This is a busy river with many class 3 and 4 rapids through out the distance and one class IV+/V- rapid near the end. Flows are from spill when inflows to Our House Reservoir exceed the capacity of the Lohman Ridge Tunnel diversion. Typically this will be at peak spring snowmelt flows. Some years spill has lasted for a considerable period, but more often it will be very short or will not happen at all. American Whitewater has been working since 2008 to secure flows for this reach as part of the FERC relicnesing process for Yuba County Water Agnecies (YCWA) Yuba River Development Project (Bullards Bar). We have reached agreement with YCWA that will significantly improve boating opportunities in this reach.
This section has been run from as low as 500 cfs up to 3500 cfs.
Take Out: The Oregon Creek Day Use Area is on the north side of the river on the upstream side of the highway 49 bridge. A scenic covered bridge crosses Oregon Creek. The gates are closed seasonally to vehicles, but the area is always open to foot traffic. There is also quite a bit of parking along Highway 49 on either side of the bridge. This area is about 25 minutes north of Nevada City on highway 49 and about 1 hour from highway 99 in Yuba City.
Put in: Our House Dam. Park near the top of the dam and hike down to the river just upstream of a gauging weir. There is a trail and stairway leading to the gauge. From the take out, drive north on hwy 49 for 1.7 miles then turn right onto Ridge Road. After 4.5 miles turn right onto Our House Dam Road and follow that to the reservoir and dam.
Other Information sources:AWetstate.com
A GUIDE TO THE BEST WHITEWATER IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, HOLBEK & STANLEY, 1988
Cornbread wrote on Boof.com: "... about 3 years (2006) ago we did the run at 3500 cfs along with some rafts from Trib and most of our group was in playboats. It actually was a great level and everything was run (even the last one). That year we were consistently running it in the 2000-2500 range and also thought you could go a decent big higher than our trip at 3500."
Albert also commented: "We ran Ourhouse, oh, something like in the late 70s. We were on our ways from the Bay Area to the North Yuba when we crossed the MF Bridge and we slammed on our brakes, surprised to see water in a riverbed where we had never seen anything boatable before. The flow was around 3000 cfs.
We had absolutely no idea about the difficulty or anything so ... we phoned John Googins at his home and he assured us that it was a class III section. From the top of the dam at the put in that looked about right...
Needless to say, we were somewhat wide eyed at the "Class III" nature of the MF at 3K. I clearly remember going into the last big rapid (Class V) without scouting, in my 4 meter fiberglass Lettmen Mark V (a World Championship winning slalom race design), going over one of the ledges and into a big hole, my whole boat went under and was held under for what seemed as way too long while making a 180 degree "eddy-turn" all the while my boat was still completely buried by the big hole. That was the last straw for river running in that particularly shaped Mark V, after that rapid I had enough of its low volume ... it was instantly retired.
So, yeah, the MF had been run previous to the last 3 years.
Just did a trip Feb. 9th 2015. Flow between 1200-1500CFS Below Our-House Dam. Great run, really fun and continuous it felt like stompy class class IV+ although some of the individual rapids are easier, and the last rapid is probably class V.
Real time streamflow information for the Middle Yuba below Our House Dam (ORH) has been available from CDEC since 1998. Sensors at Our House Dam report air temperature and precipitation. Dreamflows.com has a convenient graph that Shows 3 Years of flows.
Our House Dam diverts water from the Middle Yuba into the Lohman Ridge Tunnel and eventually into New Bullards Bar reservoir. Flows in the stream channel above Our House will be higher than flows reported below Our House. The tunnel diverts a maximum of about 850 cfs, so inflows have to be higher than this for spill to occur.
North and Middle Yuba River Basins USGS schematic of reservoirs, powerhouses, diversions and gauges. USGS gauge 11408880 for Middle Yuba below Our House Dam has historical daily average flow information. USGS gauge 11408850 shows historical daily average flows from 1967 to 1989.
Cornbread wrote, "it takes about 3 - 4" of rain or some big melt/rain on snow from a single event or really big water years (it ran all of the time in 2006-2007). It seems that when we get on OH @ really good levels (1500+ cfs) the S Yuba & NF American are running several thousand cfs."
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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The Big One
One of the few queit
Into the Wall
One of the Many Class IIIs
Our House Dam
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American Whitewater is advocating for improved access conditions at New Bullards Bar Dam on California’s Yuba River. Access to the sections of whitewater below New Bullards Bar Dam involves putting in at the base of the Dam; a 0.75-mile-long, paved, private, gated road (posted “No Trespassing”) accesses the base of New Bullards Bar Dam. Absent legal access below the Dam, boaters are required to hike around the dam, scramble down a steep and unstable hillside or to hike in from side roads, which Yuba County Water Agency (YWCA) considers as trespassing on their lands.
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