Tag Archives: Big Bend

Higher Flows Being Reduced on Portion of Pit River

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has begun reducing higher flows on a portion of the Pit River, and will reduce again to seasonal normal flows in late October.

Flows had been above 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the Pit 5 Reach since February while the Pit 5 Powerhouse near Big Bend has been off line. The powerhouse was unable to operate after winter storms deposited gravel and sand in front of the powerhouse’s tailrace, where water exits the powerhouse and returns to the river.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River between the Pit 5 Reservoir and the Pit 5 Powerhouse.

Flows in the Pit 5 Reach were reduced from above 2,000 cfs to about 1,300 cfs after one of the four generating units at the powerhouse resumed operation on October 5.  PG&E continues to remove sediment from in front of the tailrace so it can resume operation to the other three generating units at the Pit 5 Powerhouse.

In late October, PG&E expects to resume operations on a second generating unit at the powerhouse, at which point water will stop spilling from the Pit 5 Dam and flows in the Pit 5 Reach will return to about the season normal of about 350 cfs, depending on rainy conditions.

The other two generating units are expected to return to service in late fall.

The Pit 5 Powerhouse Road and the J.B. Black Powerhouse Recreation Area’s boat put-in, take-out remain closed to the public while the Pit 5 Powerhouse Road is repaired. The road was damaged in last winter’s storms should reopen in late fall.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Bend, PG&E, Pit River

PG&E flying low in Eastern Shasta County to check for drought-stricken trees

REDDING, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will fly low by helicopter in the mountains of eastern Shasta County on Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 22 and 23) to check for drought-stricken trees near power lines.

Flights will occur over the communities of Big Bend, Round Mountain, Oak Run, Montgomery Creek and Whitmore.

Residents are advised that the helicopter will fly low – about 200 to 300 feet – along distribution power lines.

PG&E is using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters to check for trees weakened by the drought. This patrol is in addition to the annual patrols PG&E conducts along power lines to identify trees and vegetation in need of pruning and removal. Weakened trees and branches can fall into power lines, leading to outages and even wild land fires.

The drought has weakened and killed many trees and left others susceptible to disease or insects. After the flights, foresters will hike to the trees in question for a closer inspection to verify tree conditions. Once a forester confirms a tree needs to be removed, PG&E will work with the property owner to schedule a contractor to cut the tree.

Consecutive years of drought have taken a toll on trees and even some trees deemed healthy six months ago have since succumbed to the dry conditions.

The U.S. Forest Service recently identified an exponentially growing rate of tree mortality in California. In 2014, 11 million dead trees were identified throughout the state. That number grew to 40 million in 2015 and 102 million in 2016.

While tree mortality is more serious in 10 counties in the southern and central Sierra Nevada region, the Forest Service also identified increasing mortality in the northern part of the state.

Weather permitting, flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Bend, Montgomery Creek, PG&E

PG&E Checking in Shasta County for Drought-stricken Trees

The following is a press release from PG&E dated December 5. The initial import of the release is to notify and explain to residents of Round Mountain, Montgomery Creek, and Big Bend the reasons that helicopters would be flying low over their areas on Tuesday, December 7.

The release gives details about the growing number of trees that have died as a result of the drought or are threatened by insects and disease as a result of weakened resistance. After the aerial check, foresters will follow up on foot to inspect trees. Then private landowners will be contacted. Dead or infected trees will need to be trimmed or removed.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will be flying low by helicopter in Shasta County on Tuesday to check for drought-stricken trees near power lines. Flights will occur over Round Mountain, Montgomery Creek and Big Bend.

Residents are advised that the helicopter will fly low – about 200 to 300 feet – along distribution power lines.

PG&E is using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters to check for trees weakened by the drought. This patrol is in addition to the annual patrols PG&E does along power lines to identify trees and vegetation in need of pruning and removal. Weakened trees and branches can fall into power lines, leading to outages and even wild land fires.

The drought has weakened and killed many trees and left others susceptible to disease or insects.  After the flights, foresters will hike to the trees in question for an up-close inspection to verify tree conditions.  Once a forester confirms a tree needs to be removed, PG&E will work with the property owner to schedule a contractor to cut the tree.

Consecutive years of drought have taken a toll on trees and even some trees deemed healthy six months ago have since succumbed to the dry conditions. The U.S. Forest Service recently identified an exponentially growing rate of tree mortality in California.  In 2014, 11 million dead trees were identified throughout the state. That number grew to 40 million in 2015 and 102 million in 2016.

While tree mortality is more serious in 10 counties in the southern and central Sierra Nevada Mountain region, the Forest Service also identified increasing mortality in the northern part of the state.

Weather permitting, all flights will occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.B>>

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Bend, Montgomery Creek, PG&E, Pit River, Round Mountain, Timber and Forestry

Whitewater weekend includes five-mile race to Big Bend Bridge

Saturday and Sunday September 10-11, PG&E again increased flows from Pit 5, thus creating another wonderful weekend of level IV and V rapids for whitewater enthusiasts.

Riding the river

Riding the river

I left Burney late Saturday morning and arrived at Big Bend just before noon. I went straight to the parking lot where kayakers exit the river by the bridge. It was full of people who had completed their first run.

The first person I met was Lauren Burlison from Redding.

“Hi! I remember you from last year,” she said.

Burlison had returned with her friend Ian Janosko for another run on the rapids. Both are students at Simpson College in Redding. Burlison has one semester left before finishing a liberal arts major preparing her to be a teacher. Janosko is a nursing student. They came with a group of friends from Placerville. Janokso was planning to organize a race from the Madesi River Access.

Lauren Burlison and Ian Jamosko Simpson-University with friends from Placerville

Lauren Burlison and Ian Janosko with fellow rafters from Placerville

Before heading up to the Madesi River Access where the race was to begin I met another group of happy kayakers from Southern Oregon who had just finished their first run.

When I arrived at the Madesi River Access, I met Susan Stalcut from Spring Rivers who was keeping track of how many people entered the river. As of 12:45 there had been 85 people on the river. Last month only 36 had signed up. Stalcut counted 59 kayaks and 6 rafts on her list.

Most had come to camp for the weekend. Friday night, several local musicians and drummers from Big Bend had come to the campsite for an evening jam.

Hobbs and Corona with their pontoon river raft

Hobbs and Corona with their pontoon river raft

As we were talking Nathan Stayrook Hobbs from Grass Valley and Nate Corona from Reno came in to get ready for their second run. Hobbs said that one of the other rafts had gotten stuck three times. It was an inexperienced crew with an underinflated raft, but they made it down to the bridge all right.

In the meantime, Janosko was busy signing people up for the race.

Ready to race

Ready to race

One of those present was a young daredevil, Rocco Russo from Cottonwood. Russo had been here last month riding down the river with a camcorder on his head. Russo has a video of him going over Lion Slide (Hatchet) Falls on youtube.

Russo and one other kayaker volunteered to go downstream to make sure that everyone was safe at two of the more intense whitewater areas. Then thirteen racers entered the river and lined up with their sterns on the opposite bank.

At just past 1:30 Janosko’s father, Boomer, using his hat as a starting flag yelled, “Ready, set, go!”

The race begins

The race begins

After watching the start, I headed down towards Big Bend. On the way there is an overlook where I caught a glimpse of the racers through the trees.

Glimpse of the racers through the trees from the overlook

Glimpse of the racers through the trees from the overlook

As they passed below I could see that Janosko had pulled into the lead. I headed toward the bridge at Big Bend.

When I got there, two PG&E employees had just finished measuring the flows. They told me their figure was 1275 cubic feet per second.

Shortly thereafter, Janosko came around the bend. He screamed with joy as he passed under the bridge.

The winner coming under the bridge

The winner coming under the bridge

Not far behind the remaining pack of racers descended.

Coming down the home stretch

Coming down the home stretch

I was happy that I had been able to come and cover the race. The Spring River and PG&E employees were happy to see that there was a good turnout. The kayakers and rafters were happy just to be here.

As I chatted with folks from the Sacramento area, Reno, Oregon, Placerville, and Redding, I heard comments such as

“You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area!”

“It’s so peaceful here!”

“I love coming up here! It’s freedom!”

All very true. Pit River Country is wonderful.

Kayakers would continue to enjoy additional runs through the afternoon on Saturday and then again on Sunday till 4 p.m. That would conclude the whitewater flows on the Pit 5 reach for 2016.

However, there is still more rafting to be had on the Pit River this year. On the first and third weekends in October, PG&E will be increasing flows on the Pit River below Fall River Mills so kayakers can ride over Pit River Falls down to Pit 1 Campground.

See also:

Pit River Whitewater Draws Kayakers
Kayakers ride the Pit
Kayakers enjoy “good clean fun” on the Pit

2 Comments

Filed under Big Bend, Kayaking, PG&E, Pit River

Safety kits, live radio and training available for Walk to School Day

Shasta County – The Safe Routes to School program is offering safety kits and technical assistance to Shasta County schools for coordinating Walk to School Day on October 5, 2016. Kits include educational materials, vests, cones and promotional materials. One lucky school will win a live radio remote on their campus to celebrate Walk to School Day. Interested PTA/parent groups or schools are invited to submit applications by 5 pm on Thursday, September 1.

To be eligible, schools are encouraged to have volunteers from Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), a parent club or site council willing to coordinate the event, and lead weekly walks to school throughout October.

Last year, 14 local schools participated in International Walk to School Day. The goal of the Safe Routes to School Program is to make walking and biking to school safer, easier, more convenient and increase the numbers of children walking or biking to school safely.

“Walking and biking to school is a great way for children to get exercise before starting their school day, making them more prepared to concentrate and learn when they arrive at school,” said Sara Sundquist, Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator. “When more students walk, the number of vehicles around the school area is reduced, making it safer for more children to walk or bike.”

For more information or for an application, call at 245-6457 or visit www.healthyshasta.org.

Healthy Shasta is a partnership committed to making healthy eating and physical activity choices easier where you live, work and play. Visit http://www.healthyshasta.org for more information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Schools

PG&E to provide high whitewater flows on 9.3 miles of Pit River over two weekends

The following is from a press release from PG&E dated August 8:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will provide high whitewater flows on the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River in eastern Shasta County over two weekends, the company announced today.

The higher flows will occur on August 13-14 and September 10-11. Those recreating in or near this portion of the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. This portion of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The reach is not appropriate for tubing.

The Pit 5 Reach is the 9.3-mile portion of the Pit River that extends from PG&E’s Pit 5 Dam and the J.B. Black Powerhouse near Big Bend.

Prior to the increase for August 13-14, flows in the Pit 5 Reach will be about 450 cubic feet per second (cfs).  On early Saturday morning PG&E will gradually increase water flows until it reaches 1,500 cfs, before 10 a.m. The flows will be held at this level until about 4 p.m. that day when flows will gradually be reduced to 600 cfs.

The higher flows will be repeated the next day at the same times, then, after 4 pm, gradually decreased to the normal flow of about 450 cfs.

On the weekend of September 10-11, PG&E will increase flows to 1,200 cfs on both days. As with the previous releases, starting early in the morning the flows will gradually be increased to the target level by 10 a.m. and then after 4 p.m. gradually decreased to more normal flow levels.

The whitewater flows are a requirement of PG&E’s license conditions for the Pit 3, 4, and 5 Hydroelectric Project.

Despite the drought, water flows in the Pit River watershed are near normal as the Pit River is largely fed by springs that steadily release water from large volcanic aquifers, even in dry years.

Due to the high fire danger this year, the higher flow dates are subject to change. PG&E recommends verifying the dates via the PG&E recreation website www.pge.com/recreation/.

PG&E offers the following water safety tips:

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
  • Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides and fast moving wate

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page

To view articles on Kayakers from last years flows see

Kayakers ride the Pit
Pit River Whitewater Draws Kayakers

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Kayaking, PG&E, Pit River

Kayakers ride the Pit

On September 12th and 13th,  PG&E increased the water flow below Pit 5 to between 1250 to 1500 cubic feet per second for the second time this year. Each day, more than 50 Northern California kayakers came to enjoy the thrill of riding level III, IV, and V rapids between the Madesi River Access and J.B. Black Powerhouse.

Kayakers above the bridge at Big Bend

Kayakers above the bridge at Big Bend

The entry point was the Madesi River Access. At 10 a.m. Saturday, the area was buzzing with people unloading their kayaking gear and camping equipment for the two-day event.

Steve and Christina Figone and friends from Chico

Steve and Christina Figone and friends from Chico

Lauren Bridgeman and Linda Holdren from Spring Rivers, a company that provides biological and physical assessments of aquatic and riparian ecosystems, came to register the kayakers and monitor the event for PG&E. Downriver, below the Big Bend Bridge and at J.B. Black Powerhouse there were two more Spring River employees to track the kayakers and make sure that everyone who entered the river completed the one-and-a-half-hour course down the river safely.

 Spring River monitors registering kayakers

Spring River monitors registering kayakers

As the kayakers gathered and mixed and mingled, I met groups of people who had come from Sacramento, Placerville, Chico, Lake Tahoe, Trinity County, and Redding. It was a really cheerful, friendly gathering. Groups began entering the river about 10:30 a.m.

Kayakers entering the river at Madesi River Access

Kayakers entering the river at Madesi River Access

Ian Janoska from Placerville organized a race, the “Pit 5 River Games.”  The race took place  Saturday afternoon about 1:30. Ten people participated, racing about one mile. The rest of the course was free kayaking.

As the kayakers came to enter the river Saturday morning, Janoska and his friend, Lauren Burlison, a student at Simpson College in Redding, were there to sign people up for the race.

Janoska and Bunison signing up racers

Janoska and Burlison signing up racers

A few people had come to join the kayakers in rafts.

Heading out to ride the rapids

Heading out to ride the rapids

One of the kayakers from Redding told me that there were two overlooks on the way back to Big Bend where I could catch a view. I found one of them. It actually was kind of scary standing on the dirt edge of a 100 foot drop-off looking down, but just as I got there a few of the kayakers passed underneath.

View from the overlook

View from the overlook

Then down to the bridge at Big Bend.

White water rapids above Big Bend

White water rapids above Big Bend

The bridge at Big Bend was the best of the few places to watch the kayakers. They had been riding the river for over an hour. Only the kayakers themselves know the full thrill the river held as they surged through the beautiful tree-lined gorge.

Here comes the raft

Here comes the raft

The bridge is also a fun place to meet others who want to watch. One lady from Lake Tahoe had come up with her husband and was patiently waiting for him to come round the bend. Another woman showed me pictures she had taken of the kayaking on Feather River. I also met Juniper Rose, a kayaker from Trinity County, as she watched some of her friends master the white water.

 Juniper Rose from Trinity County

Juniper Rose from Trinity County

As we talked, I discovered that she was the sister-in-law of a friend from Oak Run that I have played music with.

I spent quite a few hours on Saturday out on the bridge taking hundreds of pictures. On Sunday afternoon, I returned with my wife Linda and we met more people as the last runs finished.

Coming out of the river below the bridge

Coming out of the river below the bridge

At 4:00 PG&E began lowering the flow back to 450 cfs. Thus ended the Pit 5 Reach Whitewater Flow for 2015. For more on the whitewater flows see Pit River Whitewater Draws Kayakers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Bend, Kayaking, PG&E, Pit River