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Discussion Starter #1
I have two weekday trip permits for Rio Chama. One is Aug 4-6 (Tues-Thurs), and the other Aug 17-19 (Mon-Wed). It is just my wife and I in 13 ft raft so would like to have a boat or two more rather than go solo. Bureau Of Rec tells me the flows should be somewhere around 500 then so should be enough. If interested post here and we can get in touch.
 

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I'd reality check that mid-week flow information. They raise it to 500, but it usually starts early on Friday, and stops mid-day on Sunday. It would be unusual for 500 in August on a Tuesday. They may just be saying they think the weekend releases look likely.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the flow heads up. I am painfuly aware of running the chama at low flows. We did a trip in May, on a weekend with a permit, and the flow was suposed to be around 400. It ended up being 100. Drug the raft a lot. I now have a what appears to be a fairly reliable contact at Buruea of Rec and will not go if flow is not over 300.
 

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Albuquerque Local boaters resources

For additional local audience try posting to the AdobeWhitewater.org site or the Greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe kayak meetup group.
 

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From Chavez down, is even possible to drag it at 100? Late Sunday afternoon has me rowing like a *.* so I don't get stuck. Can you run
Aragon at 100, seems like it would just be pile of rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tip on other places to find floaters in NM, will check it out. On the question of running Rio Chama at 100, first let me say I would not recommend and would never try it again. Aragon was runable, tight fit though, the biggest problem was "gravel bars" and "riffles", just no place to to get through. The rappid below Aragon that is a boulder field was no fun at that level, hung up a lot. We had planned to take out at Big Eddy but took out at Chavez. There were two other groups on the river that weekend, one commercial and one private, both said they had never run at that level and would not do it again. It was my first time on the Chama, it rained and snowed on us too, a memorable adventure.
 

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Plecoptera-I got invited on a Tuesday August 25 launch after striking out in the lottery this year. What do you think the flow will be if 500 cfs is unlikely for midweek? 300 cfs? Any help from you, or others that are in the know about the Chama flow below El Vado, is greatly appreciated, thanks!
 

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Lots of things go into the Chama flows, basically every drop in that river is monitored and accounted for. The Rio Grande in general is in something like its 5th straight year of drought. Scan the gauge data, and you will notice a consistent 100 cfs minimum. That is an environmental release for things like endangered silvery minows.

When there is 'extra' water, such as it is, over on the San Juan drainage, some of it gets pumped out of Navajo thru an inter-mountain straw, and it finds its way down the Chama to heron/el vado/etc. That's basically been their lifeline for the last years. But it isn't a very big straw, and it's all got to be pumped = expensive.

They have agricultural calls, municipal calls, environmental minowy calls, and it ain't a very big straw. So the real question is how much the weekend release will be, since you are almost random on when a mid-week call will occur. They are committing to 500 (for now) on weekends, and I think that is safe. I would be surprised to see a drop more than that. They've been at this a very long time, so generally know what they're doing.
 

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Should be plenty of water

It doesn't sound like anyone has any official flow predictions. I haven't heard an update, but earlier this year, prior to the huge spring boost to the runoff, they were already planning to release 500CFS through the weekdays from Mid July to end of August.

Since then there's been a lot more runoff then was predicted at the time, I'd expect there to be 500CFS during the week.
 

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Thanks for the relevant, albeit depressing background of water management for on the Rio Chama. I had a feeling that was probably going to be the answer with any river that far south that everyone comes to rely on. I'm thinking maybe it's not worth heading down there mid week as it seems impossible to get a straight answer from any of the water managers, Taos BLM, on what the flow will be in advance. I'd hate to make the 8 hr drive only to find out they dropped the flow on us and there isn't enough to boat.
 

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Found this on the Taos BLM website, your mileage may vary:

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2015 Rio Chama Water Forecast

The Rio Chama is currently expected to flow around 300 cfs (plus or minus 50 cfs) until Memorial Day weekend when weekend releases of at least 500 cfs should begin. During June and July weekend releases will continue but weekday releases will respond to irrigation demand and so will be unpredictable.* During the month of August the flows are expected to be a constant 500 cfs weekends and weekdays.
 

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Note the last sentence. I am not burec or blm, so can't say tain't so, but I can say 500 mid-week in August is something that has been unusual the last few year. Certainly, NM can use the water, I doubt if any makes it out of the state.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have heard the same thing, 500 CFS weekdays and weekends in Aug. from Bureau of Rec contact in Albuquerque. I just emailed her asking if she had any updated info on releases from El Vado in August. I will post here when she replies.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I received the following in an email today from Bureau of Rec person in Albuquerque. I had asked about any updates for flow out of El Vado in August, and told her I had two launch dates, one on the 4th and one one the 17th. Here is what she said: "What happens with flows in August will be up to the Albuquerque Water Utility Authority. We had originally received word that they would be moving their water starting in mid-August to mid-September and it would be weekdays and weekends. We've now heard they are reconsidering and may start earlier in August. I would say you're likely to have good flows on the 17th. Right now, I can't say whether they'll pan out for the 4th.
Thanks," If I hear more, I'll post here.
 

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That's actually fairly systematic for burec AAO. But pretty canyon, and GREAT tamales in Chama. Pack some extra food and water and a dayhike pack. I plan on two days just in hot pools on my July trip. As long as you make it to big eddy by 8pm on sunday, no problemo.
 
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