There is still time to boat the Dolores River below McPhee Dam.
A whitewater release might continue into early July while the last of the remaining snowpack comes off the high peaks.
Managers are topping off McPhee Reservoir, which is 5 inches from full. Excess water continues to be released downstream for recreation.
Releases are expected to remain at 1,200 cubic feet per second through Thursday and at or above 1,000 cfs through Sunday.
The gradual rampdown from 800 cfs to basic fishery flows of about 150 cfs is expected to begin in early July and should last about a week before the spill ends.
However, the forecast is subject to change day to day. As a result of the variation of inflows caused by diurnal shifts and unpredictable weather patterns, it is possible releases will fluctuate during the next seven to 10 days.
Above-average winter snowfall and cool weather have allowed significant snowpack to hold on in the mountains into summer. The situation made the runoff forecast difficult and delayed the filling of the reservoir until late June.
Initial predictions were for a one- to two-week whitewater release below the dam. Wednesday, the boating release hit five weeks.
Over the weekend, inflows dropped more steeply after colder weather than the River Forecast Center projected, officials said, and McPhee is not as full as managers predicted.
Dolores Water District technician Eric Sprague says the question is, “How much of the drop in inflows is reduction of snowmelt due to the cold weather, and how much is the drop in inflows from the snowpack running out?”
To guarantee the reservoir will fill completely, if there is an indication within the next two or three days that the snow is running out, managers may be forced to start the spill rampdown earlier, potentially before the end of the month.
Regular updates on McPhee Dam releases are posted on the Dolores Water Conservancy District website under releases.