Right now, Folsom Lake's water levels are at historic lows because of a third consecutive dry winter. But federal officials say in the future, when we get way too much rain and snow, the reservoir won't be able to hold all the water. That's why the dam needs to be raised by 3.5 feet.
"It's for reducing the flood risk to the downstream communities in the Sacramento region."
~Tyler Stalker, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Stalker is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Sacramento District, which is holding a public meeting on the project this week.
Specifically, the plan calls for raising all of the dykes, the Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam and the right and left wings of the main dam. It's a long term project and construction wouldn't start for another two years.
"We really just want to talk to the public," Stalker says. "We have some ideas on how we think we can implement this plan. We want to get their thoughts on those. One of them's a 3.5-foot flood wall, some of them are just raising the earth and dykes 3.5 feet."
In a separate project, Folsom Dam is getting new flood-control gates designed to release water quicker during a flood. The steel gates were built in Oregon and are scheduled to arrive later this month.
The meeting on the dam raise project will be held Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Folsom Community Center.
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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