Iowa DNR to paddlers: Stay off rain-swollen rivers

The Iowa DNR's asking paddlers to stay off rain-swollen rivers right now.   

Todd Robertson, Paddling instructor and Outreach Coordinator for Rivers Programs at the Iowa DNR says lakes and flat-water are okay, but the rivers are dangerously high, and rivers could rise fast with chances of rain through next week.

The Iowa DNR has received reports of inexperienced paddlers on the Des Moines River who tipped over their boats in the strong current and were rescued by other boaters .“

We’ve rescued five paddlers since May 1st on the Des Moines River during high water conditions”, said Terry Nittler of the Des Moines Power Boat Club. 

Nittler estimates that about 90% of the paddlers he sees on high water have little to no experience and many are not wearing life jackets

“Swollen rivers are super powerful and have unpredictable current along with tons of wood debris coming downstream to form deadly “strainers”, said Robertson. 

Robertson says even experienced paddlers should stay off of rain swollen rivers. “If you get into a situation where you are struggling and fighting the current, the river will win”, said Robertson.

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