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Folsom Dam Outflow Slashed Nearly In Half Amid Historically Dry California Winter

FOLSOM LAKE (CBS13) — Water flows from Folsom Lake to the American River will be cut nearly in half by the end of the week, affecting half-a-million people who get their water from the reservoir.

Fisherman Lonny Frederick showed off his catch on the American River, realizing the water levels he saw on Monday wouldn't be there by week's end.

"If they drop it to 700 by tomorrow like they're talking, it's going to be a creek out there," he said.

The Bureau of Reclamation is drastically cutting back on water releases from the Folsom Dam into the American River from 800 cubic feet per second to just 500 cfs by Friday. That would be the lowest on record since 1990—one of the driest years on record.

Thom Gohring with the Sacramento Water Forum says they're trying to match what's flowing into the Folsom reservoir with what's released into the river. And right now, that isn't much.

"The conditions we're seeing up in Folsom reservoir, up in our watershed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is unprecedented," he said.  "We have never in history seen anything quite this dry before."

Right now, boat ramps at the Watt Avenue access are above the current water level. And even if you managed to get into the water, the river isn't accessible because a rock bar sits between the ramp and the main channel.

Experts say dropping water levels mean 10 to 15 percent of the fall-run Chinook salmon eggs will be lost.

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