American River flows will rise to 3,500 cfs as Folsom Lake reaches 61% capacity

Article by Dan Bacher
February 9, 2016
http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/2/9/1482235/-American-River-flows-will-rise-to-3-500-cfs-as-Folsom-Lake-reaches-61-capacity

Beautiful winter steelhead like this one provide a unique urban fishery on Sacramento's American River. Photo by Dan Bacher.
Beautiful winter steelhead like this one provide a unique urban fishery on Sacramento’s American River. Photo by Dan Bacher.

Sacramento – Anglers, rafters, kayakers and others who recreate on the Lower American River be advised — the Bureau of Reclamation will increase releases below Nimbus Dam into the lower American from 1,750 cubic feet per second to 3,500 cfs for “storage management” in Folsom Reservoir beginning tonight. 

“The increased releases are scheduled to begin Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 9 p.m. and will continue until further notice,” according to a news release from Shane Hunt of the Bureau of Reclamation. “Folsom Reservoir, located 26 miles northeast of Sacramento, provides water for people, fish and wildlife, hydropower, the environment and salinity control in the Bay-Delta.”

“The releases are necessary to maintain required space in Folsom Reservoir during the rain and snowmelt season. The current storage is more than 130 percent of the 15-year average for early February. Should inflows into the reservoir continue at current levels or increase, additional increases in releases may be required,” Hunt said.

“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,” Hunt advised.

Midnight Reservoir Elevation and Flows for Folsom may be found at Reclamation’s Central Valley Operations Office website at www.usbr.gov/…. Current American River conditions may be found at the Department of Water Resources’ California Data Exchange Center website at cdec.water.ca.gov/.

Folsom Lake declined to its lowest recorded water level, 14 percent of capacity, in late fall of 2015, due to the draining of the reservoir during the drought by the federal and state water agencies to provide water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County. 

Due to recent snow and rain, Folsom Lake is now 61 percent of capacity and 116 percent of average. The water level has risen to 428.49 in elevation, 37.51 feet from maximum pool.

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