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Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests

The American River is seeing an increase in native fish nests following a fall project carried out by federal, state and local agencies to re-establish natural spawning habitats.

The American River Fishery Restoration Project stretched through September 2019 and poured 14,000 cubic yards of gravel into the riverbed near Fair Oaks, while creating a side channel to rejuvenate 5.5 acres of spawning and rearing habitat. A November analysis by the Sacramento Water Forum tallied 345 salmon redds in the restored area, compared to zero redds in 2018.

Female salmons create redds by pressing their tails and bodies against gravel to create a pocket, which they then use to deposit as many as several hundred eggs.

According to Water Forum executive director Tom Gohring, the local agency partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which provided 90 percent of funding for the $1 million project through the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency and Sacramento County Parks and Recreation.

Gohring says the forum has combined a number of methods in monitoring the physical space and wildlife of the American River, which includes snorkel, aerial, ground and lidar surveying.

“The physical monitoring is important because it tells us if the gravel has moved, if it’s where we put it. We know that the salmon like for the water to be an ideal depth and velocity, so if the gravel is moved around those conditions might not exist anymore,” he said. “These species adapted over a millennium to have part of their life cycle in the mountains, where it’s colder. We have blocked access to those mountain streams by putting in dams, and so we’re literally keeping the cold water fishery alive on the hot valley floor.”

The fall-run Chinook salmon departing the American River are classified as a species of concern under the Endangered Species Act, while the Central Valley steelhead migrating to the river have been classified as a threatened species since 1998.

According to data collected by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, more than 21,000 fall-run Chinook were counted in the American River in 2018, while more than 163,000 were documented in 2003.

More at SacBee.com >>>

A woman was found dead in wooded area near American River bike trail

A woman was found dead Saturday in a wooded area along the American River bike trail, police said.

A passerby reported to park rangers before 12:30 p.m. that they had found a body, said Sacramento Police Department spokeswoman Linda Matthew.

The rangers found the woman near the bike path bridge in the 1400 block of Northgate Boulevard, at which point they called police, Matthew said.

More at StockDailyDish.com >>>

Nimbus Hatchery fish ladder to open Nov. 4

The salmon ladder at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova will open Monday, Nov. 4, signaling the start of the spawning season on the American River.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery workers will open the gates in the ladder at 10:30 a.m. and will take more than a half-million eggs during the first week alone in an effort to ensure the successful spawning return of fall-run Chinook salmon.

The three major state-run hatcheries in the Central Valley – Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Sacramento County, and hatcheries on the Feather River in Butte County and the Mokelumne River in San Joaquin County – will take approximately 24 million eggs over the next two months to produce Chinook salmon for release next spring.

Each hatchery has a viewing area where visitors can watch the spawning process. The visitors’ center at Nimbus Hatchery includes a playground with replicas of giant salmon.

Nimbus Hatchery is open to the public free of charge from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

More at LakeCoNews.com >>>

Sacramento Fire Department extinguishes 6 grass fires on American River Parkway

Fire officials are mopping up and investigating after extinguishing the bulk of six grass fires that broke out in the lower American River Parkway on Wednesday morning.

Several fire engines responded to the spot fires on the south side of the American River, first reported at 8:13 a.m., the Sacramento Fire Department said in a tweet about 8:45 a.m.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said the “bulk” of the fire activity was extinguished as of 9:45 a.m., with crews staying at the scene to mop up possible hot spots. The largest of the fires was less than one acre, Wade said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Body recovered from American River near Highway 160 bridge, authorities say

A body was recovered late Monday morning from the American River just north of downtown Sacramento, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.

Fire officials assisted Sacramento County park rangers in a body recovery operation about 11 a.m. very close to the Highway 160 bridge north of Richards Boulevard, Fire Department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said.

Fire crews, park rangers and the coroner’s office responded to the scene, Wade said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Police locate and arrest suspect of two sexual assaults near the American River

Sacramento police arrested a man that allegedly sexually assaulted two women near the American River on Aug. 18, according to a news release. The suspect was booked into the county jail.

Manuel Sicario, 27, faces several charges, including sexual battery and assault with attempt to rape, according to the release.

Both of the victims of the assaults were able to flee. No injuries were reported, the release said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

American River Bike Trail Segment Closed As Sacramento County Repairs Damage From 2018 Storms

A segment of the American River bike trail near Rancho Cordova was damaged during a major storm last November. Now, Sacramento County and the city have closed off the section to complete a fix and hopes to re-open it by the end of August.

Liz Bellas, director of Sacramento County regional parks, says she hasn’t seen damage to the trail like this in more than 30 years.

“The riverbank that was adjacent to the trail was undercut and collapsed and fell away,” she said. “The last time that I can recall something like this happening was in the big floods of ’86.”

Crews are now stabilizing the riverbank, and the trail for cyclists has been moved inland a few hundred feet. Those who use the trail have to take an approximately two-mile detour.

More at CapRadio.com >>>

Sacramento police search for suspect in sex assaults at park

This undated photo released by the Sacramento Police Department shows a man suspected of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape two women in broad daylight at a popular Sacramento, Calif., park, as they seek the public’s help in finding him. Authorities say the man allegedly assaulted a woman in Sutter’s Landing Regional Park shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. (Sacramento Police Department)

Police in Northern California say they are searching for a man suspected of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape two women in broad daylight at a popular Sacramento park.

The Sacramento Police Department says the man allegedly assaulted a woman in Sutter’s Landing Regional Park shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

It says officers were on the scene investigating that assault when they were informed that a man had attempted to rape a woman on a nearby bike trail just under Business 80, south of the American River. They determined it was the same suspect in both attacks.

More at PressDemocrat.com >>>

Crews Now Clearing Part Of American River Bike Trail Blocked By Winter 2017 Landslide

Tons of rubble that has clogged the Lake Natoma bike trail for the last few years is now being cleared.

Parts of the American River Bike Trail have been blocked by large rocks since the 2017 winter storms caused a landslide near the Orangevale Bluffs. Parts of the trail between the Nimbus Dam and the Negro Bar Recreation Area were covered.

More at CBSLocal.com >>>

Officials: 30 rescued from American River over weekend

It’s been a busy weekend on the American River, where hundreds of rafts were floating on the water Sunday – even pink flamingo rafts, like the one Semien Santos was preparing to ride.

“This is going to be the first time. I’m excited,” Santos said, who was visiting the lower Sunrise area of the American River from Tracy.

But sometimes there’s too much excitement on the water. More than two dozen people had to be rescued by fire crews this weekend.

“Yesterday, Sac Metro engaged in six water rescue incidents,” said Diana Schmidt, an information officer for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

Those rescue incidents involved “30 individuals that were pulled out of the water,” Schmidt said.

On the fast-flowing American River, running at about 3,500 cubic feet per second, it’s easy for rafts to get snagged in tree branches or debris under the water, especially store-bought devices that are more suited for a swimming pool.

And many people were not wearing life vests on the river.

Fisherman Steve Sims has seen it all from his vantage point on a footbridge overlooking the water.

“This morning, I warned a guy because the little kid didn’t have a life vest on,” Sims said.

“I said ‘Hey man, the ranger will cite you if you don’t wear a vest.’ And the guy goes, ‘Okay, thank you,’ and then they just floated off,” Sims said.

Roughly 40% of the people rescued on Saturday were not wearing life vests, Schmidt said.

She tried warning rafters Sunday about the dangers of the river.

“Where are your life vests?’ Schmidt asked one rafter.

The man replied: “We are not bringing life vests. We’re just going for it but we’re very good swimmers.”

More at SFGate.com >>>