All posts by admin

Most of American River Parkway Trail expected to reopen this weekend

Sacramento County park rangers have been able to clean up enough of the American River Parkway Trail that they expect to have at least 20 of the park’s 23 miles open this weekend.

The trail runs from Discovery Park, where the American River meets the Sacramento River, to the Nimbus Dam in Folsom.

The area that will remains closed will be the three mile stretch that runs through Discovery Park, which still remains under water. This stretch isn’t expected to reopen until late April or early May.

the Sunrise Recreation Area, the pedestrian bridge remains closed after water rose up and over the bridge in February damaging the railings. This was the highest it has been in 20 years.

“We decided to walk across the river and now we can’t, it’s honestly really annoying,” Andrew Lloyd said. Lloyd and a friend were forced to take the long way around on Sunrise Boulevard to reach Folsom.

Repairs aren’t expected to be finished on the bridge until late May.

More at KCRA.com >>>

Nimbus Hatchery Releases 420,000 American River Steelhead

Nearly a half million young steelhead recently started their journey to the ocean, thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Staff at Nimbus Fish Hatchery nursed the young steelhead through several potentially devastating conditions, including drought-induced high water temperatures in the hatchery last summer and winter flood conditions that nearly cut off usable water supplies and carried dangerous levels of silt into the hatchery’s normally clean water distribution system.

“The fish we released will be returning to the American River over the next two to four years, and we are proud and relieved to have brought them this far,” said Gary Novak, the Nimbus Hatchery manager. “Steelhead are hardy, but considering their size and the number of environmental obstacles cropping up in rapid succession, they still needed human intervention in the hatchery to ensure a better chance of survival in the wild.”

All 420,000 young steelhead were released into the American River just upstream of the I Street Bridge in Sacramento. Due to the high water conditions, the juvenile fish are expected to make excellent time traveling down the Sacramento River to the Bay and eventually on to the Pacific Ocean. Losses to predators are believed to be lower during turbid water and high flow conditions.

During January and February 2017, water releases from Nimbus Dam reached 80,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is well above the normal 6,000 to 10,000 cfs. The high flows created conditions that dislodged exceptional amounts of debris, clogging the intake structure at Nimbus Fish Hatchery and creating near-lethal levels of nitrogen in the water. Hatchery staff worked around the clock over a month-long period to keep the water intake open, clear water distribution points, tanks and raceways of silt, and install aerators to lower nitrogen levels.

More at CDFGNews>>>

American River Parkway floodwater recedes, leaving trail of trash for agencies to clear

As floodwater recedes from the American River Parkway, plastic bags, bottles, bike parts and shopping carts remain on banks and tree branches, sparking a new partnership between county departments to hasten the clean up.

Director of Regional Parks Jeff Leatherman said this week that his department is coordinating with waste management and recycling staff to cart garbage and plant remains out of the parkway, which stretches 23 miles from Discovery Park to Lake Natoma.

The popular greenbelt was closed due to heavy flooding last month as the American River reached its highest level since 1997. Discovery Park remains underwater and is not expected to open until May, but other sections have slowly dried out under clear skies. The county announced Thursday that the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail is open from miles 6 to 23 with one detour.

More at SacBee.com>>>

Bike trail mostly reopens after water recedes along American River

With waters receding and park crews able to clear away debris and dirt, a large section of the American River bike trail and other recreational spots have reopened.

Sacramento County Regional Parks noted Thursday that the Jedediah Memorial Bicycle Trail the county cares for is still closed from its start at Discovery Park to Mile 6 near Cal Expo. However, the trail is open from Mile 6 to Mile 23 at Hazel Avenue.

An exception to the opening is between mile 20 and 21 near Sunrise Boulevard, where a detour is in place.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Man hanging by rope from Sac State pedestrian bridge cut down by passerby, survives

A man jumped from the Guy West pedestrian bridge over the American River with a noose around his neck but was saved when cut down by a passerby.

A witness saw the man jump about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday from the bridge that spans the river between Sacramento State and University Avenue. The male passerby told officers that he had tried to dissuade the man from jumping to no avail.

When the man jumped, the witness ran to the bridge railing. He then cut the rope that was tied to the bridge at one end and around the man’s neck at the other.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Snow survey reveals CA water content at 185% of average

The Sierra snowpack survey conducted Wednesday revealed that the northern Sierra water content is well above average for this time of the year and bodes well for runoff later in the year.

Numbers manually taken by water officials at the Phillips Station in El Dorado County revealed 43.4 inches of water content, which is 179 percent of the long-term average for March 1, and a snow-depth of 112.7 inches.

The water content did not break the record of 56.4 inches for that station, but Frank Gehrke, of the California Department of Water Resources, said it is “a pretty phenomenal snowpack.”

“It bodes very well for runoff much longer than we have had in the past four or five years,” Gehrke said. “It’s a very, very good indicator of good surface water supplies as we head into spring and summer.

As of March 1:

  • The northern Sierra is 159 percent of average.
  • The central Sierra is 190 percent of average.
  • The southern Sierra is 201 percent of average.

The central and southern regions are tracking “very close” to 1983, which is when the maximum snowpack was recorded statewide.

More at KCRA.com >>>

As American River Parkway remains flooded, residents seek higher ground for exercise

With the popular American River Parkway mostly underwater, local residents accustomed to exercising along the waterway will have to find alternate routes for the second straight weekend.

The next major downpour is expected to hit the region Monday, giving people who don’t mind cloudy skies and a light drizzle a chance to get outside before the next downpour.

Amy Rihel, training coordinator for Fleet Feet Sports, said it’s been challenging for runners accustomed to using the parkway to find places to get in their miles.

“We’ve been in this pickle in the last couple of weeks on where to take our groups,” Rihel said. “Land Park has been kind of a lifeline.”

Depending on the desired distance, McKinley Park and Land Park can be big enough to avoid boredom while running loops this Presidents Day weekend, she said, though some of the dirt paths are muddy. The paved trail around North Natomas Regional Park is approximately 2.5 miles, so “even if you’re doing long distance, it doesn’t get too crazy like you’re going in circles all the time,” she said.

Rihel recommended the greenbelt in the Pocket neighborhood, the Clarksburg Branch Pedestrian and Bike Trail in West Sacramento and the Sacramento River Parkway. The last one is not as maintained as the American River Parkway but it’s paved and “you can get some decent mileage on that,” she said.

For people willing to drive, Rihel suggested heading out to the Auburn and Folsom Lake state recreation areas.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Dam manuals keep California’s water future in the past

“Sacramentans will recall how the operators of the Folsom Lake dam dumped billions of gallons of water last year at this time into the American River, never mind that the region was gripped by drought and a heat wave. The reservoir was down to 40 percent of capacity, under clear skies. But dam operators had no choice.”

The Oroville Dam crisis was about infrastructure. The scare this week stemmed from rickety spillways, not dam management.

But if other aspects seemed familiar, it may be because it again highlighted the gap between modern science and the antique flood-control manuals governing major dams in California. As The Bee’s Ryan Sabalow and Andy Furillo reported, the guiding document determining how full Lake Oroville can be in a rainy season hasn’t been updated since the Nixon administration, and is almost as old as the dam itself.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manual, they reported, was last revised in 1970, two years after Oroville Dam’s completion. A lot can change in 47 years.

Science has advanced, in meteorology and engineering. Weather satellites, computer models and research into atmospheric rivers have made it possible to forecast storms with an accuracy previously unimagined. Climate change has upended assumptions.

Two of the biggest floods ever to hit the region have occurred since the Oroville Dam manual was written; on its sepia pages, it’s as if they never happened. The story is the same for all 54 of the state’s primary flood-control dams, whose manuals are 30 years old or older.

“California’s flood infrastructure is based on the hydrology of the past,” Jeffrey Mount of the Public Policy Institute of California told The Bee. “I don’t know a scientist anymore who thinks the future is going to look anything like the past.”

This isn’t just some clerical issue. The owners of those 54 dams cannot deviate from the manuals’ old models in determining water levels. That inflexibility has become a problem in both wet and dry years.

Sacramentans will recall how the operators of the Folsom Lake dam dumped billions of gallons of water last year at this time into the American River, never mind that the region was gripped by drought and a heat wave. The reservoir was down to 40 percent of capacity, under clear skies. But dam operators had no choice.

The installation of a new spillway at Folsom this year has triggered an update, finally, to its manual. Oroville’s problems, and ensuing repairs, could eventually mean a new and improved manual for it, too.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Crews rescue people from American River as water levels rise

Five people were rescued from the American River in the Sacramento area within four hours Thursday night, the Sacramento Fire Department said.

Officials increased flows out of Folsom and Nimbus dams Thursday afternoon, increasing water levels on the American River.

Around 6:10 p.m., crews rescued a man who was trapped on an island under the Highway 160 overpass at Del Paso Boulevard. He was taken to the hospital to get treatment.

A second person was rescued from the water at Del Paso Boulevard, the fire department tweeted around 7:10 p.m.

By 8:15 p.m., two more people were rescued from another island in the American River. The people were near Cal Expo at Ethan Avenue.

More at KCRA.com >>>

High water levels prompt closure of American River Parkway access points

As runoff gushes into Folsom and Shasta lakes, officials have increased flows down the American and Sacramento rivers, prompting safety warnings for those using the waterways for recreation.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the amount of water from Folsom Dam was at 70,000 cubic feet of water per second, according to the bureau. That’s the highest rate of water released this season, based on state data.

High river levels prompted the closure Thursday of all American River Parkway vehicle access points, according to county spokeswoman Kim Nava. Pedestrian access points will close Friday as well, and it remains to be seen when they will reopen.

“People recreating in or along the lower American River downstream of Folsom Dam to the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions,” the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a news release.

In about two days, Folsom lake level has climbed 230,000 acre feet. Folsom Lake, with a capacity of 977,000 acre feet, was around 696,000 acre feet Thursday morning.

A strong storm on Thursday was expected to drop an inch or two of rain in Sacramento and perhaps four inches in the foothills. The warm nature of the storm has resulted in heavy runoff from the Sierra.

While 70,000 cfs was going out of Folsom Lake on Thursday, 114,000 was flowing into the reservoir.

The American River is expected to reach depths of 37.6 feet at the H Street Bridge – the highest it has been since the floods of 1997. It will remain about four feet below flood stage.

Several access points along the swollen American River are closed. Discovery Park is flooded.

More at SacBee.com >>>