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Sacramento, Calif. August 19, 2016 – As normally happens every year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will reduce releases from Nimbus Dam into the lower American River just before the fall-run Chinook salmon begin to move into the lower American River.
The flows will be ramped down 3,250 cfs on August 19, today, to 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on August 21. The reason? “Storage conservation,” said Randi Field, Reclamation spokesperson.
The reduction in releases comes after Reclamation has all summer released high flows up 5,000 cfs for export from the Delta by San Joaquin corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies.
To make things more complicated, the Bureau yesterday temporarily decreased flows in the lower American River below Nimbus Dam from 3,750 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cfs to prepare the Nimbus Fish Hatchery weir foundation for picket installation.
“The fish weir structure is installed annually to guide spawning Chinook salmon into the hatchery fish ladder,” according to a Reclamation news release.
Then Reclamation incrementally ramped up flows by approximately 1,000 cfs per hour back up to 3,250 cfs. – until the water agency begins to draw down the releases again today.
Confusing? That’s the way water is “managed” in the Big Ag and Big Money state of California.
Folsom Lake is currently holding 373,864 acre feet of water, 38 percent of capacity and 58 percent of average.
Daily information on expected flows in the American River can be found on the California Data Exchange Center website at http://cdec.water.ca.gov/queryRes.html or on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at http://www.spk-wc.usace.army.mil/reports/release_changes.html.
Folsom Dam, Folsom Reservoir and Nimbus Dam are located about 25 miles east of Sacramento, Calif., and are features of the Central Valley Project.