An enthusiastic group of Citizen Scientist Water Quality Monitors have embarked on a summer of Cosumnes River visits and discovery. On April 9th, the group spent a full day learning water quality monitoring and habitat analysis with State Water Resources Clean Water Team Coordinator Erick Burres at the American River Conservancy's Nature Center and Magnolia Ranch. Each team then visited their assigned site for an opportunity to practice techniques, culminating in the first monitoring event on May 15th/16th.
The monitoring teams have diverse backgrounds and interests, ranging from college students to science professionals with over 30 years of experience, and from a variety of organizations. The group will be monitoring temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, recording observations of aquatic species and other wildlife, and conducting habitat analysis. The outcome of their research will be used to gain insight into the health of the watershed—for people and creatures—and will be the first step in gathering data for future projects. Meanwhile, the monitors have an excellent reason to visit beautiful river locations and the satisfaction of contributing to the health of one of our home watersheds
El Dorado Trout Unlimited is the home for the monitoring program, with key support and participation from partners American River Conservancy and Cosumnes Culture and WaterWays.
The EDTU Cosumnes River Water Quality Monitoring Program welcomes new volunteers throughout the year, for monitoring and many other roles. Please call Monitoring Coordinator Melinda Frost-Hurzel at 530-295-1194 for more information.
The Trout Unlimited El Dorado Chapter has adopted the Upper Cosumnes River Watershed as a restoration project. The long term goal is to return salmon and steelhead to the river above Latrobe Falls. Folklore and native peoples report the presence of these fish in the past. There is some acceptance of salmon being above the falls. Early work is directed to assessing the true past presence of these salmonids and monitoring the water quality in the watershed. The Cosumnes is one of few remaining undammed river in the state and comprises the North, Middle and South Forks and their tributaries.
Water quality in terms of quantity and temperature are paramount to the long term success. A monitoring program has begun and an initial snapshot of water quality taken in May and June of 2015. Quantity of water and stream-bank vegetation contribute to water temperature. In this drought year the river is stressed for water. There are numerous draws of the water that occur along its length. At present the river goes dry during the summer in the lower reaches. Even so, salmon have been observed at the diversion dams in the lower river.
This years work has been termed the "summer of discovery" in terms of gathering data to establish a baseline of river status. Melinda Frost-Hurzel is leading this project with assistance from the El Dorado Chapter, the American River Conservancy, Cosumnes Culture and Waterways and numerous others she networks with.
Work accomplished to date include a broad survey, tree bore samples to determine the past presence of ocean dwelling fish, temperature measurements across the watershed and dissolved oxygen measurements.
Plans have been prepared to direct the monitoring planned for 2015. There is a monitoring plan supported by a quality assurance plan and a plan for volunteer activity. To review the plans click on these links;
The volunteer crew was assembled in June to go out onto the North and Middle Forks of the Cosumnes and collect temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH measurements. The volunteers had first participated in training sessions in May and June to prepare them for going into the field. Volunteers worked in pairs and were assigned specific locations to collect data. The pairs were assigned one or more locations depending on the proximity of the varied locations. Measurement stations varied from Michigan Bar on the lower river to Leek Springs at the headwaters. There were 18 locations in all. The following links will show the station locations and results obtained: June 2015 Temperatures and flows , pH and Dissolved Oxygen
Fire can become a useful tool in protecting the National Forests from major fires.
The U.S. Forest Service has been suppressing fire since 1911, even adopting a policy calling for quelling all flames by 10 a.m. the day following the initial report. Ironically, a century of suppression has left forests overcrowded with dense stands of flammable conifers. The number of wildfires is increasing by 7 percent annually, scorching forests earlier in the season and burning with twice the intensity of the previous 100 years, studies have found.
Scientists and forest managers alike know fire belongs on the landscape, but they are flummoxed by how to reintroduce it under today’s tinderbox conditions. A controversy now playing out in California’s northwest corner is a typical result, but this one hints at how we might resolve this dilemma. Read More.
The winter of 2015 was the driest winter in California’s recorded history. But despite the great drought—and perhaps the worst arid spell for California in 1,200 years—spring-fed water flows steadily in Northern California.
You read that correctly. Even with a fourth consecutive summer of record setting drought, water from the depths of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and the Medicine Lake Volcano rises insistently to the surface providing life for people, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and hydropower.
As the drought reduces rain water and snow melt, spring water acts as an emergency reserve, currently pumping 1.7 billion gallons a day into Shasta Reservoir. Read More
With a fourth year of extreme drought conditions reducing the cold water supply available, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is moving fish out of the American River and Nimbus hatcheries for the second year in a row.
Bureau of Reclamation models suggest water temperatures at the hatcheries could be at lethal levels for cold water fish by August. CDFW has already begun to stock American River Hatchery rainbow and brown trout into state waters earlier than normal. These fish range from small fingerlings to the larger catchable size. The accelerated planting schedule will continue through mid-July when all the fish in the raceways are expected to be evacuated. Read More
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