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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Sacramento Co. closes parks ahead of more wet weather

More water is set to be released from Nimbus Dam Thursday, and water flows will increase from 3,500 cubic feet per second to 15,000.

Farther downstream, park rangers are warning people to move to higher ground, ahead of the release and the next storm. They also closed access to several parks that are prone to flooding:

  • American River Parkway Trail, between mile 0.5 and mile 2.5, then at mile 20.5
  • All islands on the American River, between Hazel Avenue and Discovery Park
  • North of Discovery Park, between the boat launch and Garden Highway
  • Howe and Watt avenues access points

Vehicles and pedestrians are not allowed into parks when they are closed. Violators could be arrested, Sacramento County Chief Park Ranger Michael Doane said.

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Folsom Lake rises 5 feet in 24 hours

The American River water level will continue to rise Thursday as operators have begun increasing water releases through Nimbus Dam.

The first gate at the dam opened at 7:30 a.m., releasing 5,000 cubic feet per second of water downstream.

“Been such a long time since the drought started. It’s a treat to see,” said Glen Lutz who came to watch the gates open.

Throughout the day, the water releases were scheduled to increase steadily.

At 2 p.m., the flow was set to increase to 10,000 c.f.s. according to the California Date Exchange Center.

The releases come as Folsom Lake continues to rise following the recent rain and snow.

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

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Billions in flood-control work coming to region

More than $1 billion in flood control improvements will come to the Sacramento region in upcoming years, reducing chances for any area to be remapped into a flood-prone status.

The $1.6 billion in federal funds approved earlier this month will also reduce the chances of a building moratorium being instituted for a low-lying area. A moratorium from late 2008 to mid-2015 brought construction to a halt for the Natomas basin area of Sacramento.

Rick Johnson, executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, said the new funding is on top of $1.1 billion in federal money authorized for similar purposes about two years ago.

“Basically, what this does is finish the rest of the levee system that wasn’t covered then,” he said.

In the new round of funding, the Sacramento River in Sacramento and West Sacramento south of where it meets the American River would see levee improvements. So would Arcade Creek and the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal, while other work would focus on erosion control. The Sacramento Bypass and Weir would also be expanded, Johnson said.

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