From – To conserve water and mitigate flood risk, the Golden State has historically relied on more than 1,000 reservoirs, or artificial lakes, most of them created by the damming of rivers. Reservoirs collect water during wet periods and then release it when needed. This is useful in places like California, which has long experienced dramatic swings between drought and flood conditions. But dams bring a host of human and ecological downsides, including habitat fragmentation, which can be devastating to migratory fish populations and other species. California’s state and local agencies hope a different kind of reservoir will help manage water and limit impacts on remaining aquatic habitat. This reservoir will be located off-river in what’s now a grassy, sparsely inhabited valley about 80 miles northwest of Sacramento. Named for the small community it will eventually inundate, the Sites Reservoir will divert water from the Sacramento River during high flow conditions via two existing canals and a new pumping station. Once completed, Sites will be among the largest reservoirs in California. The $4 billion project, funded by local agencies, voter-approved water projects, and the federal Bureau of Reclamation, is slated to break ground in 2025. (more)