Category Archives: Salmon

Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma had high E. coli readings

Environmental advocates are calling on state officials to notify the public about past tests showing high levels of E. coli in Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma, two of the region’s most popular areas for open water swimming and boating.

But officials responsible for recreational use on the lakes say the test results cited are too old, while the agency that conducted the tests says it has no responsibility for public notices.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in December concluded that the amount of E. coli in the lower American River had exceeded the federal threshold for safe recreational use. The test results didn’t become public until The Sacramento Bee reported them in late August.

The findings were based on water samples taken from 2007 to 2014. Some tests showed E. coli concentrations in Lake Natoma were eight times the level considered safe for recreational use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A board report earlier this year found elevated E. coli levels in the lower American River in 2015 and 2016, but did not include samples from Lake Natoma and Folsom Lake, where tens of thousands of people swim, boat and fish every year. The board has limited funds for testing and wanted to focus on areas where higher levels had been found in the past, said Adam Laputz, assistant executive officer at the board. The highest concentrations have been near downtown Sacramento.

E. coli can sicken and even kill people who swim in or drink contaminated water. State and county officials have said they’re not aware of anyone getting sick from the bacteria in the American River.
More at SacBee.com >>>

Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder to Open Oct. 9

The Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder on the American River will open on Monday, Oct. 9 at 10:45 a.m. The ladder is opening unusually early in the season to accommodate the arrival of returning adult fall-run Chinook salmon that hatched in the Coleman National Fish Hatchery (CNFH) in Battle Creek in 2014. Eggs from fall-run Chinook salmon that stray to Nimbus Hatchery will be returned to CNFH to ensure a healthy population of these fish for commercial, recreational and ecological purposes.

“These fish were born at the height of the drought in 2014,” said Jay Rowan, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) North Central Region Senior Environmental Scientist. “They were trucked to the Delta as fry and released near Rio Vista and the San Pablo Bay as part of a massive effort to improve their chances for survival in a year of poor river conditions.”

Returning now as adults, many of these salmon will stray into the American River and not return to their home waters to spawn. The lack of returning fish will make it extremely difficult for the CNFH to reach their goal of producing 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon this fall to release in the waters below Lake Shasta.

CDFW is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with the support of the Bureau of Reclamation, to collect eggs at Nimbus Fish Hatchery to assist CNFH in meeting its production goals and maintaining a stable salmon population on Battle Creek and the upper Sacramento River.

When the salmon reach Nimbus Hatchery, staff will separate out the fish that have had their adipose fin removed, indicating that they carry a tiny coded wire tag that records their hatchery of origin. Fish identified as being of CNFH origin will be spawned with one another, and their fertilized eggs returned to CNFH. Fish that have not had their adipose fin removed will be spawned and their eggs held until it is determined if they will be needed to meet CNFH production goals.  Fish that are not yet ready to spawn will have a colored tag attached to their dorsal fin and will be returned to the American River, where they will be available to anglers until they either spawn naturally or climb the ladder again and are spawned at the hatchery to meet the Nimbus Fish Hatchery egg collection goals. While anglers are able to catch and keep fish marked with these tags, the tags have no monetary value and do not need to be returned to CDFW.

From >>> cdfgnews.wordpress.com

Lower American River contains unsafe levels of E. coli. Are homeless camps to blame?

Levels of E. coli bacteria found in the lower American River exceed the federal threshold for safe recreational use, in part due to human waste from homeless camps, state regulators say.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed adding the bacteria to a list of pollutants that make the lower American River a federally designated impaired water body. A state board is expected to sign off on the decision later this year and ask for final approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

E. coli can sicken and even kill people who swim in or drink contaminated water. State regulators say they’re not aware of anyone who has been sickened by E. coli in the the lower American River, but nearly a decade of test data indicate the risk of exposure.

“It should give people some discomfort about using the water – it’s not good,” said Ron Stork of Friends of the River.

A report summarizing test results from 2007 to 2014 found average levels of E. coli at three sites that were higher than the EPA standard, “beyond which the water body is not recommended for recreation.” The three sites are in the westernmost section of the American River Parkway, near downtown Sacramento, where the highest concentration of homeless camps are set up.

Seventeen of the 25 test sites had at least one recording in excess of the federal threshold, according to the “Safe-to-Swim Assessment.”

Thousands of people use the lower American River each year, from the boaters who launch at Discovery Park, to the swimmers who enjoy the beach at Sutter’s Landing Regional Park, to the triathletes who participate in Eppie’s Great Race.

“My concern is that it could make me sick,” said Alex McDonald, who was sitting in the water with his wife at Sutter’s Landing last week. “I would like to know more.”

More at SacBee.com >>>

Folsom Lake nears max capacity

After a record season of rainfall and an abundant snowpack thereafter, Folsom Lake is rapidly reaping the benefits. As of press time Tuesday, the lake that looked like a mere puddle just months ago, had reached its highest level of the year, nearing its capacity by single digits.

As of  press time on Tuesday, Folsom Lake’s capacity had reached 943,677 acre feet, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The most recent readings show the reservoir just three percent from capacity and 115 percent of the historical average for this period, which was previously recorded at 819,034 acre feet. The total capacity of Folsom Lake is 977,000 acre feet.

So far in June, the Folsom Dam has been operating continued releases with as many as five upper flood gates flowing at one time, day and night. Tuesday, inflow into Folsom was measured at 11,069 cubic feet per second. The current release was reportedly producing an outflow of 12,573 CFS, with 4,877 of that designated for power usage and 7,696 for river spillage.

The current level of Folsom Lake has exceeded its previous high point that was reached in 1978, but has yet to reach the high point it reached in 1983, one of the wettest winters in recent history that was comparable to that of 2016-2017. At 97 percent of capacity, the lake is just three feet from reaching its peak elevation.

In the years that Folsom Lake has reached its capacity, the event has routinely occurred in early June. Currently sitting at 97 percent, it is expected that Folsom Lake will put 2017 in the history books this coming week. Reaching the capacity mark is something local officials are waiting for as it will assist with ongoing clean up efforts.

Once the lake reaches its much-anticipated capacity, the clean up efforts will become much more manageable. Debris that is currently filling the shallow waters of the lake will become parked on the shoreline when the waters undergo their first recession of the season.

More at FolsomTelegraph.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 >>>

Thanks to abundant snow, the West can expect a long, rollicking river rafting season

Chris Moore watched in awe this winter as the snow piled up on his multiple trips to Bear Valley Mountain Resort in the central Sierra.

“I’ve never seen a winter quite like this,” said Moore, California regional manager for O.A.R.S. rafting company.

“What all this snow means is it’s going to be a long and exciting whitewater season, so I’m stoked.

“We’re going to have big flows in the late spring and early summer and a more drawn-out whitewater season on rivers here in California.”

Moore’s enthusiasm is widespread among rafting outfitters up and down the state, some of whom are still recovering from the drought, which just two years ago saw April 1 snowpack measurements of 5% of normal throughout much of the Sierra.

This year, however, the snowpack is 140% of normal for the Northern Sierra and 169% of normal for the Central Sierra, according to the California Data Exchange Center.

Here’s how the season is shaping up.

The Middle, North and South forks of the American River, as well as the North Fork of the Stanislaus River will have high flows in May and June, moderating as the summer progresses.

“The South Fork of the American, which is normally a fun Class III river that’s great for even young kids, is not going to be the kind of stream you’d want to take your 6-year-old on around the start of the season” Moore said. “But it will mellow out, too, as the season unfolds.”

Because the water on the South Fork will be roaring early, O.A.R.S. will offer its one-day, “21-Miler” trips seven days a week from April through June.

These wild rides combine the upper Chili Bar section with the lower Gorge section. At lower flows, covering all 21 miles of the South Fork would make for a long day, but not this spring and early summer.

More at LATimes.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 >>>