A dog’s drowning was caused by strainers created by low water levels along Big Chico Creek near Bear Hole in Upper Bidwell Park according to Chico park rangers.
This is the third dog that has drowned this summer near the area.
Strainers push the water at high pressure under rocks and pulls swimmers down. The water flows over the rocks if there was substantial rainfall in the winter, but when the water drops that area develops a strong undertow.
Chico Park Rangers said visitors from Vacaville took their one-year-old Springer Spaniel to Bear Hole Friday afternoon.
The dog went missing and was caught in the same strainer where two other dogs drowned last month. Someone discovered the body Saturday afternoon.
On a good year, 100 cubic feet of water would flow through this area of the creek every second. This year the flow has dropped down to the single digits.
"That's a hundred basketballs coming down the creek to go through in one second,” said Chico’s Park and Resource manager, Dan Efseaff. “This year we are about 9 to 10.”
Water levels usually don't get this low until October. Park Rangers said dogs are not allowed at designated watering holes throughout Bidwell Park.
The best things you can do is be aware of your surroundings when swimming in the creek and never swim alone, and keep an eye on where your pet swims as well.