Folsom Lake is filling fast so flows on swollen American River have been ratcheted up

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.

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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.

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Folsom Lake less than half full after recent rains. Residents ask, why so dry?

Northern California is on track to break rainfall records. Water has gushed through weirs into the Yolo Bypass flood plain at levels not seen in more than a decade. The Sierra Nevada snow pack is nearly double historical averages.

But you wouldn’t know the region has experienced an exceptionally wet winter looking at the steep, dry shores ringing the Sacramento region’s largest reservoir, Folsom Lake. On Wednesday, the lake was filled to just 41 percent capacity – 80 percent of its historical average.

Folsom Dam operators say the low levels are necessary to protect Sacramento from flooding. With runoff from recent storms subsiding and forecasts of sunny skies through early next week, dam operators are gradually dialing back releases into the lower American River below Folsom Dam. That should allow the lake to rise again.

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Rockslide closes Lake Natoma bike trail

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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Storms transform drought-thirsty California

It’s no secret California has suffered from a historic drought that has affected many of the state’s largest lakes and waterways.

However, recent storms and the precipitation they left have underscored just how significant an impact the drought has had on the thirsty state.

Here in Sacramento, Folsom Lake’s water level saw a drastic transformation, increasing to more than 560,000 acre-feet from lower than 200,000 AF in 2015.

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Folsom Lake rises 13+ feet

Folsom Lake continues to rise with the weekend’s rains, despite water managers releasing even more water downstream.

FAST FACTS:

Folsom Lake stands at 422 feet.
The lake is up 13 feet since Sunday.
Releases at Nimbus Dam have doubled.
As of 5 a.m. Monday, Folsom Lake’s water level stood at 422 feet elevation, which is 13.5 feet higher than it was 5 hours earlier.

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Ahead Of Super Soaker, Officials Upping Water Releases Below Nimbus Dam

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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Hand-feeding leads to officials shooting coyote along American River Parkway

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.”

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Folsom Lake rises as downstream releases to increase

Folsom Lake’s water level continues to rise as water releases are scheduled Thursday to increase downstream flows on the American River.

Between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, the lake rose roughly five feet.

The amount of water flowing into the lake after days of rain and snow has surpassed 30,000 cubic feet per second. That is the greatest amount of water flowing into the lake since mid-December.

Meanwhile, the outflow, as of 6:30 a.m., stood at 4,622 cubic feet per second.

The lake level stood at 408 feet Thursday morning and was at 44 percent capacity. That’s compared to the same time last year when Folsom Lake stood at just 25 percent capacity.

Nimbus Dam operators are scheduled to almost quadruple the amount of water passing through the dam gates Thursday morning.

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