Making the Best of the Poor Conditions in this Critically Dry Year

By Jessica Law | July 23, 2021 | Sacramento Water Forum

Severe drought conditions are back in California. Unfortunately, that means the Lower American River is headed into what may be some of the worst summer conditions we’ve seen on the river in recent memory.

I won’t sugarcoat it. Conditions in the river will be bad. However, the Water Forum and our partners are working hard to ensure conditions are as good as they can possibly be, and to minimize harm to fish and habitat.

What to expect in the coming months

PHOTO CREDIT: DWR, Lower American River 2014

As you may have seen on the news, we began this year with a near-normal snowpack. In most years, the snowpack melts and feeds our lakes and rivers. This year, the snowpack disappeared in the span of several weeks, soaking into the dry soil or evaporating—perhaps foreshadowing what may turn out to be the case study for climate change impacts on our water supplies and environment.

Click here to read the article in full.

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Salmon lose diversity in managed rivers, reducing resilience to environmental change

December 5, 2019
From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The manipulation of rivers in California is jeopardizing the resilience of native Chinook salmon. It compresses their migration timing to the point that they crowd their habitats. They may miss the best window for entering the ocean and growing into adults, new research shows.

The good news is that even small steps to improve their access to habitat and restore natural flows could boost their survival.

Click here to keep reading.

Authors of the research included scientists from University of California Davis, University of California Berkeley, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, University of California Santa Cruz, Cramer Fish Sciences, University of California San Francisco, and NOAA Fisheries. Funding was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Photo: Rachel Johnson, NOAA Fisheries/University of California, Davis

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SMUD Roseville Water Transfer comments

On September 10, 2019, the Environmental Council of Sacramento and Habitat 2020 sent a letter to Sacramento Metropolitan Utilities District (SMUD) a letter regarding a proposed water transfer between the City of Roseville and SMUD. Below are some excerpts from the letter, followed by a link to the letter in full.

Recently the Environmental Council of Sacramento and Habitat 2020 became aware of the pending temporary water transfer between the City of Roseville and SMUD. Our review of the environmental assessment and decision document prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation found specific deficiencies in the analysis and a casual dismissal of the transfer’s cumulative significance. We believe that the proposed transfer of water does not contain the necessary safeguards to protect Lower American River fisheries. We request that the SMUD Board direct its staff to include provisions in the contract that will address these concerns.

We believe the transfers must be governed by the standards and requirements contained in the Modified Flow Management Standard. These standards and requirements would much better ensure that the transfer would not negatively impact the American River flow and temperature standards.

Click here to read the full letter.

Photo by George Nyberg of the American River

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