Friday, February 5, 2016

OVER THE BOW: THE CONFLUENCE OF THE NORTH & MIDDLE FORK OF THE AMERICAN RIVER


We are deep at the bottom of this river of time, caught up in the current of the moment where all the rivers rendezvous.--- Lynn Noel

Over last summer and into fall, the water pouring into the confluence of the North and Middle Forks of the American River part of Auburn SRA near Auburn, California, was almost nothing but a trickle. Downstream Folsom Lake stood at its lowest depth in history. As the water dried up, ruins of old towns were uncovered, boating speed limits were set and federal officials were engineering a special pumping system to make sure drinking water would keep flowing to Sacramento suburbs. However, after that long hot summer, the water flows have returned to the upper forks of the American River.

Following a month of persistent rain and snow in Northern California, lake levels are triple what they were in early December of last year. Due to runoff from recent rains in the foothills and Sierra, Folsom Lake rose to 104 percent of historical average earlier this week, with about 529,000-acre feet of water. Lake levels have rebounded so fast, in fact, that after four years of drought, officials at the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the water in the reservoir are talking about releasing water downstream in the near future to mitigate flood risks caused by a wet winter and an increasingly full lake. "There are legal requirements for maintaining safe space in the reservoir," Louis Moore, spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation told Fox 40 News. The Bureau of Reclamation is pleased with the amount of space available in Folsom Lake and say because the ground was so dry, much of the water from recent rains have soaked into the ground, giving the reservoir plenty of storage space despite recent heavy rains upstream.

Upstream at the confluence, plenty water means plenty of waves. Underneath the Highway 49 Bridge, after the two streams join, the river bends to the right, jaunts down the bank before smashing into the right edge of the river followed by a sharp bank in a sharp curve to the left. With enough cfs  a recirculating eddy develops offering area boaters an enjoyable surfing wave to either begin or end their journey at this popular put in or take out site.

Over the Bow is a feature from Outside Adventure to the Max, telling the story behind the image. If you have a great picture with a great story, submit it to us at nickayak@gmail.com