF there was a flow (which right now looks like a negative). Nonetheless, he would like us to take Slickrock off our our webpage. I looked at the webpage this morning. Pasted below is what we have on our webpage, along with my notes in RED as to how I think we should make adjustments:
Bradfield Launch to Slick Rock*
*The access point at Slick Rock located on private property. As of 5/16/16, the landowner has made the BLM aware that he will not be opening his property up to public use. Please respect private property rights and do not attempt to access the Dolores River at this location. The nearest BLM provided river access is located at the Gypsum Valley Recreation Site (see Gypsum Valley Boat Launch Map linked here).
 

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I called the BLM today to find out the latest details. What a mess. Their weblinks don't work. In addition, I found out that as of 5-16-16, Slickrock access is no longer, see below. I have a voice mail into the BLM guy to find out more.

Subject: Slickrock boat launch

Shannon, the Slick Rock boat access along the Dolores is on private land. In the past, it has been made available to the public for use (at a charge, I believe). I received a call from the landowner this morning, and he is not going to make his land available for use this year. That would be a pretty big deal IF there was a flow (which right now looks like a negative). Nonetheless, he would like us to take Slickrock off our our webpage. I looked at the webpage this morning. Pasted below is what we have on our webpage, along with my notes in RED as to how I think we should make adjustments:
Bradfield Launch to Slick Rock*
*The access point at Slick Rock located on private property. As of 5/16/16, the landowner has made the BLM aware that he will not be opening his property up to public use. Please respect private property rights and do not attempt to access the Dolores River at this location. The nearest BLM provided river access is located at the Gypsum Valley Recreation Site (see Gypsum Valley Boat Launch Map linked here).
Dang. I had called around and gotten the owner's phone number and was planning to call....but now I guess I won't bother. Yeah, it will have an impact on some folks' plans, for sure.
 

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So you'd have to go 14 miles further or lose that much on Slickrock to Bedrock?

Is camping allowed along the stretch from Dove Crk pump station to below Snaggletooth?It has been a long time since we were there ,how is the road,both descending to the river and beyond Snaggletooth?
 
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