Since World War II and a booming state population that increasingly sought out the great outdoors to relax, the state’s water-based recreational activities have continued to grow more popular and diverse, occurring in a multitude of sources – from swimming pools and spas to beaches, reservoirs, natural lakes and rivers.
Public water supply projects, such as the State Water Project, have helped to provide additional recreational opportunities for Californians. In some cases, reservoir releases can contribute to downstream recreation benefits by improving fisheries or by creating whitewater rafting opportunities that would not be possible in the absence of reservoir regulation. However, there are conflicting values and needs for the same river system.
A pair of storms moving across the Bay Area this week and into the Sierra Nevada could dump eight feet of snow at higher elevations, said Mike Kochasic, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sacramento. And although rain and snow are expected to remain far below average for the season after a bone-dry January and February, it’s still a relief to everyone from skiers to the state’s drought monitors.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke bristled Tuesday under questioning by Democrats about his travel spending as the Trump administration seeks deep cuts to conservation programs and fee increases at national parks. Zinke testified before a Senate committee about the agency’s proposed $11.7 billion budget for 2019.
The California Coastal Act for decades has scaled back mega-hotels, protected wetlands and, above all, declared that access to the beach was a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone. But that very principle could be dismantled in the latest chapter of an all-out legal battle that began as a local dispute over a locked gate.
Sand replenishment began last week at Cardiff State Beach, one of the first milestones in a $120 million, four-year effort to restore the San Elijo Lagoon. Improved water quality, greater wildlife diversity, more public recreational trails and a greater resilience to environmental change are among the long-term goals of the restoration, which has been planned for decades.
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which co-manage the [Sand to Snow National] monument’s 101,000 acres as wilderness, said they plan in March to dispatch a team of federal land managers, biologists and representatives of the nearby Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation to come up with a strategy and funds to eliminate the unbranded cattle and collarless dogs.
The Fish and Wildlife Service faces a $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog that can sometimes get overlooked despite its ominous size. … With some 5,000 buildings and 6,938 other structures to tend across 566 wildlife refuges, among other responsibilities, FWS has to struggle to keep up with problems that the public may not see.
It’s been a painfully slow start to the ski season in the Western U.S. Some places have seen record warm temperatures and record low snowfall, prompting resorts to open late. … And all this means an economic hit.
The California Water Commission, which is evaluating the Nevada Irrigation District’s application in pursuit of state funding for the proposed Centennial dam, was greeted by a surprise group of visitors Wednesday. Dressed in lifejackets and wielding kayak paddles, about 60 demonstrators stood outside the Commission’s monthly meeting in Sacramento Wednesday to show their opposition to the Centennial project on the Bear River.
A recent study has found that virtually all United States-based winter recreation locations could experience shorter ski seasons, exceeding 50 percent by 2050 and 80 percent in 2090 for some downhill skiing destinations.
From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees some of the nation’s most prized natural resources: vast expanses of public lands rich in oil, gas, coal, grazing for livestock, habitat for wildlife, hunting ranges, fishing streams and hiking trails.
This winter marks the 60th anniversary of China Peak, the 1,300-acre ski area in the Sierra National Forest east of Fresno. But instead of celebrating, owner/operator Tim Cohee is contemplating the ultimate bummer while struggling through what he describes as the worst season he’s experienced during more than 40 years in the business.
Few groups have been closer and more involved in Interior Department policy and management than the National Park System Advisory Board, an appointed and nonpartisan group established 83 years ago to consult on department operations and practices.
California skiers and riders are facing the best conditions of the season after recent storms dumped snow from Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes, frosting slopes ahead of the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend.
his week President Trump angered environmentalists and other groups by reducing the size of two large national monuments in Utah—Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. Using Presidential Proclamations and invoking the 1906 Antiquities Act, he slashed these monuments by about 1 million square acres. While groups of Utahns and especially the state’s Republican politicians applauded these executive actions, lawsuits alleging the president exceeded his powers were filed quickly.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct an unprecedented review of 27 monuments established by former presidents over more than two decades on lands and waters revered for their natural beauty and historical significance.
Two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump is going to significantly reduce include ancient cliff dwellings and scenic canyons as well as areas that could be used for energy development.
Politicians and river guides are calling upon the state Department of Water Resources to mitigate sediment build up in the Feather River following the Oroville Dam crisis. … The state Department of Water Resources is currently assessing the impacts of sediment on the river system, with the study expected to be complete in December, said Jon Ericson, acting division chief for the division of flood management.
Explore the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour.
Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Explore the Sacramento River and its tributaries through a scenic landscape as we learn about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply. All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. This year, special attention will be paid to the flood event at Oroville Dam and the efforts to repair the dam spillway before the next rainy season.
This 3-day, 2-night tour travels across the Sacramento Valley and follows the river north from Sacramento through Chico to Redding and Lake Shasta, where participants take a houseboat ride.
Six of America’s national monuments — from Utah’s red rock canyons to remote islands in the South Pacific — would be reduced in size, under recommendations that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has sent to President Trump.
Levels of E. coli bacteria found in the lower American River exceed the federal threshold for safe recreational use, in part due to human waste from homeless camps, state regulators say. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed adding the bacteria to a list of pollutants that make the lower American River a federally designated impaired water body.
Tribes, ranchers and conservationists know that none of the national monuments ordered reviewed by President Donald Trump will be eliminated, but the changes in store for the sprawling land and sea areas remain a mystery after the administration kept a list of recommendations under wraps.
At a rally Tuesday, four local members of Congress blasted President Trump’s executive order that called for the review of dozens of national monuments, which they fear could mean scaling back or eliminating those protected natural areas entirely.
Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens. It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks.
The Trump administration this week is expected to release plans for potentially shrinking or revoking the status of 21 national monuments, setting the stage for a years-long legal battle that could pit the White House against Indian tribes, environmentalists and some western states.
Two popular swim spots — Lake Temescal in Oakland and Quarry Lakes in Fremont — will reopen Saturday after blooms of toxic blue-green algae finally cleared up, the East Bay Regional Park District announced Friday.
Many lake users have complained to the state about fewer recreational opportunities on the lake in the aftermath of the Lake Oroville spillway disaster in February. Since then, the lake level has dropped significantly, meaning boaters have farther to walk after parking their vehicles at the high-water line.
Several years of drought had severely depleted the Kern, a popular whitewater rafting destination known for its dramatic rapids. But this year’s wet winter created a record Sierra Nevada snowpack, and the melt has engorged the river with swift, frigid water.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he’ll ease the impact of potentially huge National Park Service budget cuts by shifting more resources to the “front line.” But it’s not clear yet what that actually means.
There may be no more potent reminder of California’s humongous snowfall than the plows still clearing roads that snake across the state’s highest mountains as summer approaches. … The snowpack presented an additional challenge this year because it was heavily saturated with water.
State Parks expects a busy Memorial Day weekend at Lake Oroville even with the spillway dominating the news. … A portion of Lake Oroville remains closed as construction continues at the Oroville Dam spillway.
To say backpackers and hikers will encounter more snow than they’re used to is to drastically understate the problem. The snowpack throughout the Sierra rivals, and in places exceeds, records set during the massive winter of 1982-83. “We are in rare territory here with the winter we’ve had,” said Chris Smallcomb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.
With the Memorial Day weekend almost here, it might be a little difficult for some boaters to get through all the floating debris at Lake Shasta. But with the lake full for the first time in years, it could be well worth the effort.
The deaths of five people in two Tulare County rivers in less than a month are prompting officials to warn the public about the dangers of rushing water fed by the heavy snowpack now melting in the Sierra. “Stay away from the river’s edge, and don’t enter the water,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
A year after they made national headlines for leaving trash, human waste and almost 100 tents at Lake Shasta, University of Oregon fraternities are getting a second chance from the businesses and agencies that had to deal with the aftermath of their Memorial Day bacchanal.
There was going to be a steam train – and a monorail. Plus a major resort featuring a 250-seat restaurant and a 1,000-seat amphitheater. As many as 5 million visitors a year would show up. When it came to wooing Butte County about the construction of Oroville Dam, state officials weren’t shy about setting grand expectations.
Pursuing exiting the settlement agreement with the state Department of Water Resources was on the table Tuesday night at a special meeting of the Oroville City Council, but the decision was set aside for later. Most of the council expressed interest in gathering more public opinion on the issue before taking a vote, with a town hall date set for May 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium.
The melting of this year’s record snowpack is continuing to create problems, with authorities warning of more flooding in Yosemite National Park and fast-moving, high water at a popular Central Valley river.
The muddy ski slopes of 2015 paired with the powder-covered ones of 2017 show the astonishing difference between a year when snow levels were drastically low and this season when unrelenting storms slamming the northern Sierra Nevada are burying the ski lifts on a weekly basis.
Since 1965, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect civil war battlefield sites, national parks and local recreation areas such the American River Parkway in Sacramento and Henry Lake in Idaho.
Lake Oroville will partially reopen on Thursday, nearly two weeks after more than 180,000 Northern California residents evacuated their homes and the lake area closed due to fears that the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam could fail.
Not far from the main drag through Oroville, a dozen local business owners and city officials faced each other in a hotel lunchroom Tuesday. They sought to begin developing an advertising campaign to transform a barrage of negative images and news reports about frantic efforts to prevent catastrophic flooding into a lucrative tourist attraction, albeit after the Feather River Basin’s rainy season ends in April.
A huge Northern California reservoir, held in place by a massive dam, has always been central to the life of the towns around it. Now the lake that has brought them holiday fireworks and salmon festivals could bring disaster.
An East Bay man trying to create a kite-surfing hangout in the delta for Silicon Valley’s elite stepped up his unusual battle with water regulators Thursday, suing them after he was hit with an unprecedented $2.8 million fine for raising dikes across wetlands near Pittsburg.
Each spring, a group of UC Davis student scientists and their professors take a whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon to study a river that sustains 40 million people. Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton traveled with them.
California’s five-year drought created ideal conditions for brewing toxic levels of the naturally occurring bacteria, which multiplies rapidly in hot temperatures, low water flows and stagnant water choked with fertilizers and nutrients.
Swimming, boating and fishing are prohibited in Lake Elsinore after water quality officials Friday detected harmful levels of toxins related to blue-green algae. … Algae blooms have also recently forced the closure of Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County, Lake Temescal in Oakland and Discovery Bay in the Delta.
One hundred and eighty reservoirs statewide are contaminated with excessive levels of mercury, according to studies of fish samples from more than 300 reservoirs conducted by the State Water Resources Control Board.
State Water Resources Control Board officials issued a warning last week for the North Coast, noting that high temperatures and continuing drought conditions increase the likelihood of potentially lethal algal blooms in area streams, rivers and lakes.
During the past year of drought, while many Californians have heeded the call to conserve and managed to achieve water-savings of nearly 25 percent statewide, one group of water users hasn’t measured up: the golf courses that spread out across thousands of acres in the desert.
After watching her 13-year-old son throw up everything he ate when they got home from a day of jet skiing at Pyramid Lake, Sharyn Martinez was angered to learn last week that the state is now urging the public to avoid the water there because of a toxic algal bloom.
President Barack Obama mixed business with pleasure here Saturday, touting the importance of national parks and then seeing one up close for himself as he took in the sights at what is arguably the crown jewel of the national park system.
After an emotionally trying week, President Barack Obama is heading West to celebrate the raw beauty of America’s national parks as the system nears its 100th birthday, and highlight challenges threatening it over the next 100 years, including climate change and chronic underfunding by Congress.
Instead of working in her office at the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Forest Service spokeswoman Phyllis Swanson spent Tuesday cleaning up after more than 1,000 college students who trashed Slaughterhouse Island during a weekend boating trip.
The sounds of watercraft and families enjoying Lake Shasta on Sunday carried across the water against a vibrant backdrop of the tree line. The scene is a far cry from last year’s low water levels on the lake, which became a visual indicator of the state-wide drought and the impact to the local environment.
A longtime water regulator and a lifelong hunter have been appointed to a powerful state board that lists endangered species and sets hunting and fishing regulations enforced by California game wardens.
Water is once again flowing into Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet for the first time in three years, which will allow boat launches to resume on Southern California’s largest reservoir in mid-May, just in time for Memorial Day weekend fishing.
Building on last year’s declaration of the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region as a National Monument by President Obama, the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 6-2 Tuesday to approve a bill that establishes a state conservancy to protect, preserve and restore the Northern Inner Coast Range.
We were gliding downhill along a river buried in snow, our skis skimming a thin layer of fresh powder toward the setting sun and a wall of darkening clouds. … In California, snow isn’t just for skiers.
Don’t give up on that season ski pass just yet, Tahoe locals. The Monday morning powder dump that disrupted commutes in Reno served as an exclamation point for the 2015-16 season which is likely to be the longest in more than a decade.
For the first time in years the Salton Sea Recreation Area has a public boat launch. The public-private partnership that built the launch hope it brings more fishing, water skiing and recreational boating to California’s largest lake, which has been sinking and which scientists say is need of environmental rescue.
The Sierra snowpack is actually below the historic average, but skier visits, hotel stays and the number of people spending money in the Lake Tahoe area are way up. It’s a welcome turn from last year, when the drought left resorts virtually empty.
Today, the total backlog of needed maintenance at U.S. national parks is $11.9 billion. … Grand Canyon National Park needs $330 million, due largely to outstanding wastewater and water system upgrades.
The early March deluge is arriving just in time across the Bay Area, the Sierra Nevada and throughout Northern California. … Reports from near and far indicate that outdoor recreation will benefit for months to come.
Synthetic turf manufacturers say more than 60 studies over the past two decades have shown no elevated health risks associated with their products, but not everyone is convinced. … With legislators asking for more information, the federal government recently announced a multi-agency study and plans to issue a draft report by year’s end.
After four years of drought and the arrival of great snow conditions, a high-end crowd is arriving at Tahoe for the ski season and driving up prices across the board, topped by peak events like the Super Bowl and the holidays.
Finally, snow. After four winters that yielded only a few lower-elevation storms, and not necessarily at times when families could get away to enjoy them, people couldn’t wait to play in the white stuff.
In a classic Capitol Hill tradeoff, conservatives would get the Clear Creek Management Area reopened to off-roaders while liberals would secure new wilderness and wild-and-scenic river designation for other federal lands.
Thanks in part to El Niño, a series of strong storms have blanketed the Sierras with snow. Another storm this week is expected to deliver another layer of the white stuff — and draw skiers back to resorts.
Should El Niño not live up to the hype and dump heavy snow on the Sierra, skiers and sledders at one resort could be gliding downhill this winter on snow that comes from an unusual source: purified water from the local sewage-treatment plant.
The atmosphere on the ski slopes around Lake Tahoe was giddy this week as beleaguered resort operators planned their earliest opening in years, a response to November storms and cold temperatures that allowed them to supplement nature by making snow.
As California enters a potential fifth year of drought, the swimming pool demolition industry — a niche, to be sure — is thriving, operators say, with new companies entering the business to profit from Californians’ concerns about water scarcity.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has had wide bipartisan support for 50 years. Its name may be little known outside Washington D.C., but many people are likely to have enjoyed the fruits of the fund — it has provided about $17 billion for everything from the expansion of iconic national parks and forests to more than 40,000 local recreation projects across the country.
Forecasts of an approaching El Niño winter have ski resort operators dreaming of the kind of snowy peaks that were a common sight in California before a four-year drought dried up the state’s $3-billion ski industry.
The state of California plans to contribute $25 million toward efforts to buy a property on the Los Angeles River in Cypress Park, the majority of the purchase price for a parcel that has been called a “crown jewel” of the river’s restoration, state Senate leader Kevin de León announced Sunday.
The Lake Elsinore Grand Prix will bite the dust this year because of the drought. … The water shortage stems from the drought-induced state of emergency declared by Gov. Jerry Brown and mandated restrictions imposed on the area’s purveyor, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District.
Families from San Bernardino to Temecula will still be able to cool off at their neighborhood pools and water slides this summer, despite orders from the state to cut water use an average of 25 percent.
In coming months, his [Jack Nicklaus] design firm will oversee the installation of high-efficiency irrigation and add native plants to the Thousand Oaks course. Workers will strip away seven or more acres of turf in places where members rarely hit the ball.
The California swimming pool and spa industry has launched a campaign to market itself as a drought-friendly landscaping option as the state enters a fourth summer of drought that has residential pools and other conspicuous water users in the crosshairs.
Golf courses across the central San Joaquin Valley — like courses and country clubs throughout the state — are throttling back on irrigation and reducing the acreage of grass that they must water as they cope with California’s drought.
Pressed by the four-year dry spell and state-mandated water cuts, some of the finest courses in California are taking such steps as tearing out the grass in places where it won’t affect the game, planting drought-resistant vegetation, letting the turf turn brown in spots and installing smart watering systems.
When Andy Wirth became the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Resort in November 2010, he did so amid a precipitation-laden winter that saw enormous snow loads give skiers at Lake Tahoe plenty of coveted powder days.
It’s hard to imagine a California summer without long days lounging by the pool. But as unprecedented drought sears the state, the backyard swimming pool has become a target for cities desperate to save water.
A permit application for the slide said the inflatable requires 16,000 gallons of water. … But Ryan Johnson, Slide the City owner for events in Northern California, said it’s possible the slide that comes to Redding may only need to use 10,000 gallons of water, which would be trucked in from either Idaho or Oregon.
Golf courses in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere that rely on private wells will have to reduce water use by 25% or limit watering to twice a week as part of the governor’s mandate for cutbacks. But the courses will not have to report their water usage, meaning compliance is largely on the honor system.
The fourth year of the devastating drought that has dried up wells, forced mandatory rationing and jeopardized California crops has also put a burden on backcountry skiers in search of their powdery fix.
A long-delayed draft environmental impact report for the 710-acre Monterey Downs race track and equestrian-themed development on Fort Ord confirms what has been known for some time; there’s only enough water for part of the massive proposal until new water supply projects are completed.
A storm system heading to Northern California may bring only a fraction of an inch of rain to the Bay Area, but skiers and snowboarders turned desperate by the drought are stoked after learning that nearly a foot of fresh powder could fall in some parts of the Sierra.
This is the fourth lousy winter season in a row for the ski industry, and it has been economically devastating for the area. Some of the smaller resorts are barely hanging on, while larger players are carving out new ways to turn a profit.
If winter weather doesn’t return soon with a vengeance, Tulloch Lake – a popular fishing and boating spot between Oakdale and Jamestown, and one of California’s few reservoirs lined with thousands of homes – might look more like a puddle by July.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was the most visited spot in the National Park Service last year, the second year in a row the Bay Area landmark carried the distinction, officials announced Tuesday.
In good years, the blanket of pillowy white snow covering the trees, trails and shores of Lake Tahoe practically demand that residents make the best of the winter conditions and hit the slopes and cross-country trails. Not so much this year.
A potentially far-reaching ruling released Tuesday by a Sacramento-based appellate court rejects two challenges – but not a third one – to a landmark environmental-impact review of California’s network of fish hatcheries and the practice of stocking the state’s waterways with fish.
Because of the lack of snow depth, the U.S. Forest Service has asked snowmobile users in the Lake Tahoe Basin to avoid bare dirt and patchy snow, and not to ride across streams or over small trees and brush.
Like some famous recluse whose profile only increases by remaining hidden – an archaic notion, of course, in these viral days of overexposure and oversharing – the Sutter Buttes don’t give up their secrets readily, if at all, and rarely allow outsiders glimpses into the volcanic core of its being.
On Thursday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will join the X Games in Aspen, Colo., to bring attention to the extreme weather impacts of climate change. A strong economy and a strong environment go hand in hand, which makes acting on climate necessary to protect tourism, recreation and the outdoor industry.
A popular cross-country ski area near Lake Tahoe has temporarily closed due to a lack of snow, and forecasters say the lingering drought should persist or get worse in the months ahead across most of California and Nevada.
The 862-acre mountain that rises to 8,200 feet — a relatively small site by California standards — was the latest in two days to ground operations as January temperatures climb to near-record highs and weeks pass without wet weather.
More hikers are expected on the Pacific Crest Trail this year thanks to the movie “Wild,” according to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, which preserves and promotes the trail. … And stay tuned for Hollywood’s next hiking movie when “A Walk in the Woods” comes out later this year starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.
Trying to be more inviting to families with children, the Renaissance Indian Wells is considering building a water park and some residential villas at the resort off of Highway 111. … ”A red flag goes up for me when a water park is being proposed and we’re in the middle of a drought,” [Councilman Dana] Reed said.
With a string of storms pummeling the Sierra Nevada, Mother Nature gifted a December dump of powder just in time for the holidays. That means sledding, building snowmen, carving snow angels and snowball fights.
While others in the Inland Empire prepare for the worst from a powerful winter storm Friday, others are hoping for the best. Expectations are high for snowfall at the region’s ski resorts, which are around 7,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation.
For more than 15 years I have lived within a mile of the San Francisco Bay. However it recently dawned on me that I had never actually spent any time on the water exploring this place where Central Valley Rivers and the Pacific Ocean ebb and flow. … For that reason, I am excited by the launch of the San Joaquin River Access Guide, available at SJRiver.org.
[Richard] McFarland-Dorworth, a longtime California resident and rafting guide who now lives in Bali, Indonesia, was one of seven expert rafters on a 950-mile mission to replicate most of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers from Flaming Gorge through Utah and Arizona to Lake Mead — sans most of the roiling waters of the pre-dam era.
At lower elevations, Lake Tahoe still hasn’t donned its rich, white winter coat. … But while they produced rain at the lake itself, this week’s storms have transformed the mountains ringing the lake into snow-capped beauties.
At ski areas up and down the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, where California’s drought has hit historic proportions and the broader threat of climate change hangs heavy over an industry built on optimism, the man-made snow is flying. A couple of resorts have managed to open a few runs.