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Nature

Lower Water Level Means Hazardous Waterways

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oregon.gov
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Less snow pack and below average rainfall is exposing previously unseen hazards on Oregon's waterways. The Marine Board says a fatality on the North Santiam River last weekend was directly related to the lower water level.

Shallow conditions mean more stumps, rocks, logs, and other obstacles exposed or just beneath the surface. Oregon Marine Board Spokeswoman Ashley Massey says a concerning area is a section of the North Santiam just after the Buell Miller Boat Ramp.

Massey: "The River itself splits and there are a lot of channels and a lot of braids. And it's difficult to know which one is clear, so we're actually advising folks to avoid that stretch because until we get high water to flush some of those obstructions out of the way, it's going to be treacherous."

Massey says low-level conditions can also create more volatile currents, can pop inflatable tubes, and is problematic for paddle craft.

Massey: "Depending on the depth of the channel, the water of course what volume there is, is going to move faster. So if there is an obstruction in an area where that water and the current is moving very strong, it's going to drive people right into the hazard."

Massey advises inexperienced water-goers to avoid rivers and lakes until the water level rises. There's also been a slight rise in prop damage in areas usually navigable.

http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/pages/index.aspx

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