American River Flow To Rise For Salmon

Water flows in the American River are scheduled to increase through the Sacramento region starting tonight to help salmon and steelhead.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Folsom and Nimbus dams on the river, will maintain the increased flow for three days to help juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon migrate downstream, and to help improve in-river conditions for young steelhead.

The flow will gradually increase from the current 500 cubic feet per second starting at about 9 p.m., and will reach 1,500 cfs by 11 p.m. Flows will remain at that level until early Friday morning, when the volume will be gradually reduced to 800 cfs.

More at Modbee.com >>>

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/04/22/3303052/american-river-flow-to-rise-for.html#storylink=cpyM

 

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On Northern California Rivers, Good Forecast For Summer Rafting

The story of this summer’s prospects for rivers, rafting and trout fishing might sound like a yarn right out of the “Outdoors Department of Yer Eyes Ain’t Foolin’ Ya.”

For the American and Tuolumne rivers, NorCal’s top rafting rivers, the forecasts look great.

What? Aren’t we in the worst drought in a gazillion years? Isn’t the snowpack (and the melt-off to come) about 30 percent of normal in the high country? And won’t the rivers be rendered into trickles by July?

Well, in many cases, nope.

In a reversal of what is logical thought for many, conditions and flows on several rivers will be spectacular into summer for rafting, fishing and camping. And no, yer eyes ain’t foolin’ ya.

It’s a surprise twist to the way things work in California, even in a drought.

It rained enough in February and March to replenish, in part, several watersheds and reload many of the smaller, high-country reservoirs. Enough, that is, for water managers to release water from them and make their deliveries this summer.

The timing of the flows has been worked out to benefit recreation. So when those water deliveries are made, rafters will have a chance to float on them.

One of the best examples is the San Francisco Water Department, which met with outfitters last week to work out flow regimes out of Hetch Hetchy and Cherry reservoirs for the Tuolumne River.

Everybody wins.

“Despite a historic drought in California, we’re fortunate to have a number of rivers that get water from upstream reservoirs,” said Nate Rangel of California Outdoors, a trade association that represents California’s river outfitters. “That means we’re going to have great water all summer long.”

“On the Lower American River (below Folsom Lake and Lake Natomas), the Bureau of Reclamation is tied into the federal water project and they have to deliver water,” said Randy Calvin of River Rat Rafting in Fair Oaks. “It will run right past where we rent rafts and give people a chance to float down the river on it.”

More at SFGate.com >>>

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Nimbus Hatchery Offering Presentation On Drought, Salmon

The public is invited to a free presentation May 3 at Nimbus Hatchery on how California’s drought is affecting salmon and steelhead populations in the American River.

The event is offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which operates the hatchery, one of five in the Central Valley that produce most of the salmon caught by commercial and recreational anglers in the state.

Rob Titus, a senior environmental scientist at the department, will discuss the state of salmon and steelhead runs and the challenges the drought poses to their survival. He’ll also outline actions the agency is taking to protect these fish and improve their survival. Forest Williams of the Sacramento County Water Agency will then describe ways the public can reduce water use and lessen human impact on the river.

Both speakers will take questions from the audience.

The event begins at 11 a.m. May 3 in the hatchery visitor center. No advance registration is required. The hatchery is at 2001 Nimbus Road in Rancho Cordova.

More at SaccBee.com >>>

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Complaint Alleges American River Flows Too Slow, Warm In Sacramento Area

The federal government’s operation of Folsom and Nimbus dams is harming fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead in the American River, several environmental and fishing groups allege in a complaint filed this week with the state.

The groups are urging the State Water Resources Control Board to amend the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s permits to require colder and faster river flows from the two dams. The board has authority over water rights issued to the Bureau of Reclamation, as well as responsibility for protecting public trust resources, including fisheries and water quality. The board first issued operating permits for the dams in 1958.

“We’ve got to have a guaranteed higher flow, and there have to be modifications to Folsom Dam that will allow them to tap the coldest (water) pool in the reservoir,” said Stephen Green, president of Save the American River Association. “When temperatures are high and flows are low, we know that fish are being killed, and it’s not just this year. It’s been going on for decades.”

The other groups involved in the complaint are the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Save Our Streams Council and the Public Trust Alliance.

The water board is reviewing the complaint, which was received on April 4, said spokesman George Kostyrko. If it decides the complaint has merit, it could be scheduled for a hearing or further investigation.

“It is still early in the process, so we haven’t arrived at that, or any conclusions yet,” Kostyrko said via email.

Reclamation officials said they haven’t reviewed the complaint yet and had no comment.

Reclamation’s permit with the state allows it to reduce flows in the lower American River, which cuts through the Sacramento area, to as low as 250 cubic feet per second under certain conditions. Such flows were reached earlier this winter because of the drought, and may occur again this summer and fall. The complaint alleges this is insufficient to support healthy fish life, and should be raised to at least 750 cfs, Green said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

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Folsom Lake Boating Season Open — But For How Long?

Sailboat owner Ron Hitchcock has enjoyed sailing on Folsom Lake for the past 17 years. But this year, he’s giving up his boat slip at the Brown’s Ravine Marina.

“Why? Because there’s no water. I’ll get on the waiting list and try again next year,” said Hitchcock.

Hitchcock’s decision comes as marina operators are advising boaters that the docks, which just opened last weekend, may be closed again in a matter of weeks due to low water levels.

“I’m thinking we’ll get into May, but there are no guarantees,” said Ken Christensen.

Christensen also said the 5 mph speed limit could return as early as the beginning of June if the lake falls fast enough.

“There’s limited space out there. You have to be constantly watching because you are so close to the bottom,” said Arnold Boeck, a sailboat owner.

Inside the Chevron Food Mart along Green Valley Road, the owner expressed relief that at least the boat docks are now open.

More at KCRA.com >>>

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Volunteers Will Clean Up American River Parkway This Weekend

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend, and you can get out and enjoy the weather while helping the American River Parkway Foundation with its  “Spring Clean Up.”

Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters says the clean-up is an important activity.

“The annual effort helps maintain the American River Parkway as a sustainable, natural resource for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

It’s not too late to join in tomorrow morning.

“It’s very easy to sign up if you go to the website of the American River Parkway Foundation, it’s ARPF.org,” she said.

More at KFBK.org >>>

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Recent Rain, Snow Bring Surge Of Water To Folsom Lake

After days of rain in the Valley and snow in the Sierra, California reservoirs are getting a much needed surge of water.

In the last seven days, Folsom Lake has risen 4.34 feet, according the California Department of Water Resources statistics.

As of midnight Wednesday, Folsom Lake’s surface elevation was 409.42 feet.  The lake hit its lowest point this season in early February when it was at 357.06 feet, according to the state’s data exchange.

Even with the surge of water, Folsom Lake remains just 45 percent of capacity and 69 percent of normal for this date.

More at KCRA.com >>>

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Outdoors: Wealth Of New Information In American River Guidebook

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A ceramist by profession, and by passion, Eric Peach often leaves his home studio in Auburn to venture down into the American River Canyon, looking for inspiration in the rushing white water, the winding trails, the abundant wildlife and bountiful flora of a thriving ecosystem.

You can see the result in his works, ranging from playful river otters to fish sculptures to those psychedelically hued fire belly newts.

But you can also see Peach’s love for the American River and its foothills in bookstores and at outdoor retailers. The third edition of “The American River: Insider’s Guide to Recreation, Ecology and Cultural History of the North, Middle and South Forks” ($24.95, Protect American River Canyons, 416 pages) recently was released, all proceeds going to the nonprofit Protect American River Canyons, the organization that sponsors the American River Confluence Festival and other fundraising events.

Peach, 64, and wife Paula enlisted no fewer than 44 writers and editors, and 30 photo and graphics contributors, to completely revamp the second edition, published a decade ago. This time around, 15 trails were added, as were scores of new and updated rafting routes, including a new stretch from the confluence down to Rattlesnake Bar. There’s also a complete digest of plants and trees, birds, reptiles and mammals, as well as an exhaustive history of the area, from the Indian settlements up to the now-revived attempts to dam the river.

More at SacBee.com >>>

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Trucking Of Sacramento River Salmon Starts Monday

More than 12 million juvenile hatchery salmon will get a truck trip downstream starting Monday to help them circumvent the harmful effects of drought on the Sacramento River.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the plan Friday, as a way of bolstering survival rates for the fish. The Sacramento River, compromised by California’s persistent drought, is too low to provide adequate food and protection from predators, potentially jeopardizing a crop of fish that supports the state’s commercial and recreational salmon fishing industries.

Agency spokesman Steve Martarano said it will take 22 days to transport all the fish in tanker trucks from Coleman National Hatchery near Red Bluff. The first salmon will be trucked in a trial run on Monday, with additional shipments continuing Tuesday, if all goes well. Each delivery will deposit the fish back into the Sacramento River near Rio Vista.

Each truck holds about 2,800 gallons of water and 130,000 salmon smolts – juveniles 4 to 6 inches long – and is climate-controlled to maintain a water temperature between 55 and 60 degrees.

The agency owns only two such trucks, so it will borrow five from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The state agency also plans to truck its salmon production from four hatcheries, including Nimbus Hatchery on the American River, starting April 4.

More at ModBee.com >>>

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/03/21/3252063/trucking-of-sacramento-river-salmon.html#storylink=cpy

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Folsom Lake Water Levels On The Rise

Folsom Lake is on the rise. The lake has risen 43-feet in the last month, stretching above the 400-foot mark and that means the current five-miles-per-hour speed limit for boats is being lifted.

California State Parks officials say the speed restriction was in place because of lower lake levels with rocks and sandbars much closer to the water’s surface.

From KFBK.com >>>

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