Commission urges caution around surging St. Croix River

Bob Nasby (left) and his grandson, Bobby McGraw, take in the sights of the Upper St. Croix River while Nasby lands a smallmouth bass on his fly rod in August 2012. Recent rains have contributed to a surge in water on the St. Croix River, and officials say conditions may be unsafe for boating and other activities for the weekend.
Dennis Anderson | MCT
Bob Nasby (left) and his grandson, Bobby McGraw, take in the sights of the Upper St. Croix River while Nasby lands a smallmouth bass on his fly rod in August 2012. Recent rains have contributed to a surge in water on the St. Croix River, and officials say conditions may be unsafe for boating and other activities for the weekend.
Posted Aug. 10, 2013, at 10:57 a.m.

ST. STEPHEN, Maine — A group charged with monitoring the St. Croix River, which straddles the border between Maine and New Brunswick, is urging anyone planning on enjoying the river this weekend to stay out of the water.

Thanks to the opening of a dam at the Woodland paper mill and heavy rain Friday, the river’s flow has more than doubled, from 1,200 cubic feet per second to more than 2,700 cubic feet per second. Normal flow for this time of year is between 700 and 800 cubic feet per second, said Abby Pond, executive director for the St. Croix International Waterway Commission, in a release.

The high flow spells danger for anyone who would boat, tube or attempt to swim in the river.

“When the flow rises so sharply in such a short time, the water is turbulent, unpredictable and very unfriendly should you end up overboard,” Pond wrote.

There are few vehicular access points to the river, and cellphone coverage is nonexistent. This means help can be hours away, Pond wrote.

“It has also started cooling off at night, so if you end up soaked, injured and stranded somewhere unfamiliar, it can quickly become a life-threatening situation,” she wrote.

Reached for an interview Saturday morning, Pond said the river flow should be back to normal by Monday or Tuesday.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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