TID to Study Lowest Boatable Flow on Tuolumne River

Zachary Collier - Northwest Rafting Company|

Know a thing or two about kayaking, canoeing, or just floating down the Tuolumne River?

TID will conduct a study on the Tuolumne River in the coming weeks, in hopes of determining the minimum water flow needed to boat the river. But in order to complete the study, the district needs volunteers.

“The Districts are seeking volunteers with a range of boating skill levels (beginner to experienced) to assist the Districts, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and relicensing participants in understanding if the Don Pedro Project’s minimum flows result in boatable flows for non-motorized, recreational river boating in portions of the lower Tuolumne River,” said Nancy Craig, Project Manager with HDR Engineering, Inc.

The study is one of more than 30 that the district must complete to relicense Don Pedro Reservoir. As the Tuolumne River's level is controlled by the water released from Don Pedro Reservoir, TID and Don Pedro co-owner Modesto Irrigation District must ensure the dam's operations do not impact recreation.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is responsible for licensing all dams, is also requiring studies on topics ranging from Native American relics to bald eagles, tiger salamanders, and red-legged frogs.

Volunteer boaters must be available to participate at 10 a.m. every Saturday from Aug. 17 through Sep. 21, in a section of the lower Tuolumne River between La Grange and Modesto of their choosing. Kayaks, canoes, drift boats, and drift rafts are all welcome.

Releases into the river will be varied, starting at 200 cubic feet per second on Aug. 17 and declining to 100 cubic feet per second on Sep. 14. When the lowest boatable flow has been identified, the study will conclude.

Average users shouldn't notice much difference from standard river flows, which have ranged from 90 to 130 cubic feet per second since July 1.

“Study flows will not be very different from typical flows for this summer,” Craig said.

To volunteer for the study, call (928) 273-5772 or e-mail nancy.craig@hdrinc.com.

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