Pacific Gas and Electric Company is warning the public to take extra safety precautions this weekend and next, when flows will be higher on a portion of the North Fork Feather River.
Sept. 16 and 17 and the following weekend, Sept. 23 and 24, have been designated for higher flows for whitewater recreation, part of PG&E’s licensing agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
During the higher flows this part of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are only appropriate for skilled paddlers. These high flows not appropriate for tubing, said Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesman.
“These high flows not appropriate for tubing.”Paul Moreno, PG&E spokesman
The Rock Creek Reach is the 8.3-mile portion of the North Fork of the Feather River in the Plumas National Forest between PG&E’s Rock Creek Dam and the Rock Creek Powerhouse near Storrie. By 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, flows will be increased to 1,100 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) before starting to reduce at 2 p.m. to 900 cfs. On Sunday, Sept. 17, flows will be at 900 cfs until 2 p.m. when flows will be gradually reduced to the season normal of approximately 400 cfs.
The following weekend, flows will increase to at least 900 cfs by Saturday, Sept. 23 and held until 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 before being gradually reduced to approximately 400 cfs.
Due to construction work along Highway 70, boaters should be aware that they can still put in at Rock Creek Bench and take out across from Rock Crest Camp near Storrie. But due to road work limiting access, the Rock Creek Inlet will not be available for parking or to take out. Boaters may also boat downstream to the Cresta Reach, where flows are about 1,250 cfs. They can take out at Cresta Powerhouse, Moreno said.
The recreational flows are conducted in cooperation with the American Whitewater organization and the Rock Creek–Cresta Ecological Resource Committee and are usually held four weekends a year in June, July, August and September. No recreational flows were held in June due to the closure of Highway 70, so the Sept. 16-17 higher flows are making up for no higher flows in June.
PG&E offers the following water safety tips:
- Stay out of cold water. Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
- Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are strongly recommended.
- Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides, sub-surface obstacles, fast moving water, and transitions to full tunnels and pipes. For more water safety tips visit: www.pge.com/hydrosafety
Information submitted by PG&E