Category Archives: Water

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 >>>

Body recovered from American River in Sacramento

What started out for Sacramento fire search and rescue as a call for a water rescue in the American River, would turn into a recovery operation Sunday morning.

Calls started coming just after 9 a.m. Sunday. Sacramento police received calls of reports of a possible body in the river north of the terminal end of North 10th Street.

Police and fire crews arrived at the scene when they found the body. A death investigation has just begun, and it is unknown exactly how the person died, police said.

Police report nothing suspicious at this point.

From ABC10.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 >>>

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 >>>