Sullivan Creek can be paddled during two timeframes: spring during natural snowmelt flows, and fall during releases from Sullivan Lake via Outlet Creek. Based on the 2013 surrender order for the hydropower project (negotiated in part by AW), there was a cold water pipe installed to reduce stream temperatures in lower Sullivan Creek. We negotiated a flow schedule that offers terific paddling opportunities and that puts the river's ecology first, followed by recreational and economic considerations.
The Schedule: Starting the day following Labor Day, flows will be increased as quickly as possible to reach target paddling flows (200 or 225 cfs) but shall be limited by temperature limits, reservoir drawdown goals, and a limit of no more than 80cfs increase per day. Watch the gage starting the first week of September, and you will see it climb to a boatable flow and level off, often in early to mid September but in some year-types boatable flows might not occur until October. The fall release will continue until sometime in early November. Also, flows will be managed to provide at least three optimal whitewater paddling weekends in September and October. These releases will be posted online one week in advance.
There are two stream gages: the first is on Sullivan just upstream of the Confluence with Outlet Creek, and the other is on Outlet Creek just upstream of the same confluence. The Sullivan Creek gage measures natural streamflows in Sullivan Creek. The Outlet Creek gage measures the dam release from Sullivan Lake, which flows down Outlet Creek (confusingly, Sullivan Lake is not on Sullivan Creek). The graph you see below reflects the sum of these two gages, in other words the total flow in Sullivan Creek downstream of the confluence with Outlet Creek. Note that the North Fork of Sullivan will provide some added flow, especially in the spring, that does not register on these gages.
|virtual-72828||150 - 350 cfs||V||02h08m||~ 46.05 cfs (too low)|
Virtual Gauge of Sullivan Flow
Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.
|2y68d21h46m||@Sullivan 2. N. Fork Sullivan to Hwy 31 (Gorge)||First gorge rapid||600 cfs||Kevin Colburn|
|> 10 years||@Sullivan 2. N. Fork Sullivan to Hwy 31 (Gorge) [WA]||Fall 09 on Sullivan Creek||n/a||Kevin Colburn|
|> 10 years||Sullivan Creek [WA]||Steve over Itchy||Low||Steve Merrick|