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- $150 Million For Sacramento Region Flood Control Projects
- Flows Increase In American River
- California Snowpack Still Well Below Normal
- Estimate To Acquire Private Land, Construct Sacramento Riverfront Trail — $14.5 million
- California Bans Fishing On Part Of American River Near Folsom Amidst Drought
- Mountain Rescue Team Hosting Event In American River Canyon
- Drought Could Leave Folsom Lake Levels Too Low To Pump To Residents
- Army Corps Seeks Feedback On Raising Folsom Dam
- Folsom Hears Construction A Comin’ On Johnny Cash Trail
- Eppie’s Great Race Considers Change Of Venue
- American River Conditions
- American River Parkway
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Nicole Ortega-Jewell with the Corps’ Civil Works Branch says more than $25 million will ensure the completion of levee work along the American River.
“These will actually be the last remaining sections. They’re scattered throughout the American River and actually this will complete all of the work that was authorized back in 1996 and ’99.”
The work is scheduled to be finished next year.
$69 million will go to Folsom Dam projects.
Marysville and Hamilton City levee projects will also be funded.
For the first time, money was allocated for project engineering and design work for the Natomas Levee Improvement Project.
Nearly $11 million will go to improvements in South Sacramento at Florin Creek.
From CapRadio.org >>>
The American River is flowing higher through Sacramento today, part of a federal effort to help young salmon at risk during the drought.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation doubled water releases from Nimbus Dam from 500 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cfs. The increase began Wednesday night and is expected to reach 1,000 cfs before returning to 500 cfs just before midnight today.
Biologists call the release a “pulse flow.” It is intended to help some of the wild-spawned fall-run chinook salmon eggs that became dewatered in their gravel nests, or redds, when Reclamation reduced flows in January. That action was taken to conserve water stored in Folsom Reservoir for Sacramento-area communities.
It turns out that not all of those stranded salmon eggs perished as the river shrank. Tom Gohring, executive director of the Sacramento Water Forum, said many were able to survive on the small amounts of water and oxygen that remained within the gravel and hatched into “alevins,” a kind of embryo life stage. The pulse flow is intended to wash those alevins into the river so they can transform into fry, the first finned stage of salmon life.
More at SacBee.com >>>
California’s Department of Water Resources said Thursday its latest survey shows the Sierra Nevada snowpack is still well below normal — which is bad news for the drought-stricken state.
The survey was done as the first of two back-to-back Pacific storms lightly blanketed the Sierra with fresh snow.
The department said manual and electronic readings show the snowpack’s statewide water content at 24 percent of average for the date.
“It’s just a reflection of the fact that what storms do come through are fairly modest,” snow survey chief Frank Gehrke said. “And then the blocking high-pressure ridge sets back in almost as soon as they’ve left the state.”
The northern and central Sierra snowpack provides about a third of California’s water supply.
More snow is expected from the week’s second and more powerful storm, which is expected to arrive late Thursday and last into Saturday.
Gehrke said such storms are still far from enough to end the drought.
“We’d need 15 or 20 of them — and that’s just not in the cards,” he said.
Rainwater streamed across the parking lot and down the boat ramp at Folsom Lake on Thursday afternoon.
The lake level has risen by more than 6 inches in the past 48 hours, but the reservoir remains about 70 percent empty.
More at KCRA.com >>>
Hop on a bike at Discovery Park just north of downtown Sacramento, and it’s clear riding along the scenic banks of the American River all the way to Folsom.
Heading south along the Sacramento River? You’d better bring a map.
But after years of debates and delays, Sacramento city officials said Tuesday they have finally identified 110 pieces of private land they need to acquire in the Pocket, Greenhaven and Little Pocket neighborhoods to create a riverfront trail stretching from downtown to the city’s southern border. The city also has an estimate for how much that property acquisition and construction of the path would cost: $14.5 million.
“I believe in public access,” said Councilman Darrell Fong, who represents the Pocket and has worked to develop the riverfront plan for three years. “You can’t tell me having access on the rivers all the way to Folsom wouldn’t be an attribute for people who live here.”
This is a debate that has raged in the city’s riverfront neighborhoods for decades. The discussion was resurrected at City Hall every few years, only to be shelved when the attention turned toward the controversial task of purchasing easements along the river levee from property owners who have staked claims to the waterfront.
Even today, many homeowners are defiant of the plan, saying they would rather move than sell a part of their backyards for a riverfront trail. City officials said they may use eminent domain to acquire land from the holdouts.
“No one is selling,” said Rosie Walker, who has lived in a home backing up to the Sacramento River in the Pocket for 50 years. “I don’t want to live here with people looking down into my kitchen windows or living room. Who wants people looking into their home?”
Other neighborhood residents support the concept.
“It’s a beautiful walk along the river and then you hit those gates,” said Greenhaven resident Chris Thoma. “I realize there were a lot of reasons things were set up the way they were, but it’s odd.”
More than a dozen supporters of the plan attended a City Council hearing Tuesday night, describing a neighborhood that is eager to reclaim access to a natural amenity.
“We’re concerned that the progress has been painfully slow,” former Mayor and Councilwoman Anne Rudin told the council.
Mary de Beauvieres, a principal planner with the city’s parks department, said the city will begin contacting homeowners along the river over the next two months to determine how many are willing to sell.
For now, public riverfront access in south Sacramento is broken into clusters of fenced-off stretches and unpaved levee trails. A paved bike path runs from downtown to the Westin Sacramento on Riverside Boulevard, where it suddenly ends.
From there, cyclists, joggers and walkers are forced to maneuver into the quiet Little Pocket neighborhood or travel along Riverside Boulevard for nearly a mile before a paved riverfront trail starts up again. But that path ends again after a short stretch in Greenhaven, blocked to the public by gates and chain-link fences.
Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents the Little Pocket, said public safety is the chief concern of his constituents who live along the river. Hansen said one longtime resident was attacked on the levee behind his home.
As a result, Hansen said he wants the riverfront trail to bypass Little Pocket and instead has proposed creating a two-lane protected bike path along Riverside Boulevard from the Westin to Greenhaven.
“I know some people feel righteous about wanting this, but it has to meet the reality of the facts on the ground,” Hansen said in an interview. “We need to investigate whether there’s an alternate route that’s a better use of public resources. If we really wanted this, we should have long ago purchased those properties.”
Fong said the city would try to ease public safety concerns. He said the park would be closed at night and that the city would explore increasing patrols by park rangers.
In the meantime, city officials are confident they’ll succeed in coming up with the funding for the trail.
De Beauvieres, the city parks planner, said the California State Lands Commission administers grants for local governments building access to waterways. That money can be used only to buy property from willing sellers.
More at MercedSunStar.com >>>
California has banned all fishing on a section of the American River near Folsom to help protect fish populations.
The concern is there is not enough water for them to migrate and spawn.
The emergency regulations went into effect this week, complete with signs up-and-down the river.
Some fishermen said they saw the signs and turned around, but not everyone is playing by the rules.
“We were actually next to a couple,” American River visitor Janel Halteh said. “We actually saw them. There was a big fish that they had caught.”
More at NBCSanDiego.com >>>
More than 300 search and rescue team members from around the state will be in the American River Canyon near Auburn for a mountain rescue team testing on Saturday, March 1.
The Placer County Sheriff Office’s Mountain Rescue Team, which is one of many specialized teams of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue operations, is hosting the California Region Mountain Rescue Association (CRMRA) 2014 Reaccreditation. Teams belonging to the CRMRA are required to recertify annually in one of three disciplines, which include snow and ice, technical rock and search and tracking. This year’s event will be search and tracking.
The reaccreditation will take place in the Auburn State Recreation Area in the American River canyon. The command post will be at the American River Canyon Overlook Park, overlooking the Auburn Dam site. Field teams will be tracking “subjects”, working medical scenarios, doing grid searches, and locating a “missing” aircraft. State Parks has been instrumental in allowing the PCSO Mountain Rescue Team to host the event in their jurisdiction.
More at PlacerCountyOnline.com >>>
“We continue to hope for the best, but plan for the worst under the circumstances and the drought we are in today,” he said.
That’s why the man who oversees water deliveries at Folsom Dam is keeping a close eye on Folsom Lake. It provides water for Folsom, Roseville and Granite Bay.
“That is a very critical water supply delivery that we have, given that the cities surrounding this facility rely upon that water,” he said.
If the lake level, which is at historic lows, drops close to the intake valve at 320 feet, water from the lake can’t get into the tubes to be pumped to people who need it.
Before the last big rain earlier this month, Folsom Lake got as low as 355 feet, getting dangerously close to the 320-foot level of the intake, where the intake would suck air instead of water.
More at CBSLocal.com >>>
Right now, Folsom Lake’s water levels are at historic lows because of a third consecutive dry winter. But federal officials say in the future, when we get way too much rain and snow, the reservoir won’t be able to hold all the water. That’s why the dam needs to be raised by 3.5 feet.
Specifically, the plan calls for raising all of the dykes, the Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam and the right and left wings of the main dam. It’s a long term project and construction wouldn’t start for another two years.
In a separate project, Folsom Dam is getting new flood-control gates designed to release water quicker during a flood. The steel gates were built in Oregon and are scheduled to arrive later this month.
The meeting on the dam raise project will be held Wednesday from 5 to 7 PM at the Folsom Community Center.
From CapRadio.org >>>
In a couple of weeks Folsom will begin construction on a new $3 million Johnny Cash Trail for bikes, which includes a bridge over the busy four-lane Folsom Lake Crossing.
The bike trail is on an easement on the western edge of Folsom State Prison, the state’s second oldest prison, and its neighbor California State Prison Sacramento.
Both facilities are directly below Folsom Lake.
The trail’s name comes from the legendary singer’s 1955 song “Folsom Prison Blues,” the January 1968 concert at the prison and the subsequent hit album “At Folsom Prison” of that same year.
The bridge over Folsom Lake Crossing is the most expensive part of the project, and it will safely carry riders over the busy traffic of Folsom Lake Crossing and East Natoma Street, which connects Granite Bay with Folsom and El Dorado Hills.
The concrete bridge is designed to reflect the look of the Gothic guard towers of Folsom State Prison’s west gate, said Robert Goss, director of parks and recreation in Folsom.
“We didn’t copy the design, but you can’t miss the connection,” he said.
The city of Folsom has 35 miles of Class 1 bike trail, which are trails for bikes only and not shared on city streets. This new segment of trail adds about 2.5 miles of Class 1 bike trail parallel with East Natoma Street and makes a connection with the city’s civic center and also with the American River Bike Trail.
More at BizJournals.com >>>
Facing the very real possibility of an extremely low American River flow in July, the organizers of the 41st Eppie’s Great Race are considering using Lake Natoma for the paddle portion of the triathlon.
Eppie’s Great Race is scheduled for July 19 this year, and without substantially more rain this season, the American River may have very limited flows by race time.
The race features a 5.8-mile run and 12.5-mile cycle that usually ends with a 6.4-mile paddle down the American River.
More at BizJournals.com >>>