PG&E urges safety during highwater flows

Pacific Gas and Electric Company urges the public to take extra safety precautions as water flows will be higher through the weekend of April 10-11 for whitewater recreation on a portion of the North Fork Feather River. This is in addition to the pulse flows happening April 7-9 below the Poe Dam further downstream in Butte County.

During the higher flows this part of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are only appropriate for skilled paddlers, and not appropriate for tubing.

The Cresta Reach is the 6.5-mile portion of the North Fork of the Feather River in the Plumas National Forest between PG&E’s Cresta dam and the Cresta powerhouse between Pulga and Storrie.

By 9 a.m. Saturday, April 10, flows will be increased to 750 cubic feet per second, with the higher flows maintained until 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 11. Flows will then be gradually reduced until reaching the required release of 100 cfs. Actual flows in the reach will likely be higher due to the contribution of tributaries.

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. During dry years such as 2021, a recreational flow is held in April flow on the Cresta Reach with only three higher flows on the Rock Creek Reach.

Due to the pandemic, PG&E advises recreationalists to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household.

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.

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