Even as spring pulse flows on the Stanislaus River begin to wind down, boaters, rafters, canoers and other river-goers are reminded to use caution and take appropriate safety measures while enjoying the river this summer.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation, in tandem with the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts, increased flows in mid-May to 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Pulse flows are intended to help juvenile salmon begin their perilous journey down the river, through the Delta and, eventually, to the Pacific Ocean. Beginning early Friday morning, June 1, the Bureau gradually decreased flows to as low as 500 cfs by Monday, June 4. Now, one last sequence of higher flows is in effect to encourage any remaining juvenile salmon to move downstream.
Between June 5 and June 7, flows will increase again to 1,600 cfs before beginning a steady decline to a typical summertime 300 cfs by the end of the month of June.
Higher flows create hazardous conditions most people are not accustomed to. If you must go near the river, it is advised to wear a life jacket at all times. Free life jackets can be reserved and checked out at five locations in the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department including Station 26 at 3318 Topeka St., Riverbank; Station 27 at 450 S. Willowood Drive, Oakdale; Station 28 at 325 E. G St., Oakdale; Station 29 at 17700 Main St., Knights Ferry and Station 30 at 13200 Valley Home Road, Valley Home.
Life jackets come in sizes for adults to small children. For more information, call 209-869-7470.
The river and its series of nine parks from the McHenry Avenue Bridge east to Knights Ferry – collectively known as the String of Pearls – are a popular summertime playground. The parks provide access for boaters, kayakers, rafters, hikers and fishermen.
But even as the river slows down and daytime temperatures begin to rise, everyone is reminded that the water remains cold well into summer and everyone should exercise caution while enjoying the river.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District was established in 1909 and is located in Manteca. It provides agricultural irrigation water to about 55,000 acres in Escalon, Ripon and Manteca. In 2005, the district expanded into providing domestic water service to selected cities within its territory. The Oakdale Irrigation District was created in 1909 and provides agricultural water to about 62,000 acres in northeastern Stanislaus County and southeastern San Joaquin County.