PG&E urges caution this weekend on Feather River

Pacific Gas and Electric Company urges the public to take extra safety precautions as water flows are now higher and will be through the weekend of June 1 and 2 for whitewater recreation in the Rock Creek Reach of the North Fork Feather River in Plumas County.

This portion 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.

Starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, PG&E will maintain flows at 1,100 cubic feet per second until 3 p.m. Flows will then be gradually reduced to 900 cfs and held through Sunday, June 2, at 2 p.m. Afterward, flows will gradually decrease in the following days, depending on wet weather, but will go no lower than 450 cfs.

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The recreational flows are done in cooperation with American Whitewater and the Rock Creek-Cresta Ecological Resource Committee and are usually done four weekends a year in summer. This year’s schedule of higher flows will occur on the weekends of July 27-28, Aug. 24-25 and Sept. 28-29.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

– 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 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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For more water safety tips visit: www.pge.com/hydrosafety.