AW 2018 California Recreational Releases


#1

I GUESS IT’S NEVER TO EARLY TO TALK ABOUT RECREATIONAL FLOWS!

Ryan was kind enough to inquire about my annual boof thread on recreational flows so I thought I’d get it rolling. As is tradition, I will post here all the scheduled recreational releases American Whitewater helped negotiate on various hydropower projects across California. I will also post any news or opportunities that crosses the AW desk so make sure to check back every now and then. Once flows are finalized I will get them on the AW calendar.

Anyway, let’s get started!

American Whitewater, Private Boater - Hilde Schweitzer, El Dorado County Parks River Recreation Supervisor - Noah Rucker-Triplett and California Outdoors President - Nate Rangel helped SMUD determine preliminary dates for Ice House and Slab Creek. (BTW THANK YOU to all the boaters that answered the AW Poll on Slab Creek preferences – I took that information into account.)

Please note that these are preliminary dates that are based on water year type. Since we are trending toward either a DRY or a BELOW NORMAL water year on the Upper American River watershed the consultation group helped SMUD schedule flows for both.

Your rain dances will help determine if we get the following BELOW NORMAL rec flow schedule for Ice House and Slab Creek (not really but keep dancing just in case!):

SF Silver Creek Below Ice House Dam – Below Normal Water Year Type

CHANGED SEE POST BELOW

SF American River Below Slab Creek Dam – Below Normal Water Year Type

CHANGED SEE POST BELOW

If your rain dances miserably fail (just kidding) we get the following DRY rec flow schedule for Ice House only – NO FLOWS for Slab Creek.

SF Silver Creek Below Ice House Dam – Dry Water Year Type

CHANGED SEE POST BELOW

Once a water year type is finalized I will be sure to get the word out!

Stay tuned American Whitewater will soon be coordinating flows for Pit 1 and Pit 5, NF Feather and the Mokelumne….


#2

CHANGES TO SLAB CREEK & ICE HOUSE SCHEDULE

Okay hopefully everyone noted the previously published rec flow dates for Slab Creek and Ice House were PRELIMINARY because they have changed.

REMEMBER WATER YEAR TYPE WILL DETERMINE WHAT REC FLOWS WE GET

Bulletin 120 issued by the Department of Water Resources reports the water year type for the month. The April Bulletin 120 is typically issued the sixth business day of the month at the soonest, or April 9th. Similarly, the May Bulletin 120 would be issued around May 8th.

Below is the updated schedules for Ice House and Slab Creek based on water year type.

SF Silver Creek Below Ice House Dam Cls IV - Below Normal Water Year Type

10 AM to 3 PM
June 16: 400 cfs
June 23 & 24: 500 cfs
June 30: 400 cfs

SF Silver Creek Below Ice House Dam – Dry Water Year Type

10 AM to 3 PM
May 19: 300 cfs
May 26 & 27: 300 cfs

SF American River Below Slab Creek Dam Cls V

If April Bulletin 120 is Below Normal
10 AM to 4 PM
April 21 & 22: 1,000 cfs
April 28 & 29: 1,100 cfs
May 5 & 6: 1,100 cfs

If April Bulletin 120 is Dry and May is Below Normal
10 AM to 4 PM
May 12 & 13: 1,000 cfs
May 19 & 20: 1,100 cfs
May 26, 27, & 28: 1,100 cfs

If May ends up Dry there will be no recreational releases on Slab.


#3

MOKELUMNE RIVER RECREATIONAL FLOWS 2018

The water year type on the Mokelumne River is forecasted to remain Dry. But we still have many opportunities for boating! American Whitewater presents - your options:

In 2005 recreational flows on Devil’s Nose were discontinued to prevent negative impacts to Foothill Yellow Legged Frogs during the height of the breeding and egg laying season. This year PG&E and the ERC have agreed to test a recreational flow release before this crucial time period in April. The caveat being the available flows per the 2001 hydropower license in Dry years are set at 700 cfs - favorable for inflatable kayaks but likely too low for hardshell. At any rate it was an offer made by PG&E that AW did not refuse.

On Tiger Creek past use numbers monitored by BLM have triggered an extra permanent day of recreational flow. So we gain a day from 6 to 7 days plus we still get 1 day of flow that has been moved from the Ponderosa Run to Tiger Creek due to ongoing access issues. That’s 8 total days for Tiger Creek!

Scheduled recreational releases for the reaches on the Mokelumne River are as follows:

NF Mokelumne River - Devil’s Nose Cls V
CANCELLED SEE POST BELOW

NF Mokelumne Tiger Creek Cls IV
10 AM - 2 PM
700 cfs
April Dates CANCELLED SEE POST BELOW
May 18 (Friday) & 19
May 26 & 27
June 2
June 9

NF Mokelumne Electra Cls II-III
June 3
June 9 & 10
June 16

As always please keep in mind that some dates could change but I’ll post any here!


#4

MOKELUMNE - GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS BUT REALLY GOOD NEWS

Just got off the phone with PG&E regarding this weekends scheduled recreational flows. Good news is this next storm event is going to bring a deluge of rain on snow which will likely bump us from a DRY into a BELOW NORMAL water year for the Mokelumne watershed. Quite literally, a scenario none expected during our Ecological Resource Committee meeting with PG&E and the USFS just last week. So that’s the GOOD NEWS…the BAD NEWS is scheduled recreational flows for APRIL on Devil’s Nose and Tiger Creek are CANCELLED. It is unlikely that PG&E will be able to control these flows and that means there will likely be no Devil’s Nose scheduled recreational flows for this year.

Now back to the GOOD NEWS - all the cancelled scheduled flow dates (4 days) in APRIL on Devil’s Nose and Tiger Creek can be rescheduled in May and June on Tiger Creek. Also, bumping into a Below Normal Year means more flow dates for Electra. The ERC, PG&E and the USFS will be discussing the new dates later this month so stay tuned. I will also try to advocate for at least another Friday flow on Tiger Creek for our friends working commercial trips on the weekends.

More when I have it!


#5

FINAL ICE HOUSE AND SLAB CREEK SCHEDULE

On vacation this week but had to take a little time to share the good news – the April Bulletin 120 from DWR reports we are officially in a BELOW NORMAL water year on the Upper American watershed!!! Soooo here is the final rec flow schedule for Ice House and Slab Creek:

SF Silver Creek Below Ice House

10 AM to 3 PM
June 16: 400 cfs
June 23 & 24: 500 cfs
June 30: 400 cfs

SF American Below Slab Creek

10 AM to 4 PM
April 21 & 22: 1,000 cfs
April 28 & 29: 1,100 cfs
May 5 & 6: 1,100 cfs

There is some bad news and that is the reality on the ground of the take-out options for Slab Creek. SMUD Is not coordinating interim arrangements for take-out at Rock Creek. Therefore, SMUD is reporting that the Rock Creek take-out gate will be closed. YOU CAN TAKE OUT HERE but you will have to hike up to Rock Creek Road. Please do not block the gate here. SMUD is directing folks who choose this option to use the limited parking on Rock Creek Road or to use the limited take-out at Mosquito Road Bridge. (If this changes I’ll let you know)

On another note, please know your take out at Rock Creek from river level. On river landmarks for the take-out are powerlines overhead followed by Rock Creek flowing in on river right. Please keep in mind this is the only legal takeout after Mosquito Road Bridge – PG&E does not allow take out on Chili Bar reservoir.

If you use Mosquito Road Bridge for take-out you are only allowed to park in the limited spots down by the bridge. My usual PSA – PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC ACCESS ACROSS OR AT THE BRIDGE. This bridge is one of only two roadways in and out of the town of Swansboro and locals are understandably rather sensitive to this fact.

At any rate enjoy the recreational flows and know that American Whitewater will continue to work on improving the take-out situation at Slab Creek i.e. it may be time to take this up the ladder to the folks who issued the hydropower license - the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


#6

PIT 5

Here are the dates for one of my favorites!

Pit 5 Class IV & Class III

August 11 & 12
10 am to 4 pm
1500 cfs

September 8 & 9
10 am to 4 pm
1200 cfs

Also PG&E reports the following:

“Pit 5 Powerhouse will be in a two unit outage for most of September starting 9/3 so there may be additional boating opportunities throughout September. When we get closer to the date and get a forecast of inflows, we will have a better idea of the flows that we will be releasing at Pit 5.”