American Whitewater 2019 Release Schedules

Of course with 2019 shaping up to be a WET water year type there will be plenty of paddling options to choose from. Here are some of the releases American Whitewater negotiated with hydropower projects across California. More to follow as we confirm dates or opportunities. Also, remember dates are subject to change given certain circumstances i.e. facility malfunction, wild fire etc. so don’t hesitate to check out the release information on our website for all updates.

American Whitewater Release Calendar

Slab Creek Class V

April 13 & 14 10am – 4pm 1000 cfs

April 27 & 28 10am – 4pm 1100cfs

May 4 & 5 10am – 4pm 1100 cfs

Take-Out Reminder:

Please DO NOT BLOCK the road when parking and taking out at Mosquito Road Bridge – it is one of two roadways for Swansboro residents and needs to remain clear.

On all scheduled release days, interim take-out at Rock Creek will be opened from 10am – 4pm. Gates will close at 4pm so plan your trips accordingly to avoid locking you vehicles in at the take-out.

Flow Level Notes:

Be patient boating public! We expect SMUD to have the Powerhouse and Boating Flow Valve operational for 2020 and beyond. When these facilities are up an running SMUD will have the ability to control flow through the full range of license required flows of 800 cfs to 1500 cfs.

In the meantime, however, since the Slab Creek Powerhouse and Boating Flow Valve are not yet operational, SMUD will be coordinating spill over the dam which for lack of better words is one flow ON or OFF. SMUD will focus on reaching the designated target flow but keep in mind these flows will be subject to SMUD’s ability to control spill. (Check gauges before you venture out).

Ice House South Fork Silver Creek Class IV -

We are in a WET year thus far for the Upper American River Project watershed thus we get 9 days of scheduled recreational flow on Ice House.

June 8 10am – 3pm 400 cfs

June 9 10am – 3pm 500 cfs

June 15 10am – 3pm 400 cfs

June 16 10am – 3 pm 500 cfs

June 22 10am – 3 pm 400 cfs

June 23 10am – 3 pm 500 cfs

June 28 Friday 10am – 3pm 400 cfs

June 29 & 30 10am – 3 pm 500 cfs

Rock Creek North Fork Feather Class III thru Class V

June 1 9 am – 3 pm 1100 cfs

June 2 midnight – 2 pm 900 cfs

July 27 9 am – 3 pm 1100 cfs

July 28 midnight – 2 pm 900 cfs

Aug 24 9 am – 3 pm 1100 cfs

Aug 25 midnight – 2 pm 900 cfs

Sept 28 FEATHER FESTIVAL 9 am – 3 pm 900 cfs

Sept 29 FEATHER FESTIVAL midnight – 2 pm 900 cfs

Pit 5 Class III+ thru IV

Aug 10 & 11 10 am – 4 pm 1500 cfs

Sept 14&15 10 am – 4 pm 1200 cfs

Pit 1 Class II thru IV

Oct 5 & 6 8 am – 6 pm Actual flow can vary depending on inflow. 900 cfs

Oct 19 & 20 8 am – 6 pm Actual flow can vary depending on inflow. 900 cfs


Just a reminder that this weekend there will be Slab Creek Recreational Flows required by SMUD’s Hydropower License. Tomorrow’s flow target is 1000 cfs but keep in mind coordinating spill over a dam is not an exact science so check your river gauges!!

During the 2019 Slab Creek recreation streamflow releases, the USFS will be managing the parking and access activities at the put-in at Slab Creek Dam. Gates should be open from approximately 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. While the USFS has determined the road is safe for travel, caution should be exercised given the recent wet winter.

Similarly, a contractor, under the direction of the BLM, will be managing the parking and access activities at the take-out at Rock Creek powerhouse (10441 Rock Creek Rd.). Gates should be open from approximately 6:30 am until 5:30 pm. A reminder that there is no legal boater take out from PG&E’s Chili Bar Reservoir. The interim take out facility at Rock Creek Powerhouse is the last opportunity for boaters to exit the river.…/River/detail/…/147/

Coloma Shuttle will be offering shuttle for 2019 we hope to start doing this on Sunday, April 14th. We will need to meet our minimum ridership numbers. So if you are interested in getting a ride give me a call at 530-303-2404


Water temperatures are approaching a seven day average of 12˚ C which is the threshold that signals egg laying for Foothill Yellow Legged Frog (FYLF). These frogs are a State and Federal species of concern and may soon be listed as endangered, as such SMUD’s hydropower license has required conditions to provide habitat as if FYLF exist on Slab Creek. If this temperature threshold is met recreational flows will be cancelled. Otherwise, SMUD will target flows of 1100 cfs. Please check the AW river page for Slab Creek or your gauges before departing.


This just in from SMUD Happy Paddling! “Given the cool weather experienced this week in the SF American watershed, the 7DMAVG temperature at SFAR 6 stands at 11.6º C. At this point, given the prior 6 day’s water temperature data, the daily mean would need to be 16° C today for the 7-day moving average to exceed the Adaptive Management threshold of 12° C by this Friday, the day which SMUD committed to providing information on whether or not the recreation flows would occur. Considering the current meteorological forecast, realizing a 16° C daily mean at SFAR 6 is practically impossible. Furthermore, I have been informed that SMUD still expects no issues managing spills at Slab Creek Dam to ≤1,500 cfs, with a good likelihood of being able to maintain the targeted 1,100 cfs.”


Just an update that access to Tiger Creek put-in from highway 26 is still CLOSED. AW is currently working on an alternative route with PG&E and our ERC partners Foothill Conservancy. The alternative route is via highway 88 to and thru the McKenzie Road gate. However, PG&E is also working on a busted drum gate on the TC facilities and has closed this access until a coffer dam is completed - eta on completion possibly next week. AW is pushing to get PG&E to open this access gate on weekends NOW before boatable flow opportunities pass us by. I will post more news when I get it.


Correction from PG&E- 8/8 through 8/11 are the dates they will be reducing flow to 35 Cfs. They will continue to release now at maximum until 8/8 when flows will be reduced for the annual Sierra Trek event. Flows will go back up to maximum release after this event which they forecast to be in the range of 300 cfs and slowly drop off. So get your Fordyce laps in while you can!


This just in from PG&E - Pit 3 & 4 powerhouses tripped offline making it impossible to provide the scheduled recreational flows on Pit 5 for this weekend. Apologies to folks who made the trip out today. They will be rescheduled - stay tuned.


Nevada Irrigation District (NID) has informed American Whitewater of an opportunity for boating flow releases on Canyon Creek (CA). Paddlers may recall NID was unable to supply flows last year so make sure to put this on your calendar!

NID’s current plan is to begin the large flow release by September 12th and maintain the release rate until they reach the target lake level in French Lake. This will likely provide between 7-10 days of boating flow opportunity.

American Whitewater is following up for real-time gauge information or a forecast of when flows will be in a boating flow range - stay tuned.…/detail/id/6363/


American Whitewater has received the flow forecast for Canyon Creek. Chris Shackleton took the time to detail here -

PIT 5 (CA) UPDATE FROM Pacific Gas & Electric:

"After heavy lightnings storms prevented the original Pit 5 whitewater release weekend in August, the California Independent System Operator (CALISO) has now approved PG&E’s request to reschedule the Pit 5 recreation releases this coming weekend on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 – 6. Please note, the Pit 1 recreation releases will also be taking place this weekend from Pit 1 Forebay in Fall River Mills.

Starting early in the morning of Saturday, October 5, PG&E will gradually begin to increase flows up to 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) by 10 a.m. Flows will be held until 4 p.m. and then be gradually reduced to 600 cfs. The higher flows will be repeated the next day on October 6 at the same times, then, after 4 p.m., Sunday, gradually decreased to more normal seasonal flow levels of about 450 cfs."


Not the best news to pass on but AW wanted to get this information out ASAP. South Feather Water & Power will be cutting the draft at LGVD earlier than planned. There is project equipment still floating on barges downstream of Sly Reservoir and elevations are too close to spilling.

“Due to the lack of generation being scheduled at Sly Powerhouse and rising Sly Reservoir elevations flows will continue through this weekend and begin reducing next Monday 10/07/19. The draft will be cut to between 50 and 100 Cfs by Wednesday 10/09/19”



Dave Crespo, Sacramento Municipal Utility District Senior Project Manager, informs America Whitewater that the Slab Creek Powerhouse and Boating Flow Valve project is estimated to be complete by June or July of 2020.

Current construction is at full speed and necessitates the closure of public vehicle access North of the Gate at Slab Creek Dam Road. American Whitewater asks the boating community to heed this closure so SMUD can complete the project work in a timely manner.

On or around November 4, 2019 the White Rock Tunnel will again be dewatered so SMUD can finish maintenance work in the tunnel. This outage of White Rock tunnel could once again provide opportunity for recreational flows through spill over Slab Creek reservoir. Tentatively, SMUD plans to open vehicle access on weekends starting November 9, 2019. American Whitewater will check back in with Dave Crespo to get the confirmation of vehicle access so please stay tuned!…/River/detail/…/147/

South Fork American River below Slab Creek (CA)

Slab Creek will have opportunistic flows while the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) performs maintenance on the White Rock Tunnel. This work is scheduled to last thru the end of February or first part of March.

Access will remain fluid throughout as construction of the SMUD Slab Creek Powerhouse and Boating Flow Release Valve continues. AW is in contact with Dave Crespo, Sacramento Municipal Utility District Senior Project Manager, who will keep us posted on current conditions.

Right now heavy “bulk” deliveries for construction and concrete pours necessitate vehicle & pedestrian access to be CLOSED on Wednesday November 6th and Thursday November 14th. On all other dates access will be OPEN to PEDESTRIAN traffic thru November 19.

A big THANK YOU to Dave Crespo & SMUD for keeping us informed.

Stay tuned for any changes and vehicle access updates.

Thanks for the update, this is great news! Any possibility we can get that top gate opened now? It’s not necessarily that the hike is difficult It is however the difference between some people deciding to not go boating, and for others it stops us from getting multiple laps. I doubt this is possible, but when they do release can we ask that they release earlier? It keeps hitting peak flows after dark.

There’s hardly any room at put in and less at take out (so please your roof racks in lieu of a trailer). At the take out we had two different vehicles drive by us and yell pretty unwelcoming things, one guy who more politely expressed his loathing of us, and some that made some pretty negative body language aimed our direction. We weren’t blocking the road. I’d encourage everyone to continue staying as far off the road as possible and spend a minimal amount of time there. Kill the locals with kindness when they confront you, and while boaters typically never leave trash, continue picking any up if you see it. Hoping they make that new bridge soon so locals crossing through won’t be in contact with us. This section is really fun, boofy, convenient, and beautiful. Not to mention that it seems to flow when nothing else is in. I’d hate to have the local community pushing against anything that will make it easier for us to access.

Also, if you swim on slab creek you have to stop by one of the local wineries for a booty wine. Support local business

The water going over slab Creek dam is not Whitewater Recreation. This water would normally be going through a tube so we just get what we get. I contacted Dave on November 10th and he told me that no vehicle access would be allowed. Like you I was under the impression that we would have some decent access but Dave did not make it sound that way at all.

Slab Creek Access Update

Here’s the latest from Dave:
The gate will be closed for vehicular access. Pedestrian traffic only. For more information please call Darold Perry at our Fresh Pond office at: 530-647-5010.