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High Water Flows On The St. Croix River - Jul. 08, 2014

St. Stephen, NB/Calais, ME --- Over the weekend, the remnants of Hurricane Arthur caused considerable damage in Charlotte, York, Aroostook and Washington Counties.

The rainfall is still making its way into the St. Croix River system, and as a result the water is flowing at a high rate than normal for this time of year.

Current water flows out of the Vanceboro dam are reading over 3000 cubic feet per second (gauge data can be viewed at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?01018500) and water volumes increase as tributaries join the river. 

In addition, high winds have damaged and brought down a number of trees on access roads, campsites, and into the river itself. Normal flows are usually between 700 and 900 cfs at this time of year.

The St. Croix International Waterway Commission is asking paddlers, tubers and boaters of all kinds to use common sense around the river.

"Please seriously reconsider any trip on the St. Croix until water flows go down," says the SCIWC's Executive Director, Abby Pond. "Even if you have paddled the river before, it changes completely at high flows such as we are experiencing now. There are trees and debris in the river, and normally calm shoreline areas are washed out and fast flowing." An overturned boat might be difficult to recover or destroyed by the power of the water.

"Your choice to go down the river on a sunny day at flows like this does not only put you at danger, it puts all the people who might have to come rescue you at danger too," Pond said. "You've got to ask yourself if the risk is worth it."

Also, if you are planning a trip on the St. Croix this summer, they ask that you follow the Leave No Trace (www.lnt.org) principles particularly plan ahead and prepare. Leave a trip plan behind so people know where you will be, have emergency plans if something goes wrong, get trained in first aid, and carry the proper equipment. Think about what you will do if there is extreme weather or an emergency.

The full list of seven principles is available at the Leave No Trace website. The SCIWC is proud to be a supporting partner of Leave No Trace.

Once again, the SCIWC is requesting that river users consider delaying trips if at all possible until water levels recede.  We also ask that people trying to contact us regarding reservations to be patient, as we are currently operating without power or telephone services at our St. Croix office and all staff are out in the field.