Pacific Gas and Electric Company is urging the public to take extra safety precautions this weekend, as water flows will be increased for whitewater recreation October 1st and 2nd below Poe Dam on the North Fork Feather River.
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.
Poe Reach is the 7.6 -mile portion of the North Fork of the Feather River in the Plumas National Forest in Butte County, between PG&E’s Poe Dam near Pulga and the Poe Powerhouse just upstream of Lake Oroville.
On October 1st, flows will be gradually increased from 350 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) to 1,400 cfs by 9:00a.m. before being gradually reduced to 1,000 cfs starting at 3:00p.m.
On October 2nd, flows will again be increased to 1,400 cfs by 9:00a.m. After 3:00p.m., flows will be gradually reduced to 200 cfs.
The recreational flows are conducted in cooperation with the American Whitewater organization and the Poe Recreation River Flow Technical Review Group. The flows are usually held annually the second weekend in October between 9:00a.m. and 3:00p.m.; however, the RTRG has moved the flows to the first weekend in October this year.
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