Drought May Be Responsible For Rise In Sacramento, American River Deaths

More people are drowning in two of Sacramento’s rivers, and the drought may be partially responsible.

The Sacramento Bee reports there have been six drownings on the Sacramento River in 2015 where typically there are between one and two annually. Data from the Sacramento County coroner shows drownings on the American River are two times higher than average years in the last decade.

More at CBSLocal.com >>>



Johnny Cash Trail Art Experience Master Plan Approved

The Folsom City Council unanimously approved a master plan for the Johnny Cash Trail Art Experience, featuring public art that honors one of the world’s most famous country musicians and his influence on the City of Folsom.

The three-acre Johnny Cash Legacy Park will be located at the corner of East Natoma Street and Folsom Lake Crossing.  The park will incorporate interpretive and educational elements about Johnny Cash, his band the Tennessee Three, and the “At Folsom Prison” album.  It will also include a small amphitheater, educational spaces, traditional park amenities, and connection to the Johnny Cash Trail and Bike/Pedestrian Overcrossing.

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Official: 25-year-old drowns in American River

Law enforcement officials told KCRA 3 that a 25-year-old man found floating in the American River has died following a rescue attempt Sunday.
At about 2 p.m. the Sacramento Metro Fire Department was called to Rossmore Bar after a helicopter and boating units discovered a body floating in the American River.
“At that point, they located him,” said Metro battalion chief Chris Quinn. “He was submerged and they were able to take him up to the medic units and transport him to Mercy San Juan Hospital. At this point his condition was still undetermined.”
But a well-placed law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the situation told KCRA 3 the young man did not survive.
Kyle Pierce, a rafting friend of the victim, said he knew his friend was in trouble.
“I was trying to yell with them to follow me to go to the shore, before they got lost in the rapids,” Pierce said.
The American River deserves more respect than often given, fire crews said.

More at KCRA.com >>>



More than 10,000 acres in Sierra Nevada protected in deal that aims to boost water supply, reduce fires

More than 10,000 acres of scenic meadows, forests and trout streams in the Sierra Nevada 10 miles west of Lake Tahoe have been preserved in a deal in which environmentalists hope to prove that thinning out overgrown forests can increase California’s water supply.

The Northern Sierra Partnership, an environmental group based in Palo Alto and founded by longtime Silicon Valley leaders Jim and Becky Morgan, joined with the Nature Conservancy and the American River Conservancy to buy the land for $10.1 million from Simorg West Forests, a timber company based in Atlanta.

The deal, which closed Aug. 5, preserves a landscape south of Interstate 80 in Placer County adjacent to Granite Chief Wilderness in the Tahoe National Forest. The land contains more than 20 miles of blue ribbon trout streams.

Home to black bears, mountain lions, deer, songbirds and other wildlife, the remote property also includes the headwaters of two of California’s popular whitewater rafting rivers, the North and Middle forks of the American River.

“There are forests and meadows, and granite outcroppings,” said David Edelson, Sierra Nevada director for the Nature Conservancy. “There are terrific views looking down the American River watershed and toward the Granite Chief Wilderness.”

For years, loggers turned the property’s evergreen forests into wooden crates for Central Valley fruits and vegetables. Now the environmental groups plan to remove old logging roads and restore the landscape.

But more significant, the purchase could change how California, now suffering through the fourth year of a historic drought, manages its Sierra Nevada forests in ways that might provide more water to cities, farms and the environment.

 Many Sierra Nevada forests, including the ponderosa pine, white fir and Jeffrey pine forests on this property, burned roughly every 10 years in lightning-sparked fires before California became a state in 1850. Those natural fires thinned out dead trees and brush.

But starting roughly 100 years ago, the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies began putting out the fires, often to protect communities that had sprung up through the mountains. As a result, the forests grew thicker. Now, across millions of acres of the Sierra, around Lake Tahoe and in other parts of the West, some evergreen forests have five times or more trees per acre as they would naturally.

The trees are small, spindly and often prone to disease and beetles.

UC Merced and UC Berkeley scientists have done research indicating that if these forests are thinned it could increase the amount of water flowing from the Sierra Nevada into streams, rivers, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay.

“We’re trying to keep the trees in check so the forest is in a more sustainable condition,” said Roger Bales, a UC Merced engineering professor who directs the university’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute. “One of the benefits is that you get more water.”

The Sierra Nevada provides 40 percent or more of California’s water supply through snow and rain.

More at MercuryNews.com >>>



Woman swept downstream at confluence drowns

A woman was caught in the American Rivercurrent and drowned Friday between the Highway 49 and Mountain Quarries Railroad bridges.

The woman was observed by a firefighter attempting to cross the American River at the confluence by foot shortly after 11 a.m. But the crossing went tragically wrong as he watched her slip and struggle in the fast-moving river.

A fire crew had been dispatched on a wildland fire reported in the confluence area and the firefighter could see from a vantage point above the river on Highway 49 as the woman and two other people made their way into the river upstream from the Highway 49 bridge, Auburn State Recreation Area Superintendent Mike Schneider said.

The stretch of river is just past where the middle and north forks of the river meet in the AmericanRiver canyon below Auburn, increasing the force of the current.

“They were in shallow water and trying to cross the river,” Schneider said.

While the woman’s death was still under investigation, indications were that she slipped on rocks and was carried downstream by the current, he said.

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>



Fire burns in steep terrain near Blue Canyon airport

A wildland fire burning two miles southwest ofBlue Canyon was holding steady at five acres.

Cal Fire reported the fire, first called in late Tuesday, was located in steep terrain along the north fork of the north fork of the American River.

Dubbed the Burnett Fire, the blaze was being controlled by water drops from aircraft as Cal Fire attempted to get ground crews. Containment lines were being set up along ridges and other more easily accessible areas.

The nearest structures threatened were in the airport area. Blue Canyon is about 35 miles northeast of Auburn.

More at Auburn Journal.com >>>



Kyburz fire fully contained at 75 acres

The Kyburz fire was reported fully contained Wednesday after burning through 75 acres of timber and steep canyon areas off Highway 50 in El Dorado County.

The fire was reported around 2 p.m. July 23 in the south fork of the American River canyon, west of the community of Kyburz. It burned east of Whitehall on both sides of Highway 50, prompting evacuations and closure of Highway 50. One lane of the highway reopened Friday evening. All lanes were open on Saturday.

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Folsom and EDH Fire Stations offer free life jacket rentals

After the drowning of a 23-year-old man last week in the Lake Natoma, local first responders are reminding people to stay safe and act responsibly in local waterways.

The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are warning water enthusiasts not to become complacent because of the drought, and to take serious precautions when in or near water this summer.

DBW officials said water is still flowing and even low reservoirs and lakes still have enough water for recreation. Previously deep hazards may be closer to the surface and can create treacherous conditions for all recreationists including waders, swimmers, paddlers, boaters, anglers and even hikers cooling off at the water’s edge.

“We ask those enjoying the outdoors to be careful near mountain streams, rivers and reservoirs. Water flows can fluctuate so always be prepared for a change in conditions,” said Randy Livingston, vice president of Power Generation for PG&E.

Since conditions change quickly in open water and even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating or swimming, DBW officials said wearing a properly-fitted life jacket can help keep people safe.

El Dorado Hills Fire Department Division Chief/Fire Marshal Michael Lilienthal, said the department received a grant from the Life Jacket Loaner Program sponsored by the U.S. and California Boats and Waterways Association which loans flotation devices to local boaters.

“The process is simple, (people need to) provide a California driver’s license and the approximate weight of the person needing the life jacket and complete a form,” Lilienthal said. “Jackets can be borrowed for up to three days. While this is the peak season for usage, the program is available year round.”

A life jacket can also provide some thermal protection against the onset of hypothermia and keep a person afloat until someone else can rescue him or her.

More at FolsomTelegraph.com >>>