Feather River (CA)

For over a decade American Whitewater has been working on the Feather River. Our goal has been ambitious but simple. Restore the Feather River as a premiere recreational resource. For us this means not only whitewater recreation but also angling, hiking, swimming. plumasrec.jpgDuring the first part of the twentieth century people came from all over the world to the Feather River to participate in an array of recreational activities. The hydro projects that were built in the 1950’s and 60’s gathered up most of the river’s water and put it in pipes to produce power. While this was a boon for power production, it was devastating for the recreation industry on the Feather River.

The first piece of the puzzle was negotiating the landmark Rock Creek Cresta Settlement Agreement (FERC P-1962). This agreement more than doubled the base flows, set standards for water temperature, required habitat improvements for fish spawning, as well as requiring recreational releases starting at one weekend per month during the summer. Since this agreement was initiated, in the form of a new FERC license, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the fishery and an increase in shore-based recreation. In addition, thousands of paddlers have come to the North Fork Feather to experience what many feel is the best summer whitewater opportunity in California.

After implementing the Rock Creek Cresta agreement we set our sites on the Upper North Fork Feather Project. Flow studies were completed on two reaches; the class V Seneca reach and the class III+ Belden reach in 2000. After four years of negotiating we secured releases on both of these reaches in the Upper North Fork Feather Settlement Agreement that we signed in 2004.

The next hurdle in reaching our goal to restore the Feather watershed was the Lake Oroville State Water Project. All four forks of the Feather River drain into Lake Oroville, which inundated over sixty miles of river when it was constructed in the 1960’s. Providing for river recreation opportunities on a project that most people primarily associate with its 3,000,000-acre foot reservoir was not easy. This was not going to be a typical case of putting water back into river reaches. In this situation we realized that the only solution to restore this lost opportunity would be to create a new river reach in the form of a Whitewater Park, possibly the world's largest. The feasibility study that has been commissioned as part of this settlement will answer important questions about what this facility could look like and where should it be located.

Lastly we are working on the Poe and South Fork Feather projects. FERC issued the Draft Environmental Assessment of the Poe Project in August 2006. We intend to file comments with FERC, which are due on September 18th 2006. In these comments we intend to ask for additional boating days to complement those up stream. We also intend to request the construction of an angling-hiking trail that will provide much needed access to this beautiful remote section of the Feather River. We also intend to support a flow regime that will better protect both fish and amphibians, particularly during the spring run-off season.

You may ask why has American Whitewater spent so much time and effort on the Feather? A look at this pre- project hydrograph answers the question. Without the projects, the Feather would have supported whitewater boating all summer long, even in the driest of years. These high flows combined with the spectacular runs on the Feather, would have made this the premiere whitewater destination in the country. For a less than a 1%, loss in power we can bring back this great resource. Find out how you can help finish the job!

Documents

Rock Creek Cresta (P-1962)

Oroville Project: One Step Closer to New License (CA)

posted December 17, 2010
by Dave Steindorf
article photo 1
California State Water Resources Control Board has approved the water quality certification document for the Lake Oroville Facilities. This certification from the State of California is the last regulatory step before FERC issues a new license for this project, which included the tallest dam in the US.

DWR Releases Oroville Whitewater Park Feasibility Study (CA)

posted February 2, 2010
by Dave Steindorf
article photo 1

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the whitewater park feasibility study on the Feather River in Oroville California. Download the report and attend the meeting on February 4th in Oroville.

 

 


The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.

Feather River Restoration

Title Name City
Dave Steindorf Chico CA Details...
Lance Petrack-Zunich VIRGINIA MN Details...


Associated News

Documents

Associated Gauges

Disclaimer Data Sources

NF Feather at Rock Creek (AW#10004)

305 cfs 4y63d10h05m

NF Feather below Grizzly (AW#10005)

410 cfs 4y63d10h05m

Associated Rivers

Feather, N. Fork [CA]
Feather, N. Fork [CA]
Feather, N. Fork [CA]
Feather, N. Fork [CA]

Events

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CA, Feather, NF, Rock Creek, Releases
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Feather Festival Weekend900 cfs

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Events
CA, Feather, NF, Cresta Releases Belden,CA runs 07/23/05 - 04/12/15
[+] favorites
CA, Feather, NF, Rock Creek, Releases Quincy,CA runs 08/25/07 - 09/25/16
[+] favorites
  (iCal)