Category Archives: Wildlife

Discovery Park will open this weekend after four months of being underwater

After being flooded for months, Discovery Park will open its gates Saturday for Memorial Day weekend, Sacramento County Regional Parks announced Wednesday.

The 302-acre park closed in January during winter storms as heavy rains and high releases from Folsom Lake left it underwater. The popular summer destination sits at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers.

Tiscornia Beach and much of the park will remain closed, but the boat launch, some parking lots and picnic areas overlooking the confluence will be open. The Jibboom Bridge will open and the American River bike trail will be available through the closed areas.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Folsom Lake Winter Debris Still Clogging Boat Ramps For Memorial Day

Boaters trying to get an early start on the holiday weekend are facing problems on Folsom Lake ahead of Memorial Day.

The lake’s boat ramps are clogged with wood and debris washed downstream from a storm winter.

Park rangers will be patrolling the area, but they are concerned about going out on the lake themselves. What looks like a twig from the top of the lake could carry a bigger hazard underneath.

Tony Tonso and his daughter Tiffany tried to get an early start on the upcoming Memorial Day weekend but were faced with a logjam. They had to move around a mass of sticks and larger branches in the pathway.

From above, the enormity of the mess is clear, with debris piled along the shore, washed down by a record winter of rain. Workers are trying to clear it, but there’s only so much a tugboat can do.

More at CBSLocal.com >>>

Wet Winter Leaves Sea Of Debris On Folsom Lake

You might want to think twice about bringing your watercraft to Folsom Lake as debris is blocking most launches.

State Parks officials say they’re aware of the problem and are contracting with a company to remove the debris as quickly as possible.

“It’s a total disaster, absolutely a total disaster; I was shocked, disappointed.”

That was Steven Gelenich’s reaction when he drove up to a launch Tuesday morning, expecting to see a full and clear lake.

“The main launch ramp over there is a total disaster, it’s full of thousands of pieces of wood, absolutely no way to launch,” Steven said.

But the debris wasn’t going to stop Steven.

“I’ll tell you right now I’m gonna find a way to launch today,” Steven said.

He was determined to cruise the lake on his jet ski. Steven drove to different launches and Oak Beach, but he wasn’t having any luck finding a clear spot to launch.

“I feel like I’m going to cry right now, I’m so disappointed,” said Steven.

According to State Parks officials, years of drought led to a build-up of debris as far up as the Sierra. Heavy winter rains washed the debris into rivers, reservoirs and ultimately here, into Folsom Lake.

“It probably started coming in back in January, or February,” said Superintendent Richard Preston.

It’s now May, and with Memorial Day just around the corner, CBS13 wanted to know why wasn’t the debris cleaned up right away?

“We had this up and down of the water which pushed debris back and forth, and we couldn’t get to it effectively,” Preston said.

Crews began removing debris at the end of last week. They have 75 miles of shoreline to clean up.

“If we don’t get it cleaned up it’s definitely going to impact revenues for the park,” added Preston.

More at CBSLocal.com >>>

American River canyon cleanup targets pesky plant

It’s not just litter that volunteers will be scouring the American River canyon for during Saturday’s American River Clean-up.

As well as taking out the trash, Protect AmericanRiver Canyons and its partners will be targeting invasive broom – a plant that board member Eric Peach said is disturbingly on the increase in the Auburn State Recreation Area and threatening to choke off trails.

Clippers and pruners will be provided to participants willing to wade into the dense growth on the branches of the invasive weed. The broom that is cut will be removed and burned.

“Once it gets established, it’s almost like star thistle,” Peach said. “You can’t get rid of it.”

April is a good time of year to reduce the broom footprint because its trademark yellow blooms haven’t appeared and its not seeding, he said.

The cleanup starts with 8 a.m. registration at the confluence information booth. From there volunteers will fan out to areas throughout the recreation area to clean up litter and chop away broom.

 “Being close to the American River and canyons – having wild nature so close by – is why many of us live in the foothills,” Peach said. “One of the easiest way to express our appreciation for the AmericanRiver is to keep the river and canyons clean and safe for all wildlife and people.”

By 9 a.m., the educational component of the Earth-Day related event will start, with a hike and lecture by Perry Cook and Charlene Carveth on canyon bridges and wildflowers. Colfax watercolor artist Juan Pena will be offering a painting demonstration and tips on capturing the canyon on canvas starting at 9 a.m. and lasting throughout the morning.

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>

New $22M Highway 49 bridge good for rafts as well as cars

Caltrans marked the start of construction on a new bridge on Highway 49 at Coloma on Thursday.

A groundbreaking ceremony signaled a start on a $22 million project designed to bring the crossing over the south fork of the American River up to current seismic standards while providing safer access for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The new bridge in the Lotus-Coloma area will replace the existing 62-year-old structure. Previous Caltrans reports had pegged the age of the bridge at 66.

The project will include seismic upgrades, 8-foot shoulders and new sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The project also includes new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and retaining walls.

“This project aligns with Caltrans’ goals to provide a safe transportation system that also improves mobility,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “Now that the piers of the new bridge are on land versus being in the water, this new bridge will not only allow for safer travel by pedestrians and bicyclists, but it will also make it easier for rafters in the river below.”

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>

Volunteers come together to tackle canyon cleanup

A hardy group of volunteers gathered at the American River confluence bright and early on Saturday morning with the goal of helping to spruce up the canyon and river areas.

   Earth Day, which began in 1970, is now celebrated in more than 190 countries worldwide. It has been celebrated for 19 years in Auburn, with many like-minded individuals coming together on this day to be involved in recognizing Earth Day 2017.

   Organized locally by Protect American River Canyons (PARC), Auburn State Recreation Area and Canyon Keepers, there were numerous tasks for the volunteers to tackle. Volunteers eagerly showed up with gloves and were loaned trash pickers, pruning shears and large plastic bags.

   After a safety talk by Auburn State Recreation Area Supervising Ranger Scott Liske, trash pickup was targeted on the Quarry Trail, No Hands Bridge Trail, Lake Clementine Trail, the Confluence Trail, Stagecoach Trail and along Foresthill Road near Mammoth Bar.

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>

Three county supervisors appointed to Lower American River Parkway Conservancy

Sacramento County supervisors appointed three of their own to the advisory committee for the Lower American River Conservancy Program on Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint supervisors Phil Serna, Susan Peters and Don Nottoli to the committee, with the goal of protecting the parkway, often called the “jewel of Sacramento,” and promoting recreational opportunities.

The American River Parkway is an urban greenbelt that provides flood control and wildlife habitat and protects water quality, along with biking and walking trails.

“Overall the American River Parkway is one of the best amenities in the region,” said Dianna Poggetto, executive director of the American River Parkway Foundation. “It’s considered a blueprint for all the greenbelts in the United States.”

The parkway attracts 8 million visitors annually, Poggetto said.

The Lower American River Conservancy Program was established in a bill authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Crews Work to Clear American River Parkway Trail Following Stormy Winter

Weeks of unrelenting rain this winter damaged much of the dirt trail along the American River between Discovery Park and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

Maintenance crews have spent weeks clearing the area to give runners and horses their trail back, but it’s a lot of work.

Debris hangs on trees, branches block a dirt trail by the American River — a once clear path now a mess.

“I’ve been on a lot of trails, and I’ve never seen something as bad as this,” said Sabrina Lemar with AmeriCorps.

Storms slammed Sacramento for weeks this winter. As the rain fell, the American River rose. High water levels damaged the 30-mile stretch of equestrian and hiking trail between Discovery Park and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

More at FOX40.com >>>

Folsom Lake surrounded by piles of debris

As boating season returns to Folsom Lake, those ready to set sail will have to get around an obstacle lining the lake shore and boat ramps.

That obstacle is a lakewide pileup of debris.

“Pretty much is a ring completely around the lake,” Folsom Lake State Park superintendent Richard Preston said. “Came down from the reservoirs up above and some of the debris that’s been in the river systems for a number of years through the droughts, and it pretty much all just flushed down this year with large storms in January and February.”

Some of the debris extends hundreds of yards from the lake shore, providing a reminder of just how much rain the area’s received this year and how much debris has come with it.

To clean it up, park officials plan to coordinate with the Bureau of Reclamation on a summertime plan to remove the debris. The process would likely be initiated around June after the lake level has peaked.

Part of that plan includes allowing the lake level to rise high enough for the dried out, dead driftwood to be pulled back into the lake.

More at KCRA.com >>>