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
SEE RESCHEDULED FLOWS BELOW

NF Mokelumne Electra Cls II-III
SEE RESCHEDULED FLOWS BELOW

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.”


#7

SLAB CREEK TAKE OUT AT ROCK CREEK

Good news from Darold Perry at SMUD -

I am writing to inform you that as of this morning, SMUD has been able to make arrangements to have the Rock Creek Powerhouse location (10441 Rock Creek Rd.) open to accommodate boaters taking out during the subject releases for the next two weekends. These arrangements include approval and concurrence from the BLM, and the Rock Creek Powerhouse operator, respectively. The gate will be open from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM each day and SMUD’s contracted security staff will be onsite during this period. This staff is primarily onsite to open the gate, protect powerhouse facilities, and notify emergency services as necessary. As such, it will be incumbent on each party entering and leaving the site to use the location responsibly, including parking, personal conduct, and cleaning up after themselves. It is my hope that this can be executed safely, successfully, and without any problems so the option remains open in the future. SMUD has also contracted to have a portable toilet delivered to the site which will remain there through the next two weekends.

American Whitewater would like to acknowledge and thank Darold and SMUD for coordinating the Rock Creek take-out allowing for the gate to be open and most importantly parking down by the river for the remaining recreational releases.


#8

OPPORTUNISTIC AND SCHEDULED RECREATION FLOWS ON THE MOKELUMNE

Devil’s Nose & Tiger Creek Opportunity this weekend 5/5 & 5/6

PG&E called to let me know there will be OPPORTUNISTIC recreational flows on Devils Nose and Tiger Creek this weekend. These are not scheduled flows but PG&E noticed they would be in the range for boating and were kind enough to give me a heads up.

PG&E forecasts that the flows for this weekend at Devil’s Nose will stay at approximately 1000 cfs at M11 (the gauge below Salt Springs Dam) with accretion from the side tributaries it will be approximately 1200 cfs at M38 (the gauge at the bottom of the run).

Tiger Creek is currently running at 1600 cfs and will likely be between 1300 - 1500 cfs thru the weekend.

Tentative SCHEDULED recreational flows for May & June on Tiger Creek and Electra:

NF Mokelumne Tiger Creek Cls IV
10 AM - 2 PM
700 cfs
May 18 (Friday) & 19
May 26, 27 & 28
June 1 (Friday) & 2
June 9

NF Mokelumne Electra Cls II-III
10 AM - 4 PM
700 cfs
May 12 & 13
May 19 & 20
May 26 & 27
June 3
June 9 & 10
June 16

Tentative SCHEDULED recreational flows for July on Electra:

NF Mokelumne Electra Cls II-III
10 AM - 4 PM
700 cfs
July 1
July 4
July 7 & 8
July 14
July 21


#9

FORDYCE IN PLAY THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Catherine at PG&E was kind enough to inform me due to the recent thunderstorm activity that they will be ramping up to 500 cfs on Fordyce and will hold around that level through all of Monday.

Enjoy


#10

NORTH FORK FEATHER

Sorry for the delay in getting the final dates but I’m glad I waited because at the end of April we were still in a Dry water year on this watershed but by May we bumped up into a Normal year which means we get flow June, July August & September - as follows:

Rock Creek Cls III, Tobin Cls V, Lobin Cls IV

June 2 - 1100 CFS
June 3 - 900 CFS

July 28 - 1100 CFS
July 29 - 900 CFS

August 18 - 1100 CFS
August 19 - 900 CFS

FEATHER FESTIVAL
September 22 - 23 - 900 CFS


#11

MORE OPPORTUNISTIC FLOW ON DEVIL’S NOSE

This just in from Catherine at PG&E regarding the Mokelumne Devil’s Nose Cls V:

Just wanted to let you know that there WILL be an opportunistic recreation flow on the Devil’s Nose run this weekend. We are planning to release 750-850 cfs at M-11 and it looks like we are picking up ~200 cfs between M-11 and M-38. We will be holding flows above 700 cfs through Monday evening.

Depending on thunderstorm activity in the next few days we may also have to hold flows above 700 cfs over the weekend of 6/2-6/3. I’ll can update you on our plans next week once we have a clearer idea of the weather.


#12

CONFIRMED JUNE SCHEDULE FOR TIGER CREEK

On Tuesday PG&E and the Ecological Resource Committee (ERC) finalized the following Tiger Creek Dates for June recreational flows (Note we gained one more day on June 10)

NF Mokelumne Tiger Creek Cls IV
10 AM - 2 PM
700 cfs
June 1 (Friday) & 2
June 9 & 10


#13

CONFIRMED JUNE & JULY SCHEDULE FOR ELECTRA

Last Tuesday PG&E and the ERC also finalized the following Electra dates for June & July recreational flows (note we gained on more day on July 22)

NF Mokelumne Electra Cls II-III
10 AM - 4 PM
700 cfs
June 3
June 9 & 10
June 16
July 1
July 4
July 7 & 8
July 14
July 21 & 22


#14

NF FEATHER BELDEN IN PLAY FOR A MONTH

NF Feather Caribou to East Branch Confluence (Belden) Class III+

American Whitewater negotiated releases on this section 14 years ago but we are still waiting for the new license to get issued to get regular recreational flows. This section rarely runs but PG&E will have the Belden Powerhouse off line for the next month, so flows will be in the 400- 600 cfs range. PG&E has also agreed to make public the flow information for this reach, kudos to PG&E for agreeing to put this gauge online. This is a great class +III kayak run. For many years it has been so overgrown with vegetation that it had become unsafe. Last year, high water and a powerhouse outage cleaned up the run considerably. Paddlers still need to be on their toes because some of the wood in the reach is still mobile. Rapids are long and full of good hydraulics. - Dave Steindorf


#15

PIT 5 OPPORTUNISTIC FLOWS THROUGH 6/6/18

Pit 5 Class IV & Class III

PG&E shared with American Whitewater the following info - get out and enjoy!!!

This is a notification regarding high flows through the Pit 5 Reach expected this coming weekend and forecasted to remain high until the middle of next week (Wednesday 6/6/18). Recent storms upstream from the Pit 3, 4, and 5 Project have resulted in higher inflows into Lake Britton for this time of year. Additionally, Pit 5 Powerhouse is experiencing a forced, unplanned, two-unit outage for needed repairs. With these unseasonably high inflows due to storms and the forced outage limiting PG&E’s ability to move water through the Pit 5 Powerhouse, flows will be higher than normal from the Pit 5 Diversion and throughout the Pit 5 Reach over the weekend and into next week. Until about Wednesday 6/6/18, flows through the Pit 5 Reach are forecasted as ~1,500 – 2,000 cfs