When this section has water, it makes a great addition to the Electra Run downstream, though with several class 3 rapids. The biggest rapid is the very first one. Because of the lack of regular high flows, trees and brush grow thick along the bank and sometimes out into the river bed. At 1,500 cfs the river flows through trees on the side in many locations.
PG&E diverts most of the flow around this section so it will seldom have boatable flows. Spring in wet years is the best time to check this section out. There is also one weekend day per year of scheduled release for whitewater recreation in June of non spill years.
Other Information Sources:
Charles Martin describes this run in his 1974 guidebook, Sierra Whitewater. He says the run is a good class 3.Relicensing info Foothill Conservancy
The entire upper Mokelumne Watershed PG&E hydroelectric system is under a single FERC license, number P-137 A new license was issued on October 11, 2001 and will expire in 30 years from that date.
Text of whitewater boating monitoring plan.
During Below Normal, Above Normal, and Wet water years, the
stated fows of at least 900 cfs (700 cfs in BN years) will be released beginning two weeks prior
to Memorial Day weekend and ending June 15 and prior to the start of spill at Salt Springs
Reservoir Dam. ............ The Ponderosa Way whitewater
boating put-in will only have releases scheduled for one weekend day between 10 AM and 2 PM
(see Attachment B: Condition 28). The River Rangers will conduct the surveys each day the
flows are released. During Dry and Critically Dry years, flows will be released according to the
Below Normal year requirernents (700 cfs) if the Ecological Resource Committee (ERC) and the
FS determine that there would be no negative environmental impacts resulting from the
continued flows (see Attachment C: Condition 29).
The online gauge for this reach is immediately below the diversion dam, so it only measures spills and required fish flows. Flows at Ponderosa Way could be somewhat to much higher than this reading. The middle fork confluence is below this gauge, but above Ponderosa Way.
The middle fork confluence is upstream of the Ponderosa Way put in, so flows on this run will be increased by whatever flow is in the Middle Fork Moke. Unfortunately, real time gauge information for the Middle Fork is not publicly available.
A high clearance vehicle makes it easier to get to this put in.
This is a two part rapid that starts about 100 yards after the put in. The entrance was easy with a few moves throughout. We entered left moving center and exited left around a middle rock that have flipped both of my buddies, both sides of the middle rock are a go. Then some boogie water moving into the last drop. The last drop you can boof the hole on the left or a rock on the right. An easier route down the middle tongue is also an option. Nice recovery pool following this 2 part rapid However, a swim at the entrance will be long and bumpy. Scout right.
This rapid starts when the river turns sharply to the left.
After a stretch of flatwater, the river turns to the right, then splits around an island. The right hand channel appears to be wider.
The powerhouse is on river right and will add about 800 cfs.
The dam looks easiest to portage on river right. Some boaters will run one of the slots, but the openings are very narrow.
Boatable flows in this reach only occur during spill periods or scheduled releases. Boating flows are scheduled for one weekend day a year in June.
Minimum releases appear to be about 100 cfs.
Dreamflows.com graphs Show 30 Days Show 3 Years
Historical flow data is available for this reach at USGS 11316700 .
Inflows from the middle fork and south fork also effect flows in this reach.
EBMUD operates flow gages on the Middle and South Forks of the
Mokelumne River (USGS 11317000 and 11318500). Data from these gages could
help estimate the total flow in the Ponderosa Way run, if they were available in real time.
Schematic Map of Diversions and gauges
Permits are not required for this reach.
From Electra Road and Highway 49, drive south on 49 for 3.3 miles to the town of Mokelumne Hill. Turn left and head east on Highway 26 for 5.3 miles. Turn left onto a dirt road which is probably not marked. This is Ponderosa Way and it leads to the river in 1.9 miles. There used to be a bridge across the river, but only a frame remains.
Ponderosa Way on the north side of the river is reported to be impassable and so it does not reach the river.
Blind Island Exit
Blind Island Entrance
Chute Rapid 3
Electra Afterbay Dam
Ponderosa Way put in
Bridge Rapid Crux
Bridge Rapid Entrance
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Summary and collection of PG&E and AW resources and the latest in flow data for the website.
The California Natural Resources Agency recently released the draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic Study Report. Recognizing the river's extraordinary scenic and recreational resources, the agency recommends that 37 miles be added to the California Wild and Scenic River System. The agency wants to hear from you about their recommendations by March 8th, and will hold a public hearing about the draft report on Thursday, February 15th in Mokelumne Hill.
Mokelumne recreational releases, 2012
PG&E will be releasing recreational flows on 4 weekends into the Tiger Creek reach..
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