California Reservoir Dam Release Update as Water Levels Rise

From Newsweek – California water officials are releasing water from Oroville Dam as the lake’s water levels continue to rise with more rain on the way. “Water releases from Lake Oroville were increased in advance of a series of storms and provide flood protection to downstream communities by maintaining storage capacity in the reservoir for additional rain capture,” a DWR spokesperson told Newsweek. California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) opened the main spillway at Oroville Dam to provide flood protection for downstream communities in advance of more rain forecast for California. Lake Oroville’s water levels had jumped significantly over the past few months as several atmospheric rivers battered the state with torrential rain and heavy snow. (more)

Mapping Earth’s Atmospheric Rivers Could Help Improve Predictions for Intense Rain

From The Independent tv – Scientists have developed the world’s first real-time map showing the flow of atmospheric rivers in the sky, which transport intense moisture and drive extreme rainfall, an advance that may lead to better flood predictions. When these atmospheric rivers laden with moisture hit the skies over land they may lead to extreme weather events such as cyclones or typhoons and flooding. But previous models to view these rivers overestimated the frequency of rain they produced while underestimating the rain’s intensity. Now the new model can automatically detect these sky rivers using satellite observations, and provide a much more accurate picture of impending extreme weather events around the world, scientists say. (more)

What Is California Doing To Capture And Store All The Water From Winter Storms?

From CBS News – As the rain and snow continue to hit our region, what is California doing to capture it all? The state is working to recharge the groundwater with what is hitting the surface. “You stop pumping groundwater and you allow the basin to fill up naturally,” said Ryan Ojakian, manager of government relations for the Regional Water Authority. The water expert told CBS13 that you use more surface water when it is wet and more groundwater when it is dry. That is what the Sacramento Regional Water Bank has been doing, and it is seeing results. “If you look at Department of Water Resource data, you will see that our groundwater table as a result has been increasing on a regional basis,” Ojakian said. “That is unique in the Central Valley, in the Sacramento Valley and the San Joaquin Valley.” (more)

Elderberry Shrub Relocation Contract Awarded for Lower San Joaquin River Project

From USACE, Sacramento District – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has awarded its first contract for the Lower San Joaquin River Tenmile Slough Levee (TS30L) Project, enabling the agency to relocate elderberry shrubs from the TS30L levee in advance of future levee improvements. “This contract kicks off the physical work associated with area levee improvements to lower flood risk for Stockton and San Joaquin County residents,” said Margaret Engesser, project manager for the Lower San Joaquin River Project. The project consists of several planned improvements to the flood risk reduction infrastructure in the areas around north and central Stockton. Completion of the entire project is estimated by 2037. (more)

The Innovative Ways California is Improving Its Underground Water Storage

From Fox 40 – As of mid-February, the Sacramento area has now received more than a foot of rain in the current water season. The rain and snowfall from this winter’s storms have been swelling rivers, adding to the Sierra Nevada snowpack and hopefully replenishing reservoirs. Water experts say if we don’t change the way we store and use the water we will be in trouble in the future, likely facing higher water bills and laws that seriously restrict water use. There could be another way, however, if we look beneath our feet. (more)

Weirs on the Sacramento River: 100 Years of Flood Control

From CA Dept. of Water Resources – Set into the banks of the Sacramento River as it winds its way south from its Mount Shasta headwaters are six large concrete structures which, despite their size, go largely unnoticed until the rains come and the river rises, threatening floods. Then they get to work, channeling the deluge into bypasses and basins, and away from the levees and bridges of Sacramento and other downstream communities.  These unobtrusive structures, called weirs, are distributed along a 95-mile stretch of the river from Butte City to North Sacramento, acting as silent sentinels protecting millions of Californians from flooding. “This system of weirs and bypasses is the backbone of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project,” said Manager of DWR’s Division of Flood Management Jeremy Arrich. “When these weirs are flowing, they’re taking pressure off the main stem levees and moving that water into the bypass system to flow safely downstream.” (more)

California’s Reservoirs Compared After Winter Storm Suddenly Changes Levels

From Newsweek90 – Nearly all of California’s major reservoirs saw water level changes after back-to-back atmospheric rivers brought a deluge of rain throughout the state.

After years of drought, several reservoirs in California reached concerningly low water levels in the summer of 2022. However, an abnormally wet winter last year alleviated much of the state’s drought and replenished the lakes. For example, Lake Shasta, the state’s largest reservoir, neared capacity last year. Despite the improvement, many reservoirs still need some recovery, and a slew of atmospheric rivers battering California over the past week have improved water levels across the state. According to data from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), water levels improved at all of the state’s major reservoirs except for Diamond Valley Lake, which remained stable at 93 percent of its capacity. (more)

California Faces Renewed Flooding Risk as More Atmospheric River Storms Loom this Week

From FOX Weather – California will remain on a break from the weather through the workweek, but a pair of storms is lining up once again to push through the Golden State starting this weekend and possibly lingering into next week. California finally gets a period of sunny weather to wring out and clean up from record rainfall and deadly storms last week, long-range weather forecasts show a renewed flooding threat as the weather pattern reverts later this week. California will remain on a break from the weather through the workweek except for a little rain in the San Francisco Bay Area from Wednesday into Thursday. But a pair of storms is lining up once again to push through the Golden State starting this weekend and possibly lingering into next week. Each storm could bring heavy rain and high winds to California, with heavy snow at higher elevations starting as early as Saturday and lasting well into next week. (more)

Questions about the USACE Regulatory Program or 408 Program?

From USACE, Sacramento District – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through the Regulatory Program, administers and enforces Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (RHA) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under RHA Section 10, a permit is required for work or structures in, over or under navigable waters of the United States. Under CWA Section 404, a permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. Many waterbodies and wetlands in the nation are waters of the United States and are subject to the Corps’ regulatory authority. The Regulatory Program is committed to protecting the Nation’s aquatic resources and navigation capacity, while allowing reasonable development through fair and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the Nation’s waters, including wetlands. (more)