Pacific Gas and Electric Company urges the public to take extra safety precautions as water flows will be higher through the weekends of Sept. 16-17 and 23-24 on a portion of the North Fork Feather River, for whitewater recreation.
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 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 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 and can take out at Cresta Powerhouse.
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
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.