Scott Ligare participates in Middle Fork American – Interbay to Ralston - Recreation Flow Study

Middle Fork American Recreational Flow Study
Middle Fork American Recreational Flow Study
Middle Fork American Recreational Flow Study
Middle Fork American Recreational Flow Study

A key team member of the Center for Watershed Sciences -- Scott Ligare, a graduate student in Civil & Environmental Engineering -- participated in a recreation flow study on the Middle Fork American River.

May 8th 2010 Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) released 450 cfs from Interbay dam for part of a recreational flow study for the upper American Hydroelectric Project FERC relicensing. Our boating team consisted of six expert kayakers from the Northern California area all equipped with safety gear, gps, and cameras to document the descent. Our goal was to explore 9 miles of steep walled, wilderness canyon to determine the quality of whitewater for kayaking and the range of boatable flows.

Interbay rarely spills due to PCWA’s ability to convey water from French Meadows Reservoir to Hell Hole Reservoir in the neighboring Rubicon River watershed. The lack of high flows through the Middle Fork due to hydropower regulation has created a riverbed filled with riparian vegitation, woody debris and sharp rocks all of which are not ideal for whitewater boating. Nonetheless, we did discover a beautiful canyon that contained some great rapids. We found 450 cfs to be a great flow for this section with a range of about 100 cfs.