Ecosystem restoration and habitat
The Folsom Dam Raise Project includes ecosystem
restoration and habitat improvements. The Lower American River flood
plain has significant natural ecosystem assets that have become
increasingly valued in California. The ecosystem restoration feature
of the Folsom Dam Raise provides opportunities to improve riparian
woodlands, wetlands, and flood plain grasslands along the Lower
American River. Ecosystem restoration involves planting native riparian,
upland, wetland, and woodland vegetation; terracing riverbanks;
and controlling non-native plants at two sites totaling about 620
Habitat improvement involves mechanization
of the temperature control shutters at Folsom Dam to better control
the water temperature in the river for salmon and steelhead.
Woodlake Restoration Site
The Woodlake site consists of 283 acres
of previously-farmed land located adjacent to the American River
and down river from the Cal Expo facilities. The restoration efforts
will reconnect the river to the historic floodplain, and re-establish
various riverine habitats through exotic species control and revegetation.
These habitats will include riparian forest, oak woodlands and savanna,
and grassland areas.
The The Bushy Lake site is located between
the Cal Expo facilities and the American River, and consists of
337 acres of mixed vegetation and habitats. The restoration plan
will connect the river to the existing Bushy Lake and create additional
wetlands, floodplain areas, drainage channels, and water control
and delivery structures. Valued habitats will be re-established
by controlling exotic species and planting and managing native vegetation
for riparian forest, wetlands, oak woodland and savanna, and grasslands.
Automated temperature shutters
Construction of Folsom Dam restricted salmon and steelhead to the
23-mile Lower American River. Recent biological monitoring indicates
that water temperatures in the Lower American River tend to exceed
the temperatures necessary to sustain the existing salmon and steelhead
populations. Maintenance of optimal water temperatures for spawning
and rearing depends on the ability of dam operators to deliver
releases to the Lower American River
at critical times of the year.
Currently, dam operators must adjust the temperature shutters manually.
This manual operation does not allow for the flexibility and timeliness
needed to optimize the coldwater releases. Automating the temperature
shutters will reduce this problem by allowing for the greatest flexibility
and responsiveness to the fishery needs year-round.