Shasta Dam creates the largest storage reservoir in the state,
Shasta Lake. In years of normal precipitation, the Shasta system
stores and distributes about 20 percent of the state’s developed
water — about 7 million acre-feet —through its massive system of
reservoirs and canals.
Located 12 miles north of Redding, Shasta traps the cold waters
of the Pit and McCloud rivers and the headwaters of the
Sacramento River behind its 602-foot curved, concrete face.
Water is transported 450 miles from Lake Shasta in Northern
California to the San Joaquin Valley. Along the way, the
Central Valley Project has long-term agreements with more than
250 contractors in 29 of California’s total 58 counties.
In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of Applied Ecology,
scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the
National Marine Fisheries Service used statistical modeling to
determine an optimal water management plan that would protect
both species and ensure other water users would benefit as
Westlands Water District says a preliminary injunction ordering
it to stop work on an environmental impact report may prevent
it from helping to pay for raising the height of the dam,
according to the appeal filed last week.
Westlands Water District isn’t giving up on raising Shasta
Dam… The district, stopped in late July by a Shasta County
judge from conducting an environmental study on the impact of
raising Shasta Dam, filed a petition with the Sacramento-based
Third District California Court of Appeal on Monday to vacate
the trial court’s injunction.
A plan to raise and expand California’s largest reservoir is on
hold as federal officials look for partners to share in the
$1.4 billion cost. The federal Bureau of Reclamation also must
grapple with opponents who have sued, saying the Shasta Dam
project violates state law.
The Westlands Water District, which provides irrigation water
to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, was
working on a report assessing the environmental impacts of
raising the height of the dam. But a judge ruled Wednesday that
Westlands’ work violated a state law that prohibited local and
state agencies from participating in any projects that would
have an adverse impact on the McCloud River.
On Monday, the state of California and a coalition of fishing
groups and environmentalists asked a judge to bar Westlands
from completing a crucial environmental report in hopes of
stalling the project. “Everything we see looks to be illegal,”
said deputy attorney general Russell Hildreth. At issue is a
stretch of the McCloud River that both sides agree would be
inundated by the project.
A judge has rejected a San Joaquin Valley irrigation district’s
request to move a lawsuit against raising the height of Shasta
Dam to Fresno County. Westlands Water District, based in
Fresno, wanted to move the lawsuit against it to its home
county, but a judge has ruled the case will remain in Shasta
The project is a part of the restoration of salmon habitat
stemming from the Central Valley Improvement Act and will take
place on the left bank of the Sacramento River at the East Sand
Slough… It reconnects the East Sand Slough to the Sacramento
River during minimal flows by excavating the main channel and
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his allies have
filed a lawsuit to stop Federal water users from participating
in the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal dam. … Plain and
simple, this is a lawsuit waged against Central Valley farmers.
For years fisheries experts have watched the number of
winter-run Chinook salmon dwindle as they suffered through
drought and adverse conditions in the Sacramento River. But
this year a small crop of the endangered salmon have made their
way back from the ocean to return Battle Creek in southern
Shasta County, something that hasn’t happened in some 25 years.
And officials hope the fish are the beginning of a new run of
salmon in the creek.
The lawsuit against the Fresno-based Westlands Water District
was filed in Shasta County Superior Court on Monday. State
officials have for years maintained that raising the height of
the dam would violate the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act because a
higher dam would further inundate the McCloud River, in
violation of state law.
Paddlers of every skill and age from the U.S. and abroad will
be making their way down the Sacramento River on May 26 in the
California River Quest. … The course flows through riparian
forests and oak woodlands “teaming with wildlife and plants” as
well as a section that runs through a lava canyon, said
One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after
taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources
Agency secretary. Then the governor laid out an ambitious
water agenda that Crowfoot is now charged with
executing. In a Western Water Q&A, Crowfoot
discussed what he expects to tackle, including scaling
back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
and finding ways to make California more resilient to the
extremes of drought and flood that are expected to come with
One of California Gov. Gavin
Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade
Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within
weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that
Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.
That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach”
on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded
floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.
A total of 300,000 salmon were released into the Sacramento
River on Saturday. Half were dropped at their usual location at
Coleman Fish Hatchery near Anderson in Shasta County, and the
other half were released 75 miles downstream, at Scottys
Landing on River Road near Chico. Surgeons fit the fish with
tiny radio transmitters so they can more easily study their
survival chances and homing instincts.
Bruce Babbitt, the former Arizona
governor and secretary of the Interior, has been a thoughtful,
provocative and sometimes forceful voice in some of the most
high-profile water conflicts over the last 40 years, including
groundwater management in Arizona and the reduction of
California’s take of the Colorado River. In 2016, former
California Gov. Jerry Brown named Babbitt as a special adviser to
work on matters relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and
the Delta tunnels plan.
Will hatchery-raised salmon have a better chance of surviving
their journey to the Pacific Ocean and back if they get a
75-mile head start? That’s the question a three-year study
hopes to answer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and four
partner organizations. The plan Saturday is to release 180,000
salmon fry into the Sacramento River 75 miles downriver from
the Coleman National Fish Hatchery.
People living in flood-prone areas throughout Shasta County
seemed to be breathing easier Friday after a long winter
dealing with high water threats. For months, many have been
watching the rivers and creeks around their homes, in case the
waters started to rise. However, despite wet weather and
increased water releases from Keswick Dam this week, the
residents we spoke with Friday say their waterways are staying
at manageable levels.
An oversight at the Coleman National Fish Hatchery
resulted in the death of some 390,000 fall Chinook salmon this
week. Water was shut off to one of the hatchery’s raceways and
wasn’t turned back on during fish-tagging operations Thursday
State officials are throwing up legal barriers to some
high-stakes attacks. … They are refusing to issue permits the
federal government needs to build a controversial dam
project… And they can use state water quality standards to
limit Washington’s ability to boost irrigation supplies for
Central Valley agriculture by relaxing federal safeguards for
Recent plans to enlarge California’s Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet
have raised concerns over possible cultural and ecological
implications on wildlife among the Winnemem Wintu people and
environmental groups alike. … The change in flood patterns
would likely affect vital sacred sites for the Winnemen Wintu
Puberty Ceremony for young women, according to the Winnemem
Wintu website. The project would also relocate roads,
railroads, bridges and marinas, according to a fact sheet from
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The extra water from Shasta Lake would raise the lake by an
estimated 20 feet, inundating the McCloud River, which is
protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. That piece of
legislation was designed to protect the trout that heavily
populate those waters. And it’s not just state law that speaks
out. One of the provisions of the 1992 Central Valley Project
Improvement Act is to protect fisheries up and down the state’s
major rivers. Raising Shasta Dam now would only be possible by
overturning those two laws.
If the Trump administration wanted to increase California’s
water supply by the most cost-effective means possible, it
would immediately drop its attempt to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5
feet. It would instead put $1.5 billion — the cost of the
proposed Shasta enlargement, in 2019 dollars — toward a
completely different approach to water supply: watershed and
The Bureau of Reclamation, the Interior Department’s Western
water bureaucracy that saw its dam-building heyday in the
1960s, has risen in stature once again in the Trump
administration. Reclamation has flexed its muscles on Colorado
River drought management plans… And it has been the
administration’s key player in trying to fulfill President
Trump’s campaign promise to deliver more water to California
farmers, squeezing the state and forging ahead on a dam project
California says it doesn’t want.
The Trump administration is laying the groundwork to enlarge
California’s biggest reservoir, the iconic Shasta Dam,
north of Redding, by raising its height. It’s a saga that has
dragged on for decades, along with the controversy surrounding
it. But the latest chapter is likely to set the stage for
another showdown between California and the Trump
More water storage projects will not solve the basic fact that
the state’s finite amount of water is incapable of meeting all
of the demands. This deficit has been created primarily by the
transformation of a semi-arid area— the Central Valley — by an
infusion of water from northern California.
At least one state agency has indicated it will not issue
necessary permits to allow federal officials and a Fresno-based
water district to begin construction to raise the height of
Shasta Dam. In addition to facing opposition from the
state, the project could also face fresh hurdles from Congress,
which this year came under control of Democrats. In a
letter to the Fresno-based Westlands Water District, the State
Water Resources Control Board says raising the height of Shasta
Dam would violate state law.
The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
A water district that provides irrigation to San Joaquin
Valley farmers heard mostly negative comments in Redding on
Wednesday about its role in the ongoing proposal to raise the
height of Shasta Dam. The Fresno County-based Westlands Water
District, which has stepped forward to help pay the cost to
raise the dam, held a meeting at the Holiday Inn to take
comments that will be used to develop an environmental impact
report on the project.
A trio of tiny salamanders could stand in the way of a massive
$1.4 billion project to raise the height of Shasta Dam. An
environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, asking a judge to force the federal
agency to make a determination on whether three salamander
species living around Lake Shasta should be protected
under the Endangered Species Act.
President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill
this week that could lead to raising the Shasta Dam and funding
other reservoir projects. The plan is to spend $6 billion
throughout the country over 10 years.
The Carr Powerhouse area at Whiskeytown Lake has reopened
following this past summer’s deadly and destructive Carr Fire.
Officials with the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area said
Wednesday that lakeshore access from the pullouts on the east
side of Whiskey Creek Road have also reopened as part of the
ongoing and phased effort to reopen the entire park.
About 130 private property owners around Lake Shasta could be
forced to move if a plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam goes
forward. That was just one of the pieces of information that
came out of a community meeting about the project Monday night
in Lakehead. … About 90 people attended the meeting to hear
from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials about how Lakehead
residents and business owners will be affected if the height of
the dam is raised 18½ feet.
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. Tour
participants will get an on-site update of Oroville Dam spillway
The event, called Run4Salmon, is part of the [Winnemem Wintu]
tribe’s plans to change the course of history for endangered
Chinook, once plentiful in this part of the world. …
[Winnemem Chief Caleen] Sisk says heightening Shasta Dam would
further harm salmon and flood ancestral land. She advocates for
the construction of new swim-ways to bypass the dam to allow
salmon to spawn above it.
Nathan Morgan has been hanging over the side of side of Shasta
Dam recently — sometimes upside down — making marks on the side
of the dam. Morgan is part of a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation crew
drilling holes in the side and on the top of the dam to test
the strength of the concrete. The drilling is part of the prep
work to raise the height of the dam 18½ feet. … Earlier
this year Congress set aside about $20 million for
pre-construction work and design on the dam raise.
The Colorado River Basin is more than likely headed to
unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could force supply cuts to
some states, but work is “furiously” underway to reduce the
risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner
Brenda Burman said during a talk in Sacramento. Burman,
speaking at the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water
Summit, also said California needs more water storage, and
added that raising Shasta Dam could be one way to effectively
The Colorado River Basin is more
than likely headed to unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could
force supply cuts to some states, but work is “furiously”
underway to reduce the risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of
Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told an audience of
California water industry people.
During a keynote address at the Water Education Foundation’s
Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento, Burman said there is
opportunity for Colorado River Basin states to control their
destiny, but acknowledged that in water, there are no guarantees
that agreement can be reached.
A recent trip to the basement archive turned up a negative pack
dated 1952, but upon closer examination it was clear the “6-38”
etched on the images was the month and year (June 1938) that
they were shot. It didn’t take long to confirm these were
Depression-era photos of the Shasta Dam’s construction and the
ramshackle “boomtowns” that grew in its shadow.
The Trump Administration appears to be bringing President
Trump’s recent tweets about California’s wildfires and
environmental laws to life. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur
Ross has directed fisheries officials to “facilitate” access to
water in order to aid in firefighting efforts in California.
After years of environmental studies, feasibility reports and
stalled plans, federal officials are once again moving forward
with plans to raise the height of Shasta Dam and intend to
award the first construction contract next year. The U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation plans to advertise for bids on a
construction contract in September 2019 and award a bid by
December 2019, said Todd Plain, a spokesman for the agency.
California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, sits where the dry
Central Valley meets the rainier, mountainous northern part of
the state. At its western edge is Shasta Dam, 602 feet high,
built by the Bureau of Reclamation between 1938 and 1945 to
help irrigate California. For decades, agricultural and
municipal water districts have sought to heighten the dam to
capture more water as it runs out of the Cascade Range through
the McCloud, Pit and Sacramento rivers.
Officials with the federal government seem determined to
realize a controversial proposal to raise Shasta Dam and
increase the storage capacity of the reservoir behind it –
despite objections from fish and wildlife agencies and
California law that technically forbids such a project.
For Shasta Marina, where about nine out of every 10 customers
come from out of the area, 2018 business could be better
than last summer, when high water levels were a welcome change
from the drought that made it tough on lake businesses, owner
John Harkrader said.
While the cause hasn’t been determined, a University
of Oregon student’s death at Lake Shasta over the weekend
should be a reminder for people who visit in the future to take
their safety there seriously, Shasta Caverns General Manager
Matt Doyle said. … Doyle said visitors to the lake need
to remember to have “respect for the environment,” which
includes bears, extreme heat, rattlesnakes and, of course, a
huge body of water.
The final stretch of the McCloud River before it empties into
the state’s largest reservoir is a place of raw beauty. …
This part of the McCloud is off limits to almost everyone
except a few Native Americans and some well-heeled fly
fishermen. Its gatekeeper is an unlikely one, an organization
that also happens to be a hugely controversial player in
California water politics.
Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a
plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building’s 20th century
heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California — a
project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by
state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American
Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped.
Inclusion of money for raising Shasta Dam got the most
attention in a recently released federal budget proposal, but
the same package also includes money for Sites Reservoir. The
Department of Interior is recommending spending $33.3 million
under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act,
which was signed into law in December 2016.
Democrats in Congress have stalled an attempt to jump start an
expansion of Shasta Dam, California’s largest reservoir and a
major water source for the Central Valley. Their objections
blocked a Republican gambit to allow the $1.3 billion project
to move forward without full up-front funding and despite
objections from Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.
While one federal agency wants to go forward with plans to
raise the height of Shasta Dam, the congressman whose district
includes the dam called it a “rumor that is going around all
the time,” and said it is not his top priority for water
projects in Northern California.
The proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam is back on the
table, with a 2019 federal budget request of $20 million for
pre-construction and design work on the structure. The U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation and several other water agencies in the
state have been interested in raising the height of the dam for
The Trump administration is pushing forward with a colossal
public works project in Northern California — heightening the
towering Shasta Dam the equivalent of nearly two stories. The
problem is that California is dead-set against the plan, and
state law prohibits the 602-foot New Deal-era structure from
getting any taller.
For the past 80 years life has only gotten worse for winter-run
chinook salmon. When Shasta and Keswick dams were built on the
Sacramento River, they kept the salmon from getting to their
ancestral spawning grounds, while smaller dams and diversions
also were constructed on other streams where the salmon once
Friday night’s federal government shutdown had a minimal effect
in the North State over the weekend but those who drove to
Shasta Dam and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area found
themselves locked out of the visitors centers there.
This tour explored the Sacramento River and its tributaries
through a scenic landscape as participants learned 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. Tour
participants got an on-site update of repair efforts on the
Oroville Dam spillway.
Removing Shasta Dam is the single best action we can take to
save California’s wild salmon. Not possible, you say?
Then there are two alternatives. One is to provide plenty of
cold water and diverse, highly managed habitat below dams. The
other is to transport fish to now-inaccessible habitat above
A team of engineers were out this week with hammers banging on
the face of Shasta Dam. Hanging by ropes from the top of the
602-foot-tall dam, the group was inspecting the spillway,
looking for weak spots in the concrete.
As boaters, swimmers, anglers and others splash around in
Lake Shasta this summer, all around them millions of gallons of
water are disappearing into thin air through evaporation. And
not just a little bit of evaporation.
“Four or five Friday nights” of work has paid off for Briana
Conners, who recently won $10,000 for her winning entry in a
contest seeking proposals to get fish past tall dams like
Shasta Dam. … While the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sponsored
the contest to solicit ideas for getting fish around tall dams,
the agency is specifically interested in finding ways to get
young endangered salmon around Shasta Dam.
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.
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.
Be careful around rivers the next few weeks. That’s the word
from Bureau of Reclamation and other authorities who say that a
heavy rain year and scheduled increased releases from Shasta
Dam will create high flows on the Sacramento River.
At the end of the week Shasta County residents may see a
brief pause in an otherwise active rainy season, but
flooding will continue to pose a threat for many low-lying
areas along the Sacramento River and near other tributaries.
On the day it became official that this was the wettest October
in Redding in more than 50 years, the state released water
conservation numbers for September. … October’s rain
boosted water levels at Lake Shasta.
For well over a decade, federal officials have failed to fix a
mechanical flaw in the water outflow system of Shasta Dam on
the Sacramento River that fishery and river advocates say has
caused millions of fertilized salmon eggs and juvenile fish to
die in lethally warm river water.
Visitors to Lake Shasta should take care because a blue-green
algae species has broken out on the Pit River Arm and it could
sicken visitors, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality
Control Board reported Thursday.
After weeks of uncertainty and pressure from members of
Congress, federal officials on Wednesday announced a plan for
managing water releases from California’s largest reservoir
this summer in a manner that will not involve cutbacks in farm
water deliveries – at least if all goes as hoped.
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.
University of Oregon students who said they wanted to clean up
the mess that classmates left at Shasta Lake last weekend
couldn’t do so because the site was too much of a biohazard
with feces and used condoms, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman
A campsite that offers a serene getaway by a California lake
was wrecked after about a thousand fraternity and sorority
members left a half-mile-wide swath of trash, empty bottles,
tents and coolers after an annual trip.
A University of Oregon fraternity was suspended after its
members allegedly trashed a campsite at Shasta Lake in
Northern California over the weekend, leaving behind piles of
litter, feces and beer bottles and abandoning
scores of tents.
Despite its dramatic rise from a record-low level last fall,
water managers said Tuesday that Folsom Lake will likely not
fill to capacity this year. … Now, Reclamation officials are
developing a plan for what could be a critical third year of
Park rangers on their usual Sunday patrol at Lake Shasta
encountered a scene of carnage on Slaughterhouse Island — 90
tents, coolers still full of food and alcohol, sleeping bags
and yards and yards of garbage.
Student revelers on houseboats tied to Shasta’s Slaughterhouse
Island left big piles of trash in their wake — sparking online
condemnation that continued Tuesday to ripple across Facebook,
reddit and Instagram.
University of Oregon students got a viral black eye Monday when
photographs on social media revealed huge piles of trash — with
much “O”-branded paraphernalia included — strewn across
Slaughterhouse Island on Lake Shasta in Northern California.
… The university is investigating the situation and talking
with the landowner, which is the federal government.
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.
After years of drought, Northern California has so much water
that the state’s two largest reservoirs are releasing water to
maintain flood-control safety. … Shasta and Oroville are
the twin anchors of California’s giant water-delivery
California regulators set a minimum level of water that should
be held behind Shasta and Folsom lakes Tuesday in an effort to
avoid another catastrophic die-off of Sacramento River salmon,
but they reserved the right to change the limit if El Niño
rains fill up the reservoirs.
California drought regulators on Tuesday backed off a
controversial plan to withhold water from farms and cities next
year in an effort to preserve an endangered species of salmon,
instead choosing a more flexible approach they said still could
do the trick.
Officials with the US Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency
that operates Shasta Dam, have blamed the drought for the mass
salmon die off and say there simply wasn’t enough water to go
around. … But environmentalists and fishermen note that by
the end of summer 2015, many farmers in the Central Valley had
received 75 percent of their water contract allotments, while
at least 95 percent of the endangered winter-run Chinook’s
fertilized eggs and newborn fish had been killed.
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 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.
In just two years, Chinook salmon could be swimming above
Shasta Dam for the first time in nearly eight decades under a
proposal that would truck endangered hatchery-raised fish into
a cold-water tributary that feeds the state’s largest
Last summer, a narrow, rock-rimmed stretch of the Sacramento
River near here turned into a mass graveyard for baby salmon.
Upstream releases of water from Shasta Dam were so warm that
virtually an entire generation of endangered winter-run Chinook
was wiped out.
The drought in California is in its fourth year and remains a
pressing concern in the state. But through careful conservation
and planning, Lake Shasta’s level is 28 feet higher than it was
at this time last year, said Federico Barajas, area manager for
the Northern California Bureau of Reclamation.
The federal government will not pay the nearly $1.3 billion to
raise the height of Shasta Dam up to 18 1/2 feet, according to
a report released Wednesday on the feasibility of the project.
While the final feasibility report says raising the height of
the dam would be feasible, it stops short of recommending
approval because of cost and financing issues.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials, who operate the Central
Valley Project, relied on a faulty gauge in April and
overestimated the amount of cold water behind Shasta Dam. That
error might seem trivial, but not in this fourth parched year
of the drought.
Over the past few weeks, the state’s largest
reservoir—Shasta—has been in the spotlight as managers struggle
to meet multiple demands with dwindling reserves. Surface
reservoirs are central to managing California’s water supplies
for a variety of purposes. … This year the trade-offs at
Shasta are particularly challenging, since the survival of a
run of endangered salmon may be on the line.
State and federal officials said Tuesday that they’re revising
their strategy for releasing water from the California’s
largest reservoir for the coming long, hot summer to avoid
killing off this year’s run of endangered salmon.
Citing drought conditions and low water levels in Lake Shasta,
state officials have ordered releases from Keswick Dam into the
Sacramento River be reduced to help salmon spawning later this
summer and fall.
California will get a big chunk of federal drought relief money
directed at Western states, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell
said Friday, in part to pay for refrigerating water at a Shasta
fish hatchery where water levels are so low, and what’s left is
so warm, that federally protected salmon cannot survive.
California is working on a checklist to ease the pain of
three-year drought and make sure the state isn’t caught short
in the future. One of the items is “water storage,” better
translated as more dams.
The Water Education Foundation’s popular Northern California
Tour features a diverse group of experts talking about
groundwater, flood management, the drought, water supplies,
agricultural challenges, and the latest on salmon restoration
efforts. The tour also includes a houseboat cruise on Lake
Shasta. … The tour travels the length of the Sacramento
Valley with visits to Oroville and Shasta dams.
This printed copy of Western Water examines California’s drought
– its impact on water users in the urban and agricultural sector
and the steps being taken to prepare for another dry year should
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
explores the history and development of the federal Central
Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery
system. In addition to the history of the project, the guide
describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the
benefits the CVP brought to the state, and the CVP Improvement
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing
uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta,
its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and
competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity
and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect
gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the
definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the
state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s
natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts
– including federally, state and locally funded
projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and
natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of
California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects,
wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the
text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water
projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado
Shasta Dam forms the largest storage reservoir in the state,
Shasta Lake, which can hold about 4.5 million acre-feet.
As the keystone of the federal Central Valley Project,
Shasta stands among the world’s largest dams. Construction on the
dam began in 1938 and was completed in 1945, with flood control
as the highest priority.