Category Archives: Rafting

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 >>>

Heavy snowpack looks good for Folsom Lake

A whopping Sierra snowpack now could mean great boating and water skiing on Folsom Lake this summer.

The state’s official snow survey last week showed the Sierra snowpack is at 173 percent of its early February average.

That means, come summer, steady snowmelt should keep Folsom at relatively high levels.

So tune up the outboard motor and break out the water skis: It’s likely to be a very watery summer.

“We should see strong runoff into Folsom through the summer months,” said Louis Moore, deputy public information officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento. “Typically, August is the month with the highest levels at Folsom.”

Recently, the lake held 407,000 acre feet; the maximum capacity is 977,000 acre feet. Dam operators are making sure there is plenty of space for incoming rain and snow runoff from the current storm systems.

More at >>>

Folsom, Granite Bay among those called out for dramatic increase in water use

Californians are continuing to use more water, state drought regulators said Tuesday, with residents of Folsom and Granite Bay among those who’ve ramped up their consumption the most.

The State Water Resources Control Board announced that urban consumption grew by 8 percent in September compared with a year ago. It was the fourth straight month of higher consumption now that strict conservation mandates have been relaxed. Water districts used about 170 billion gallons of water, an increase of 13 billion gallons compared with September 2015, the agency said.

In its announcement, the state board pointed to six urban agencies that experienced “sharp reductions in conservation,” including two in Greater Sacramento – the city of Folsom and the San Juan Water District. Folsom’s usage rose 25 percent in September compared with a year ago. Consumption in the San Juan district, which includes Granite Bay, grew by 29 percent. By contrast, consumption in the city of Sacramento grew by 8 percent, matching the statewide average.

Californians managed to conserve 18.3 percent in September compared with 2013, the baseline established by state officials. But a year ago, when statewide conservation regulations were in place, the savings rate was a more robust 26.2 percent.

“Overall, we’re happy to see millions of Californians and many water agencies continue significant conservation,” said board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus in a prepared statement. “Conversely, we’re concerned to see some agencies return to using hundreds of gallons per person per day while saving little. … We need to keep conserving.”

More at >>>

Sacramento water agencies work together, adapting to drought

Dr. Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, is the godfather of research on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. When he says it took John Sutter eight days to wind his way from San Francisco Bay through the Delta to find the narrow Sacramento River in 1839, you can bet that’s the truth. Not until 1913 was the mouth of the river dredged to make it a mile wide. Grizzly bears roamed the wildness, feasting on an abundance of native fish, until they were hunted to local extinction. Today in the Delta, the largest estuary on the west coast of North America, only remnants remain of the natural landscape before it was irreversibly altered at the hands of people.

The Delta is a system of canals. In places, you can stand on a man-made levee with high water on one side and sunken land on the other. For 7,000 years, sediment accumulated to form deposits of organically-rich peat soil, but the last 170 years of farming have undone this natural process. About 2,300 dump trucks worth of soil is lost per day, oxidized as carbon dioxide and all told, about half of the Delta’s soil material is now gone, says Curt Schmutte, a civil engineer who specializes in Delta issues. We named plots of land in the Delta “islands,” but scientists refer to them — the majority below sea level — as “holes.”

I’m with a tour group on a hot September afternoon, and we hold onto our hats and brace ourselves as the boat tears through the water at 40 miles per hour, past invasive water hyacinth, tules, fishermen, houseboats, farmland and cattle. The Delta accumulates water from California’s largest watershed and acts as the hub of the state’s water supply system, linking water from the north to the two biggest water projects, which play a major role in sustaining the world’s sixth largest economy and much of its industry, agriculture and 39 million people.

But the Delta exists under unrelenting pressure: from land-use change, population growth, nutrient pollution from wastewater treatment plants, earthquakes, agriculture, sea-level rise and more. Even with money, there’s no silver bullet to fix this ecosystem — but there are plenty of battling sides. “It’s like a game of chicken,” Lund says. “How do you break a game of chicken?”

Was it Mark Twain who proclaimed, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over”? When it comes to this natural resource, our state is rife with conflict. And, perhaps, in the Sacramento region, open to resolution. While the state is all-consumed with water wars, the region’s efforts toward collaboration are easy to overlook. The best example is the landmark Water Forum Agreement, which 22 water agencies from Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties signed in 2000 to balance the environmental and human needs of the lower American River.

Now, water agencies have joined together again to launch the River Arc Project. Proponents say the project has the potential for a groundbreaking impact. It would help recharge groundwater through a management practice called “conjunctive use.” It would also allow for ongoing growth by creating an additional source of water to lessen demand on the lower American River and Folsom Lake, which already provide drinking water to 1 million residents, says Andy Fecko, director of resource development at Placer County Water Agency. “What’s unique about our region is we’re doing this before we have a crisis.”

More at >>>

12 tons of trash pulled in Great Sierra River Cleanup

More than one thousand volunteers in the Sierra Nevada Region helped pull 12 tons of trash from rivers, lakes, and streams on Saturday.

The event was all a part of the 8th annual Great Sierra River Cleanup.

Estefan Galvan, 25, is a diver with seven years experience who helped cleanup Saturday.

“Diving is a whole different world. It’s an entirely different world,” Galvan said. “When you get under water it’s a completely different feel, your away from everything at the surface.”

Galvan joined a crew of a dozen divers in Folsom, California who pulled several items from the American River.

“Our main focus is going to be under the cliff diving spots and under the bridges where people tend to be looking over the edges or jumping off or throwing things over,” Galvan said.

The group pulled a bicycle, fishing rod, cans, glass, anchors and more from the American River.

More at >>>

Old pipe removal requires less American River flow

Flows on the American River will be lower and rafting will be excluded one morning later this month to allow for removal of an old water pipe.

The Carmichael Water District on Sept. 13 will take away concrete debris from the south side of the river and remove an existing 33-inch steel water pipeline crossing the river just upstream from Ancil Hoffman Park.

Flows are scheduled to be reduced from 1,500 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cubic feet per second starting in the morning and continuing through 2 p.m. Sept. 13. The old pipeline is in the river but is partially exposed.

“This removal of the old pipeline is one the things we are most excited about – to restore the river to its original condition,” said Chris Nelson, Carmichael Water District spokesman.

Also beginning at dawn and continuing until about 1 p.m., watercraft launching in the water will be prohibited beginning at Rossmoor Bar and at other upstream access points, including at Sunrise Boulevard. The watercraft prohibition between those points is needed for safety reasons due to heavy equipment being used that day to remove the pipeline.

More at >>>

Great American River Clean Up – Saturday, September 17th 2016

Great American River Clean Up – Saturday, September 17th 2016 from 9am-12pm

Great American River Clean Up Sep 20, 2014 2015 RESULTS:

25 sites cleaned.
1,550 volunteers participated.
20,000 lbs. of trash removed.

Come join us for our annual Great American River Clean Up! Bring your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family. Help us reach our goal of 2,000 volunteers!

There are 20+ Clean Up locations spanning the Parkway.
Click here for a map of Clean Up locations.
Click here for driving directions.

Click HERE to Register!

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the ARPF office at (916) 486-2773, or send email to

Natomas Levee Project Ready To Begin

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the go-ahead to begin a nine-part levee-improvement project for the Natomas Basin in Sacramento.

The final documents required for the project have been signed and the Army Corps will put the first section of levee repair out to bid this fall. The levees are part of a system that diverts watershed runoff into the American River.

John Hogue is the project manager for the corps. He says each of the nine repair projects is called a “reach” and includes construction of a cutoff wall to prevent seepage. He says each reach project will present its own set of obstacles.

More at >>>

Mellow participants at alcohol-free ‘Raftopia’ event on American River

Hundreds gathered Saturday morning on the banks of the American River in Rancho Cordova for “Raftopia,” a nonpermitted event that prompted a one-day alcohol ban.

Sgt. A.J. Bennett, a Sacramento County Regional Parks ranger, said the Rancho Cordova Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, volunteer mounted officers and California Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel assisted rangers Saturday to ensure participants had a safe day on the river.

“The water will wear a swimmer out in a hurry,” Bennett said.

Park ranger Greg Stelzner said the Saturday crowd was mellow.

“We have a good crowd. … A couple of church groups came through,” Stelzner said. Rafters were cooperative, either throwing beer away or taking it back to their parked vehicles.

More at >>>

Non-permitted ‘Raftopia’ prompts alcohol ban on American River

A alcohol restriction has been issued for the American River on Saturday from Hazel to Watt avenues in preparation for the non-permitted “Raftopia” event taking place that day.

Michael Doane, chief ranger for Sacramento County Regional Parks, said the main concern is public safety.

“(Raftopia) is formerly known as Rafting Gone Wild,” Doane said.

Six arrests were made at the July Rafting Gone Wild event, during which Sammy Diaz, the event organizer, escaped law enforcement officials by jumping off of a bridge and swimming away. Later that month, Diaz was arrested on two outstanding warrants: a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer and a misdemeanor charge of illegally jumping from a bridge at another unpermitted rafting event on the American River.

More at >>>