Last summer it was a jarring symbol of California’s historic five-year drought. San Luis Reservoir — the vast lake along Highway 152 between Gilroy and Los Banos, the state’s fifth-largest reservoir and a key link in the water supply for millions of people and thousands of acres of Central Valley farmland — was just 10 percent full. A parched expanse of cracked mud, littered with old beer bottles and millions of tiny clam shells, San Luis was at its lowest level in 27 years.
Archive for date: March 11th, 2017
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Something was wrong with the Oroville Dam spillway weeks before the Department of Water Resources noticed a hole in the concrete. Two photos taken by photographers from this newspaper show discoloration and possible damage to the concrete of the spillway at the spot where a gaping hole opened Feb. 7. Those pictures were taken Jan. 13 and Jan. 27. When asked for a response to the photos, California Natural Resources Agency deputy secretary for communication Nancy Vogel wrote in an email to this newspaper, “Oroville dam was frequently inspected by multiple state and federal agencies.
Thousands of salmon have begun their lives not in sparkling mountain streams but in plastic trays stacked 16 high in a building. The Merced River Hatchery, near Snelling, has assisted Mother Nature since 1970. It removes eggs from adults that have returned after a few years in the Pacific Ocean, then rears the young until they are ready for their own journey to the sea. Upgrading the hatchery is part of a plan the Merced Irrigation District devised in response to a state proposal to sharply increase releases from Lake McClure.