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High water flows can be fun for kayakers, but dangerous for others. PG&E advises caution during three days of planned high water in early April. Feather Publishing file photo

PG&E advises caution on North Fork Feather River during high water flows April 2-3, 9

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges the public to take extra safety precautions as water flows will be higher for three days in early April for whitewater recreation on the North Fork Feather River.

The higher flows will occur below Rock Creek and Cresta dams the weekend of April 2-3 and again on Saturday, April 9, below Rock Creek Dam. These portions of the river will contain 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. Just downstream is the Cresta Reach, which is the 4.9-mile portion of the river between Cresta Dam and Cresta Powerhouse.

For the Rock Creek Reach on Saturday, April 2, flows will be increased from 700 cfs to 800 cubic feet per second (cfs) and held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. before being reduced to 700 cfs and held through 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3. After 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3, flows will be gradually reduced to about 500 cfs. On Saturday, April 9, flows will ramped up from 500 cfs to 800 cfs and held at the higher flow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. before being gradually ramped back down to base flow.

For the Cresta Reach on the weekend of April 2 and 3, flows will be increased from 420 cfs to 750 cfs by 9 a.m. Saturday, then returned to 420 cfs after 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The recreational flows are conducted in cooperation with the American Whitewater organization, the Rock Creek–Cresta Ecological Resource Committee and the U.S. Forest Service. The April flows in the Rock Creek Reach are being scheduled to make up for higher flows not held in 2021 due to wildfire closures as well as weather and highway closures.

Additional flows in the Rock Creek Reach are usually held four weekends a year in June, July, August and September. During dry and critically dry water year types such as this year, no recreational flows are held 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


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