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High water poses high risk on the Rogue River

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

ROGUE RIVER, Ore. - The Rogue River has about 25% more water than it did this time last year.

"After several years of either average or well below average water, we're finally on the plus side," U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Operations Project Manager, Jim Buck said.

That's thanks to this year's rain and snowfall.

The reservoirs are full, which is a good thing, but the river is also more full than visitors may be used to.

"That means the current is more swift and the water is cold," Buck said.

That doesn't mean boating fun has to stop but does mean more precautions are required.

"Wearing a life jacket. Knowing what your skills are and being aware that the river is a little more powerful this year. It can sweep you in underneath overhanging branches," Buck said.

This safety concern isn't just for people.

Rogue River resident Carrie Davis has seen the harm it could cause to animals.

"It's heartbreaking to watch a dog drowning you know," Davis said.

Last week she witnessed two dogs battling against the current right in front of her home.

One of them was a black lab.

"Every time he tried to jump back in he couldn't because he couldn't swim the current," Davis said.

She called police and guided them to the rescue of that dog.

"to your left to your left."

The other dog, however, wasn't found.

And Sunday afternoon it happened again with a golden retriever.

"He made so many attempts and finally gave up and he just floated away," Davis said.

This is why she is advising people not to play fetch with their dogs near the river.

To get the word out, the Jackson County Sheriff's office sent out Marine Patrol Deputies over the weekend to post safety signs on boat launch areas around the county.

The signs advise non-motor boats that life jackets are required on board.

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