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Shasta Dam Still at 25% Capacity After Second-Driest Summer

Despite the wet start to this year’s rain season, Shasta Dam remains at only 25% capacity.

“So three-quarters of the lake is empty; we need some really significant winter storms back-to-back-to-back to help fill this lake,” said Don Bader, the area manager at Shasta Dam.

Bader says they would like to have the dam typically around 60% full during this time of year. He says the dam depends mostly on rainfall.

Already Unrecognizable at Only 24% Full, Lake Shasta Still Falling in 2nd-worst Year on Record

Recent rainfall hasn’t been nearly enough to make a dent in Lake Shasta’s precariously low water levels.

The lakebed where the water has receded still shows cracks where mud has hardened and over the summer, dust devils have swept the fine, dried silt into the air.

The drought has dropped Lake Shasta to its second worst level since the last bucket of concrete was poured for Shasta Dam in December 1945.

Threatened by Shasta Dam Raise, McCloud One of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, Conservation Group Says

While the federal government sees the prospect of raising the height of Shasta Dam as a way to increase water storage for a thirsty California, the Winnemem Wintu of Shasta County see it as a threat to their culture.

It was a theme picked up this week by American Rivers, a conservation group that named the McCloud River one of America’s 10 most endangered rivers because of the proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam.

Something was Killing Baby Salmon. Scientists Traced it to a Food-Web Mystery

The biologists working in a fish hatchery near Shasta Dam grew increasingly concerned last year when newly hatched salmon fry began to act strangely — swimming around and around, in tight, corkscrewing motions, before spiraling to their deaths at the bottom of the tanks.

Certain runs of chinook salmon in California are imperiled; the hatcheries and the fry raised there are the federal government’s last-ditch effort to sustain these ecologically and economically vital fish populations.

California Officials Deliver Another “Water-Block” Over Shasta Dam

The State of California revealed the latest trick up their sleeve in regards to slowing or stopping water delivery to millions of Californians through the Central Valley Project earlier this month. The State Water Resources Control Board has rejected the Sacramento River Temperature Plan by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The Temperature Plan has been months in the making in order to coincide with this year’s hydrology.

Agencies Dismiss Concerns About Trump’s Calif. Water Plan

California water projects have pushed winter-run chinook salmon into the single place that remains suitable for them to breed: the reservoir behind the Shasta Dam.

Even that sanctuary fails during drought years as the same pressures that drove salmon into the reservoir — too little water and too much heat — take hold in their only breeding ground. Climate change is making those pressures worse, and the chinook population is closer than ever to extinction, according to NOAA Fisheries.

 

California Dam-raising Project Favored by Trump Stumbles After Water Agency Retreats

Opposed by California officials, the Trump administration’s $1.3 billion plan to raise Shasta Dam and increase reservoir storage has run into a roadblock that could delay the project or even kill it.

The state has called raising Shasta Dam a potential environmental disaster for the nearby McCloud River — and has succeeded in bottling up the project by obtaining court rulings that prevent Westlands Water District from preparing an environmental review required by state law.

New Water Year Kicks Off With Surplus: California Has Greater Reservoir Storage Than Last Year

Future Uncertain For Shasta Dam Raising After Irrigation District Stops Work On Study

Following losses in court, a Fresno-based irrigation district has backed off its plans to do an environmental study on raising the height of Shasta Dam.

The Westlands Water District announced Monday that it has stopped working on the report because it could not meet the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s schedule for the project.

The bureau is trying to get non-federal partners to help pay half the cost of the $1.4 billion project to raise the height of the dam 18½ feet.

The Interior Secretary Wants to Enlarge a Dam. An Old Lobbying Client Would Benefit.

For years, the Interior Department resisted proposals to raise the height of its towering Shasta Dam in Northern California. The department’s own scientists and researchers concluded that doing so would endanger rare plants and animals in the area, as well as the bald eagle, and devastate the West Coast’s salmon industry downstream.