From The Revelator – Gold seekers first arrived in 1848; before long, they had set up mining operations on every bar of the river, using water wheels, diversion dams, water cannons and finally, large dredges to extract every ounce of precious metal. The massive floating platforms worked the Trinity and its larger tributaries, chewing through valley bottoms down to bedrock. The operation literally turned rivers upside down, and while much of the sediment washed downstream, some of the finer material lay trapped underneath gravel and larger cobbles. In 1955 mining was supplanted with another catastrophe when Congress concluded that excess water in the Trinity River that was “wasting to the Pacific Ocean” could be diverted to the Central Valley “without detrimental effect to the fishery resources.” By 1963 two dams had been built and the Trinity River Diversion began transferring water to the Sacramento River watershed. The dams blocked over 100 miles of habitat for salmon and steelhead, and in the early years, 90% of the water impounded by the dams was diverted to the Central Valley Project. What little water was sent downstream was artificially managed. Flows flatlined, and the river no longer ebbed and flowed with the seasons and storms. (more)