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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
With heavy rain forecast for Thursday, room is being made in Folsom Lake by increasing flows into the American River.
In about two days, the lake level has climbed 230,000 acre feet. Folsom Lake, with a capacity of 977,000 acre feet, is around 696,000 acre feet Thursday morning.
A strong storm on Thursday is expected to drop an inch or two of rain in Sacramento and perhaps four inches in the foothills. That has prompted Folsom Dam operators to increase flows.
About 40,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) was being released about 7 p.m. Wednesday. As of 4 a.m. Thursday the amount of water from Folsom Dam had been increased to 58,000 cfs.
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 FolsomTelegraph.com >>>
Rain and wind over the weekend caused a rock slide on the American River Bike Trail near Lake Natoma.
The portion of the trail at the slide, about 100 yeards southwest of Negro Bar on Lake Natoma, is closed, according to Stephen Green, president of Save the American River Association.
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The Bureau of Reclamation is getting ahead of this weekend’s storm by incrementally releasing 3,500 cubic feet of water per second to 15,000 cubic feet per second below the Nimbus Dam to manage potential Sierra runoff.
“The reservoir can come up quite quickly,” said Louis Moore, deputy of public affairs with the bureau. “So we’re making some adjustments today to increase our releases to accommodate that new water coming.”
With this super soaker expected to drench Northern California, water levels will no doubt rise.
“A lot of that water is going to affect the local areas, and you will see the rivers rise based on all that runoff and drainage into those rivers,” Moore said.
This storm has also prompted Sacramento County Regional Parks to close areas like the American and Dry Creek parkways along with the Sacramento and American Rivers.
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Douglas Lewis had just taken a picture of the coyote and was on his way out of the Folsom State Recreation Area when, he said, he heard the gunshot that killed the animal.
The coyote had been living in the area for at least four years and had never seemed threatening, Lewis said. But it did seem like it was becoming less fearful of people, park regulars and rangers said, which made officials nervous because picnicking families use the recreation area.
“My friends and I used to see him at Lake Natoma … it’s a sanctuary,” Lewis said. “He’s there in the summer, in the winter, it doesn’t matter. It was like that was his little hide-out.”
A wildlife specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture killed the coyote Dec. 22. The animal was not trapped and relocated because California trapping laws and regulations require a trapped animal to be either killed or released immediately.
“Once a coyote gets habituated, it loses its fear of people,” said USDA Wildlife Services spokeswoman Pamela Manns. Such a lack of fear, she said, “could lead to potential conflicts between coyotes and people.”