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New Flow Releases on the Pit River (CA)

Posted: 03/15/2008
By: Dave Steindorf

Pacific Gas and Electric Company will increase water flows on a 22.5-mile stretch of the Pit River in Shasta County beginning on March 7th. The increased flows will occur at a frequency resembling natural water flows, which will benefit the associated ecosystem as well as provide additional whitewater boating opportunities. The increased flows will begin downstream from the Lake Britton dam, also known as the Pit 3 dam, which is on Clark Creek Road north of Burney.

Dubbed “freshet flows,” the added water release will assure that a flow sufficient to maintain channel conditions and the riparian habitat occur at a frequency resembling natural river flows in the Pit River. PG&E will make freshet flow releases into the Pit 3, Pit 4, and Pit 5 river reaches, which are sections of river between dams and powerhouses. The requirement to make freshet flow releases is a condition of PG&E’s new license for the Pit 3, 4, and 5 Hydroelectric Project that was issued in July 2007.

The freshet flow release is scheduled to start in the three river reaches on March 7 and will continue through March 27. The 21-day flow release event has been scheduled such that the peak flow magnitude, which is approximately 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs), occurs over a weekend to facilitate whitewater boating opportunities. The peak will be on the weekend of March 15 and 16. After the peak, river flow will decrease in five approximately equal steps of magnitude and duration over the remaining days of the freshet period, ending at the current minimum flow for the reaches (150 to 200 cfs).  It is possible that additional spill flows may increase the flow levels that are posted.  For the most current information please visit the release information calendar for the most up to date information on these releases or any other releases that have been negotiated by American Whitewater.


Dave Steindorf

4 Baroni Drive

Chico, CA 95928

Phone: 530-343-1871
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Pit River (CA)

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