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North Fork Feather River facts for kids

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North Fork Feather River
Feather River Route bridges.jpg
Freight train crossing the North Fork, 2017
Map of the Feather River drainage basin. The North Fork flows from Lassen Peak southward to Lake Oroville.
Country United States
State California
Region North Fork Feather Watershed
1,090 sq mi (2,800 km2), including the
West Fork but not East Branch Watershed
Physical characteristics
River mouth Lake Oroville, North ArmA
Length 70 mi (110 km)
Basin features
Basin size 2,100 sq mi (5,400 km2)
APrior to Oroville Dam construction, the North Fork flowed to its former mouth in the current lake's Main Basin.

The North Fork Feather River is a watercourse of the northern Sierra Nevada in the U.S. state of California. It flows generally southwards from its headwaters near Lassen Peak to Lake Oroville, a reservoir formed by Oroville Dam in the foothills of the Sierra, where it runs into the Feather River. The river drains about 2,100 square miles (5,400 km2) of the western slope of the Sierras. By discharge, it is the largest tributary of the Feather.

It rises at the confluence of Rice Creek and a smaller unnamed stream in the southern part of the Lassen Volcanic National Park. The river flows east, receiving Warner Creek from the left, and passes the town of Chester. It then empties into Lake Almanor, which is formed by the Canyon Dam. After leaving the dam the river cuts south into a gorge, and turns southwest to receive Butt Creek from the right. The East Branch North Fork Feather River, the North Fork's largest tributary, comes in from the left near Belden, where the river is impounded again at the Rock Creek Dam. It then flows southwards, through several hydroelectric dams, into the north arm of Lake Oroville.

The fork's portion of the Feather River Canyon is notable as part of the Feather River Route, and the railroad's North Fork Bridge near the river's mouth is the longest reinforced concrete bridge in the US.

The North Fork is heavily developed for hydroelectricity generation and is impounded by five dams, as part of three hydroelectric projects – the Upper North Fork Feather River Project, the Rock Creek-Cresta Hydroelectric Project and the Poe Hydroelectric Project. The system is so extensive that it has been dubbed the "Stairway of Power".

USA Lassen NP Kings Creek CA edit3
Kings Creek (foreground) headwaters flow >11 mi (18 km) from the SE slope of Lassen Peak (background), >7 mi (11 km) in Warner Creek, and >63 mi (101 km) in the North Fork to Lake Oroville's northern arm.
A railroad trestle and CA 70 over the North Fork in the Feather River Canyon



The North Fork Feather Watershed (USGS Huc 18020121) extends from the North Fork headwaters south-southwest to the Lower Feather Watershed. The headwaters are in the Shasta Cascades and the northern Sierras along the Pit River and Eagle-Honey watersheds. The drainage divide for the headwaters begins in Shasta County at the Lassen Peak quadruple watershed point of East Sulpher Creek (Mill-Big Chico), Manzanita Creek (Upper Cow-Battle watershed), Lost Creek (Lower Pit River), and Kings Creek (North Fork Feather). The headwater divide extends in an arc east to Lassen County, then to the Great Basin Divide triple point of the Feather, Pit, and Susan Rivers. The divide arcs southeast to Pegleg Mountain and along 13 mi (21 km) of the Sierra Crest to the triple point with the East Branch North Fork Feather River on the east slope of Indicator Peak (40°00′43″N 120°11′15″W / 40.012069°N 120.187554°W / 40.012069; -120.187554).

Downstream of Shasta and Lassen counties, the majority of the North Fork Feather Watershed area is in Plumas County. The west divide of the watershed is along the Mill-Big Chico Watershed, southward to the West Branch Feather River triple point. The southeast divide of the North Fork Feather Watershed is the watershed of the East Branch to the triple point with the Middle Fork Feather River.

The lowest elevations of the North Fork Feather Watershed are in Butte County, with the emergency weir crest at 901 ft (275 m) and, at average storage capacity, the Lake Oroville level of 812 ft (247 m) .

North Fork Feather River course,
including associated Lake Oroville points
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
description coordinates
headpoint summit SSE of Mount Helen 40°27′39″N 121°29′53″W / 40.460728°N 121.498103°W / 40.460728; -121.498103
Rice Creek confluence, headwaters w/ Rice Cr 40°27′19″N 121°29′08″W / 40.455242°N 121.485572°W / 40.455242; -121.485572
inflow to Crumbaugh Lake 40.447829 121.488361
border, Shasta/Plumas counties
border, Stump Ranch Marsh Area
confluence, South Arm Rice Creek 40°21′47″N 121°27′5″W / 40.36306°N 121.45139°W / 40.36306; -121.45139
North Fork source, North Fork
confluence, flow from Buzzard Sprs 40.354884 121.366396
confluence, Warner Creek 40.333133 121.306529
diversion channel W of Lake Almanor 40.302538 121.263914
road, CA 36 N of Chester 40.310753 121.228638
inflow to Lake Almanor 40.303225 121.212373
Canyon Dam 40.174578 121.087017
confluence, Bear Creek 40.107487 121.080408
dam, Belden ForeBay 40.076167 121.160789
confluence, Mosquito Creek 40.060731 121.200657
North Fork in
Feather River
confluence, East Branch 40°00′51″N 121°13′33″W / 40.014074°N 121.225934°W / 40.014074; -121.225934
confluence, Indian Creek 40.005068 121.264
dam, Rock Creek Reservoir 39.986919 121.28314
confluence, Rock Creek 39.899959 121.359487
confluence, Jackass Creek 39.937283 121.316013
road, Rock Creek Camp 39.925535 121.316013
road, CA 70 39.918031 121.321507
confluence, Bucks Creek 39.91418 121.326742
dam, Cresta Reservoir 39.876118 121.373477
confluence, Mill Creek 39.805008 121.440425
confluence, Flea Valley Creek 39.802107 121.446948
North Fork road, 1932 arch bridge (CA 70) 39.79482 121.451669
railroad, trestles S of CA 70 39.7948 121.451669
dam, Poe Reservoir
border, Plumas/Butte counties
mouth, North Fork (912 ft elevation) 39°43′27″N 121°28′19″W / 39.72417°N 121.47194°W / 39.72417; -121.47194
Lake Oroville,
North Arm
railroad, 1962 North Fork Bridge 39.716529 121.470551
confluence, Rock Creek 39.716034 121.455402
border, Lassen NF 39.71336 121.468663
confluence, Chino Creek 39.719005 121.422701
confluence, Mosquito Creek 39.69705 121.406007
confluence, W of Stephens Ridge 39.688101 121.400127
confluences, Berry & Frazier creeks 39.670166 121.431456
confluence, West Arm 39.666499 121.496773
former town, Big Ripple 39°37′38″N 121°29′33″W / 39.62722°N 121.49250°W / 39.62722; -121.49250
former town, Bloomer 39°37′28″N 121°29′29″W / 39.62444°N 121.49139°W / 39.62444; -121.49139
mouth, lower North Arm 39°34′43″N 121°28′19″W / 39.57857°N 121.471882°W / 39.57857; -121.471882
Lake Oroville,
Main Basin
inflow, lake's Main Basin
landing area for seaplane base 39°33′59″N 121°28′07″W / 39.5662750°N 121.4685789°W / 39.5662750; -121.4685789
former town, Bidwell 39°33′25″N 121°27′56″W / 39.55694°N 121.46556°W / 39.55694; -121.46556
former mouth,A North F w/ Feather R 39°33′20″N 121°28′0″W / 39.55556°N 121.46667°W / 39.55556; -121.46667
former town, Land 39°33′13″N 121°28′04″W / 39.55361°N 121.46778°W / 39.55361; -121.46778)
intake (main), Hyatt powerplant
Oroville Dam road on crest (900 ft elevation) 39°32′20″N 121°29′08″W / 39.5387752°N 121.4855237°W / 39.5387752; -121.4855237
downstream dam face (702 ft) 39°32′06″N 121°28′58″W / 39.5348863°N 121.4827459°W / 39.5348863; -121.4827459
diversion, Palermo Canal (505 ft) 39°31′59″N 121°28′58″W / 39.532942°N 121.482825°W / 39.532942; -121.482825
road, Oro Powerhouse (360 ft) 39°32′05″N 121°29′10″W / 39.534696°N 121.486216°W / 39.534696; -121.486216
Feather River source, downstream of dam 39°32′1.59″N 121°29′13.88″W / 39.5337750°N 121.4871889°W / 39.5337750; -121.4871889
former community, Quartz 39°31′58″N 121°29′54″W / 39.5326641°N 121.4983018°W / 39.5326641; -121.4983018
confluence, Oroville Spillway 39°32′08″N 121°30′06″W / 39.5356933°N 121.5016958°W / 39.5356933; -121.5016958

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