Ear to the ground

“Come on. That was so two hours ago.”

-A cyber-news nut responding to someone else’s revelation that Jerry Falwell had died

The flood gates open

The Dolores lives! In an unannounced and last-minute move, the Bureau of Reclamation returned water to the parched river west of Durango last week. At press time, nearly 2,200 cfs of water was leaving McPhee Reservoir, and boatable flows were forecasted to last at least through the weekend.

Flows on the Lower Dolores have been stunted for more than 20 years since the McPhee Reservoir dam was completed. While agriculture has benefited from the reservoir, the character of the Dolores River – which includes several of the West’s great river runs – has been greatly altered. The impact has been especially noticeable since 2000, when regular releases from the dam slowed to near standstill.

However, Mother Nature intervened this week, and the water buffaloes had to let a little bit of flow leak downstream this week. In an e-mail intercepted by the Durango Telegraph’s crack investigative team, the Bureau of Reclamation explained that McPhee had reached its optimal level. With inflow approaching 3,000 cfs on the Dolores above McPhee, the flood gates had to be opened.

“We began increasing flows the morning of May 14 with the intention of going to an 800 cfs release by the end of the day to maintain storage in the reservoir,” the correspondence reads. “At present we are experiencing inflows in the range of 3,000 cfs with reservoir demands near 500 cfs. Releases will be increased to as necessary to maintain reservoir elevation.”

At last check, the Bureau planned to release at least 1,000 cfs from the reservoir every day through May 22. Visit www.doloreswater.com and click on “Releases” for the latest info.

Iron Horse sells out

Off-the-couchers take note. Last minute registration is definitely not going to fly at this year’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. At press time, the May 26 race and tour between Durango and Silverton had sold out.

This year, the Iron Horse decided to implement a rider cap of 2,500 on the number of riders in road race and tour. The decision was based on several factors including rider safety, community impacts to Silverton and Durango, demands on law enforcement and ensuring a quality experience for the participants.

Registration is still available in the criterium, scheduled for Sun., May 27, through downtown. For information, visit www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com.


In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down