News & Operations Blog

Water Forum Awarded Highest Environmental Honor by Governor Brown

Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sacramento region recognized for innovative and sustainable stewardship of the lower American River

The Water Forum earned the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), the State’s highest environmental honor, in recognition of their work to improve the lower American River riparian habitat and parkway, and to protect the Sacramento region’s water supply.GEELA 57 - Lauren Alisse Photography 2


Accepting the GEELA: Tom Gohring, Water Forum; Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan; Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby; California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird; Andy Fecko, Placer County Water Agency; Bill Busath, City of Sacramento; Lilly Allen, Water Forum; Jim Ray, North State BIA; Ron Stork, Friends of the River; Paul Bratovich, Water Forum; John Woodling, Regional Water Authority

The GEELA award recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that demonstrated remarkable leadership through efforts in conserving California’s natural resources and the environment.

GEELA 56 - Lauren Alisse Photography“This award celebrates the sustained partnership of the Water Forum and their members who have demonstrated their value to our region for more than 22 years,” said City of Sacramento Councilmember Angelique Ashby.  “The City of Sacramento is a proud investor in the Water Forum and we look forward to continued collaboration in water management.”

The Water Forum Agreement approaches the stewardship of the lower American River with two co-equal objectives: to provide a safe and reliable water supply to support the region’s economy and to preserve the environment of the lower American River. The Agreement provides a foundation for collaborating on water issues and challenges amongst diverse stakeholders, including water providers, environmental groups, and business leaders.

GEELA 54 - Lauren Alisse Photography“The Water Forum continues to serve as a good example of how regional collaborative approaches can address challenges and resolve conflicts around competing uses of water,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan.  “As California enters the fourth year of a severe drought, the Water Forum is important now more than ever.”

Last year, as the drought persisted, the Sacramento region needed to reduce water consumption by 29 percent to meet state water reduction regulations.  The region worked together, and collectively achieved a 42 percent water reduction between January and October 2015.

“The Water Forum Agreement continues to be the foundation of critical water management activities in the Sacramento Region,” said John Woodling, Executive Director of the Regional Water Authority.  032715_RiverFlows_BN0129“Water providers have been implementing groundwater management, water conservation, and drought response actions while the Water Forum Successor Effort concentrates on protecting and restoring the lower American River.  It’s a really valuable partnership.”

Last spring the Water Forum stepped into action when warm temperatures and low water levels threatened endangered fish.  The Water Forum partnered with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage water temperatures in real-time through daily river temperature testing coupled with strategic cold water releases from Folsom Dam.  As a result, the vast majority of the 2015 Steelhead trout brood survived that critical life stage.  The Water Forum, in partnership with Federal and State agencies, has also created essential spawning and rearing habitat through yearly gravel restoration projects for endangered Chinook salmon and Steelhead along the lower American River.

Water Forum photo 4 - Soil Born Farms Education Program“The Water Forum continues to implement projects aimed at stabilizing and enhancing salmonid habitat in the lower American River, including naturalizing channelized creeks,” said Ron Stork, Friends of the River Senior Policy Advocate.  “Local projects sponsored by the Water Forum benefit the river’s ecosystem and native species, but also provide invaluable public health benefits through the addition of public spaces to recreate and enjoy the outdoors.”

In addition to habitat enhancement projects, the Water Forum developed an innovative method to manage releases from Folsom Dam.  This new approach, called the Modified Flow Management Standard (Modified FMS) not only improves conditions for the native species in the lower American River, but also helps proactively manage water supply in Folsom Reservoir, the source of drinking water for more than 500,000 people.

FMS“Implementing farsighted flow standard solutions for the lower American River is one of the most critical elements and significant challenges in implementing the Water Forum Agreement,” said Einar Maisch, Placer County Water Agency General Manager.  “An improved flow standard will offer another tool for the region to continue protecting the lower American River and ensuring our region has a dependable water supply.”

The Modified FMS is the result of more than 15 years of rigorous, science-based work.  The Modified FMS was unanimously endorsed by members in 2015, and the Water Forum is working collaboratively with the Bureau of Reclamation to fine tune and implement this approach.

“On behalf of the Water Forum and our members, I am honored that our work has been recognized with this prestigious award,” said Water Forum Executive Director Tom Gohring.  “I look forward to continuing to work together to implement the Water Forum Agreement.”

The Water Forum has a new website and a new blog! Please scroll up and sign up to receive a notification when there is a new blog post.  If you were previously subscribed to the LAR blog, please re-subscribe as well. Thanks!

Warming Trend Continues – Water Quality Holding

Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2015
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Water temperatures in the LAR have continued to rise over the past weeks.  The graph below shows that gravel temperatures are exceeding 63 degree F every day.  The literature indicates that Steelhead eggs and alevin cannot survive long at these high temperatures.temp trace

However, this figure shows that overall, the dissolved oxygen level continues to be mostly healthy.  Although DO is trending down, only 2.5% of samples demonstrated unhealthy DO within gravel samples this past week.DO 4-27-15b

Water is Warming Up

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

We have been posting temperature updates over the last few weeks to gauge how incubating Steelhead may be fairing in the lower American River.  Our most recent data show that water temperature is trending up.  The graph below shows that the daily high temperature at our monitoring Roosmoor Bar and Sunrise sites is actually getting warmer than the William Pond thermometer (a cdec gauge).  However, the lows at Rossmoor and Sunrise are lower than at William Pond.  We think this is due to sunlight exposure of the river bottom and gravel.

Water and Gravel temps 4-14-15

Updated: Steelhead Emergence Forecast

Posted on Sunday, April 12th, 2015
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Using temperature data that we collected at several locations, we have estimated the amount of Steelhead that have already emerged from the gravel AND we have forecasted when the rest of this year’s brood will emerge.  While in the gravel, the Steelhead eggs and Alevin are very sensitive to temperatures.  Once they emerge, they are both less sensitive and able to seek cooler water.


This graph shows that as of 4-8-15, we estimate that about 88% of the Steelhead have emerged.  This emergence rate is a bit slower than when last estimated (about a week ago) because water temperatures have been cooler.  However, the cooler water temperatures also means that the survival rate of the emerging Steelhead will be higher.  We estimate that we should hit about 90% emergence on Moday 4-13-15 and 99% around  April 22nd.SH emergence 4-8-15Additional notes:  We have estimated and forecasted emergence using measured water temperatures and redd surveys at three different river reaches:

  • Lower (L):  Between Watt Ave and William Pond
  • Middle (M): Around Roosmoor Bar
  • Upper (H): Around Sunrise

Each point on the graph represents a group of redds that emerge at the given date.  The code next to each point tells the location (river reach) and number of those emerging redds.


Steelhead: Water Temp and Quality Mostly Healthy as of 4-8-15

Posted on Sunday, April 12th, 2015
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

HI folks.  I’m sorry that we’re posting this data when it’s already 4-5 days old.  We’re trying to be timely, but other priorities sometimes take over.  The plots below shows that inter-gravel temperature and water quality has been mostly healthy for incubating Steelhead.  That’s thanks to cooler days last week and Reclamation’s temperature management actions (see previous posts).

This graph shows that temperatures have been (mostly) cool enough for healthy incubation.  I hope to update these on Monday or Tuesday:LAR temps 4-8-15

This graph (courtesy of Cramer Fish Sciences) shows dissolved oxygen has also been in a healthy range (above 8 mg/L) at our three monitoring sites: DO v location 4-7-15

An finally, this graph shows that DO levels have been (mostly) healthy over time:DO v gravel depth 4-7-15

Chinook Embryo Impacts from 2013-14

Posted on Monday, April 6th, 2015
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Hi, a stakeholder requested this report recently so we thought we’d post it here.  This is the final report from Cramer Fish Sciences (sponsored by the Water Forum) on impacts of reduced LAR flows on last winter’s emerging Chinook Salmon.  As always, please don’t hesitate contact one of us if you have questions or concerns.

Final Embyo Impacts, Cramer Fish Sciences   pdf

February, 2014

Cooler Days = Cooler River

Posted on Sunday, April 5th, 2015
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Nature has been a friend to the Steelhead these past few days.  The cooler air temperatures (coupled with Reclamation’s power bypass) have resulted in healthier conditions for incubating Steelhead.

LAR temps 4-5-15