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Big bump in West Branch release!

Posted on July 24 2016

If you've checked the Stilesville water level you know that the release has been bumped from 500 to 777 cfs.  This is a substantial increase which will alter conditions on the West Branch and the upper big river.

How will they be affected?  Some things we know for sure.  The algae in the water will be increased short term as the higher flow will wash it loose from the shore lines , rocks and obstructions where it has been lodged.  The increased current may also disturb the algae growing on the stream bottom (as does wading and anchoring in it).  Within about 36 hours there should be a marked decrease in the algae in suspension as the system flushes out.

The insect hatch consequences are harder to predict.  Often a sizable increase in the cold water will shut off the sulfur hatch for a day with the hatch being heavier the following day.  On the whole the increased flow (if it continues for an extended period) should increase the bug activity throughout the WB and even down the big river to Stockport.

How long will it last?  Until further notice  - of course.  If it is a "thermal release" which makes little sense, it will probably be a short term event.  If, however, the increase is to meet minimum flow requirements it could last for an extended period.  I believe PPL is cutting back on its generation and the River Master may well have called for the increase to meet the minimum flow requirements at Montague.

With the increased flow extra caution should be exercised when wading.  Many areas can be safely waded at this level.  Some areas, however, now are at a depth or current level that makes them dangerous - use caution  and enjoy the cold refreshing wading.


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