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Central California District
Release Date: 06/09/10
Contacts: David Christy , 916-941-3146  
  Jeff Horn , 916-941-3130  
News Release No. CC-10-78

Area Rivers High and Rising, Users Cautioned

Due to area rivers experiencing unseasonably colder, swifter, and more dangerous flows, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Mother Lode Office is asking river users to exercise caution when enjoying local river recreation. These conditions contributed to three near drownings on the Merced Wild and Scenic River in recent weeks.

Rivers that would normally be receding in velocity and cubic feet per second are now high and rising, according to Mother Lode Recreation Planner Jeff Horn. “The combination of an unseasonably cool spring, significant snow packs in the Sierra Nevada, and the warming temperatures have created June conditions that haven’t been seen in 20 years,” he said. “People should be careful around all of the rivers in the foothills and never boat alone.”

With rivers such as the Merced Wild and Scenic River is flowing at 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), river users should be aware of river safety and it is advised that parents be especially watchful of small children around areas of high flow. 

The BLM offers these river safety tips:

1. Wear a Coast Guard approved adjustable life jacket, helmet, protective footwear and proper clothing suitable for the type of white water you are in.
2. Be sure your white water skills and experience are equal to the river and the conditions you are going to run. NEVER BOAT ALONE.
3. Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don't.
4. Know your limits.  Know how to self rescue on white water rivers. Know when and how to swim for an eddy.
5. Be prepared for extremes in weather, especially cold. Know about the dangers of hypothermia and how to deal with it.  When air and water temperature add up to 120 degrees or less, hyperthermia is a high risk.
6. Wear a wet suit and booties in spring to early summer and always in Class V water.
7. Know how to recognize and react to river hazards such as holes, wrap rocks, undercut boulders and walls, rock sieves, and horizon lines across the river.
8. Never run a rapid unless you can see a clear path through it. Watch out for new snags after winter and spring floods.
9. Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Learn or review medical aid responsibilities and CPR. Avoid rattlesnakes and poison oak, but know how to deal with emergencies if someone is unlucky.
10. When in doubt, stop and scout. If you are still in doubt? Portage. Remote rivers through isolated wilderness should be approached with caution, since aid is difficult or impossible to obtain in case of an accident.


Central California District   2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 06-10-2010