Strainer danger!

Underwater hazards are exposed in Big Chico Creek due to low water flow

As the water level drops in Big Chico Creek, previously underwater hazards called “strainers”—obstacles in a river that water passes through but people and pets do not—are exposed.

Such hazards, which can be formed by fallen trees and boulders, can be deadly as a snagged victim can be trapped by enormous water pressure, according to a city of Chico press release. Areas with fast-moving water are particularly hazardous; for instance, the rocky area just downstream of Bear Hole (pictured) in Upper Bidwell Park has recently trapped three dogs.

The release offered tips for not putting yourself or your pet in danger, such as swimming with a buddy; always letting someone know your plan for an excursion; never diving head-first into a creek; avoiding unfamiliar areas with heavy current; not attempting to rescue a person or animal trapped in a strainer; and always keeping your dog on a leash.