Ear to the ground

“It actually happens every month or two, if you can believe it.”

– A Durango-La Plata County Airport employee comforting two women who had just stepped off the plane in Durango, Colo., rather than Durango, Mexico

The little Dolores

Dolores River rats will have to be on it this year. The dam masters are currently planning only a one-day spill for the lower Dolores, and even that could be a long shot.

Run-off on the lower Dolores – which includes several legendary river runs – has been stunted ever since the final stone was placed on McPhee dam in 1985. On most years, spring run-off above the reservoir has gone as high as 3,000 cubic feet per second yet trickles at a mere 40 cfs below the dam. While local agriculture has benefited, it has come at the expense of river health and recreation.

The lower Dolores has had some of its old flavor restored recently. There was a significant release from McPhee in 2005, and following the banner winter of 2008, the lower Dolores ran from April - June. Last year, local boaters took advantage of two weeks of releases.

But this year will be different. In spite of an epic winter, spring drought, dust and winds have decimated the region’s snowpack. Any storms that did arrive brought little precipitation. As a result, the Dolores Basin’s snowpack is currently at 78 percent of average, and a spill remains a big question mark.

As of press time, all indicators pointed to a one-day spill sometime between May 16-18. Spill or no spill, the dam masters are encouraging boaters to look elsewhere. The upper Dolores is now flowing about 1,000 cfs and headed toward its peak in the next week or two. “This may be all the 2010 rafting available,” said the powers-that-be.

Visit www.doloreswater.com and click on “Releases” for last-minute updates.

Pregnant in Poland

A local favorite is stepping off the Durango stage and into the big time. The Poland Brothers, who mkae up the ska band Warsaw, a longtime fixture at Durango bars and festivals, got their golden ticket recently. Multiple tracks from their album, “First to Fight,” have been licensed to MTV and will run on their series “16 and Pregnant.”

The MTV reality series is produced by Morgan Freemean and follows the stories of girls dealing with the hardships of teen pregnancy. Each episode features a different girl and begins in the second or third term of her pregnancy and typically ends when the baby is a few months old.

There is a touch of irony to the selection of “First to Fight” by the TV giant. The Poland Brothers produced the CD as a musical testament to fighting corporate fascism.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows