Shasta Dam

US Bureau of Reclamation

Managing a river is no easy feat.  Consider the needs for water released at Shasta Dam into the Sacramento River: salmon need cold water, sturgeon need warm water, and irrigators just need water. 

Recent research shows that all three needs can be met in all but the most drought-stricken years.  How? 

US Bureau of Reclamation

Plans to raise Shasta Dam by 18 feet are still on the books.  But there's a long process to go through before any construction might start, including a lawsuit filed over a creature that could be affected by an expanded Shasta Lake. 

The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not acting on a 2012 petition to protect the rare Shasta salamander. 

Robert J. Boser, EditorASC, http://www.airlinesafety.com/editorials/AboutTheEditor.htm

This is likely to be one of those years in which drivers on Interstate Five will wonder what happened to Shasta Lake.  Another drought year has the lake well below its fill level, something that happens in many years.

The construction of the Shasta Dam in the 1930s and ‘40s at the north end of the Sacramento Valley was intended to provide long-term water storage in Shasta Lake, flood control, hydroelectricity and protection against the intrusion of saline water.  It is the eighth tallest dam in the United States and has the largest reservoir in California.

US Bureau of Reclamation

The recent drought years have often left drivers on Interstate Five wondering what happened to Shasta Lake.  The bridges that cross arms of the lake are often high above the water line, and it can be hard to even see water and boats. 

But a plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam by 18 feet is still on the table, in fact got recent funding for design and engineering work.  The move is applauded by Westlands Water District and other water agencies. 

But the dam-raising plan is condemned by Friends of the River and other groups.