Saturday, August 9, 2014

The South Fork of the Payette Becomes a River of Mud

Posted By on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 11:28 AM

click to enlarge This probably doesn't taste as good as Willy Wonka's chocolate river. - BOISE NATIONAL FOREST
  • Boise National Forest
  • This probably doesn't taste as good as Willy Wonka's chocolate river.

River users were shocked earlier this week when they came upon a popular stretch of Class IV whitewater on the South Fork of the Payette and found it like the photo above. In an online forum, many kayakers expressed concerns over paddling the river in this condition, which makes it harder to see rocks and other obstacles. 

David Olson, public information officer for the Boise National Forest, told Boise Weekly there were no major sluice outs, but he said many tributaries had high water flows from heavy rains in recent days, which moved a lot of soil. 

"Very high rain volumes hitting many watersheds and small drainages contribute sediment in pretty dense quantities," Olson said. "Reports indicate that the sediment came from as far away as 8 Mile Creek and Warm Springs Creek, which are east of Lowman." 

He added that the Middle Fork of the Payette River also contributed to sediment density. It's also possible that last September's flash floods deposited sediment in many nearby drainages. The South Fork is currently running at 3,040 cubic feet per second, a sharp spike from earlier in the week.

This video was taken Aug. 7 by a river user.

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