Latest Update on Spring Releases for the San Juan Quality Water

The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled an increase in the release from Navajo Reservoir from 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1000 cfs starting Thursday, April 27th, starting at 1:00 am.  The release will stay at this level until the spring peak release begins.  Releases are made for the authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit, and to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell).

The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program recommends a target base flow of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area.  The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area.

The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled this year's spring peak release from Navajo Reservoir. Reclamation will begin to increase the release on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 at 7:00 AM. The ramp-up to 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) may take up to 16 days, as increases will be made based on river conditions and coordination with local agencies.  A notice will be sent out prior to each release increase on the way to 5,000 cfs.  The release is scheduled to remain at 5,000 cfs for up to 35 days, or until the spring runoff on the Animas River is complete. If the ramp-up duration takes 16 days and all 35 days at peak are utilized, the release will begin decreasing on Friday, June 23rd at approximately 7:00 AM, reaching 500 cfs on Thursday, July 6th, where it will remain until further notice.  

The shape and timing of the hydrograph have been coordinated with the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program to balance Recovery Program benefits with flood control and operational safety. During spring operations, releases from the Navajo Unit will be made in an attempt to remain at or below the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers safe channel capacity of 5,000 cfs between Navajo Reservoir and the confluence with the Animas River in Farmington, and 12,000 cfs downstream of Farmington.  The release may be changed or reduced if the precipitation forecast shows a risk of exceeding safe channel capacity in the San Juan River.

Areas in the immediate vicinity of the river channel may be unstable and dangerous. Please use extra caution near the river channel and protect or remove any valuable property in these areas.

Please stay tuned as a notice will be sent out for each release change.  Notices will also be posted to our website.  If you have any questions, or would like further information, please contact the Western Colorado Area Office at 970-385-6500, or Susan Behery at 970-385-6560 or

For Navajo Reservoir Operations and information, visit



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