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River, Water Safety Paramount Ahead Of Holiday Weekend

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Sonora, CA – Concerned about public water safety over the Memorial Day holiday, two water districts are advising residents and visitors to use extreme caution, wear life jackets and consider recreating on calmer waters.

Officials with the Oakdale and South San Joaquin water districts encourage folks wanting to enjoy activities on or near the Stanislaus River — at least through the upcoming three-day holiday weekend – to use regionally managed parks at Tulloch and Woodward reservoirs.

They say the cold, fast Stanislaus River waters now have “unyielding” currents; in fact, the flow rate is now measuring at 3,000 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs), which is about twice what it was earlier this month. The higher currents or pulse flows, normal for this time of year, are part of a coordinated water management system involving the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River and the two water districts, which have senior water rights. Officials are particularly urging boaters, rafters, fisher folk and others to be extremely vigilant on the river as the flows are not expected to recede until the end of May or sometime in early June.

Too, they suggest that those who do not already have life jackets to consider reserving and checking out free ones through the State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. These are available in adult and child sizes at five locations within the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department in Knights Ferry, Valley Home, Oakdale and Riverbank. For more details, call 209 869-7470.