Sacramento Regional Parks issued an advisory Friday for mountain lions in the American River Parkway.
They say that it’s a natural habitat for the big cats and that people should not be alarmed because they are typically shy creatures.
While many users of the American River Parkway know that mountain lions are present, a good amount of walkers and joggers were surprised to find out that they are in the area.
The advisory says that if you should run into a mountain lion, do not run away because it may give chase. Instead, make lots of noise, make yourself look bigger and give the mountain lion plenty of space to escape. It’s highly unlikely that humans would be attacked by the predator.
The first big rain of the year is flushing massive amounts of debris from homeless camps down the American River in Sacramento County, and into California waterways.
The storm hit just as the state’s Water Quality Control Board begins to look at the pollution problem along the river. The rising water is pushing more waste into the river in an area that is also home to wildlife.
Lisa Lindberg lives nearby. She keeps a folder of the river waste she sees every day.
“I think its been way too long and not enough has been done,” Lindberg said.
Sacramento County supervisors approved $5 million for new ranger and maintenance positions last year to clean up the mess. A county spokesperson says crews pulled out 6 tons of debris last week, yet tons of trash remains.
The California Water Quality Control District 5 is planning to convene a panel to address the toxic water problems.
“Gold! Gold from the American River!” So cried the carpenter James W. Marshall on January 24, 1848, as the story goes, when he found flakes of the precious metal at Coloma, California, thus ushering into the region a wave of steely-eyed prospectors. As word of the California Gold Rush spread around the world, photographers, too, arrived, and themselves struck metaphorical gold. They set up studios in wagons and captured the historic frenzy around them, making the Gold Rush the first major event in the country to be documented extensively through the then-new medium.
The project will close the Jiboom Street Bridge at Discovery Park, causing hundreds of cyclists who use the bridge daily to change their routine. The bridge will close down on January 2 and re-open on May 31. While the county has suggested other routes, cyclists say they’re not viable options.
There’s no argument from those who regularly use the Jibboom Street Bridge over the American River that it badly needs repairs. This is the only direct legal crossing for people on bikes and walking between Natomas and downtown Sacramento.
Local bicycle advocates estimate during weekday evening commutes an average of 300 cyclists cross the bridge, which was built in 1934. The county suggested two other routes, but many are calling them inadequate.
“The next nearest crossing is the Blue Diamond Bridge, two miles upstream, or the 8th Street and Guy West bridges in the Sac State area — about 7 miles upstream,” said a cycling advocate. For a commuter traveling between downtown and South Natomas, that’s either an additional 4 to 14 miles — one way.
“It underscores the lack of bridges and connectivity as our city grows north of 100,000 people, which is 20 percent of our population now living north of the American River,” said Councilman Steve Hansen.
It appears this is an average year for the number of fall-fun Chinook Salmon returning to spawn in the American River.
The numbers were expected to be much lower because of high water temperatures and predators when the fish were juveniles heading to the ocean during the drought.
Efforts to help salmon populations in recent years include releases of cold water during the beginning and end of the salmon’s life cycle and the rehabilitation of 30 acres of American River spawning ground with 100,000 tons of gravel.
Laura Drath with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the daily reports show the numbers of returning salmon are on par with an average year.
Thousands of salmon make the grueling journey from the Pacific Ocean up the American River each fall. The spawning run ends for many with a whack on the head at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, where salmon eggs are gathered and fertilized.
The salmon would normally die a slow death after spawning. But at Nimbus, they’re quickly dispatched in a process viewed annually by hundreds of children and adults through big glass windows at the hatchery in Gold River.
What becomes of the dead salmon is less well known. While the ending isn’t happy for the adult fish, their offspring repopulate the oceans, and tens of thousands of pounds of salmon fillets feed hungry families in northern and central California during the winter months.
A portion of the American River Bike Trail near Nimbus Dam will be closed for more than three days beginning Monday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and state Department of Parks and Recreation report.
During the three days, there will be electricity tests of the ground grid at Nimbus Dam and Powerplant, according to a Bureau of Reclamation news release. The tests will ensure proper grounding of electrical equipment and other metallic objects in and around the dam and powerplant, officials said.
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.
Sacramento Fire Department crews quickly corralled a grass fire on the American River Parkway early Monday afternoon.
The fire was reported near mile marker 5 and crews were making access to the area about 1:45 p.m., according to a Fire Department Twitter post. Fire crews were able to confine the fire to about half an acre and were reported mopping up the area about 2:15 p.m.
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.