News & Operations Blog

Lions, and Tigers, and Wolves – Oh My!

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Local Cub Scouts Spend an Afternoon at Cordova Creek

Local cub scouts and CivicSpark Fellows Cassie and Kat gather to learn about the history of the Cordova Creek Naturalization Project


December 10, 2017:

On an unseasonably warm December afternoon, 13 Cub Scouts and their

Cub scouts excitedly gather to admire Cordova Creek

families joined the CivicSpark Fellows (Water Forum) and Mary Maret (Sacramento County Regional Parks) for an afternoon of service and hiking along Cordova Creek, our recent restoration site in Rancho Cordova. Prior to the restoration project, Cordova Creek was nothing more than a concrete-lined storm drainage running through an abandoned agricultural field. The Water Forum and many partners (including Sacramento County Regional Parks, Soil Born Farms, and others) worked together to remove the concrete-lined storm drain and modify it to mirror a naturalized, meandering creek with CA native plants growing along and adjacent to the creek.


The scouts, all aged between 6-7 years old, spent the first half hour of their visit learning about the history

The scouts gather around Mary to learn how to plant acorns

of Cordova Creek, different aspects of riverine ecosystems, and the value of conservation and restoration. Then the group walked along the creek and discussed the importance of planting native vs. non-native plants. As soon as they reached the midway point of Cordova Creek, the scouts excitedly raced to the water’s edge and admired the creek.


After the fellows regained the scouts’ attention, the scouts were separated into two groups to begin their service work! Half the group planted acorn with Mary Maret and CivicSpark Fellow Kat Perkins. The remaining scouts and their families followed Cassie and worked together to remove the metal pins securing the irrigation lines in place that had begun to pinch and cause leaks in the water hoses. After an hour, the groups switched places so that everyone could experience each service event.


Both projects required teamwork and patience, and their successful efforts resulted in the planting of 48 acorns and the removal of 354 irrigation pins! We appreciate all the scouts’ hard work and look forward to seeing them again next year!

The cub scouts and CivicSpark Fellow Cassie gather near Cordova Creek for an end of the day group picture

Welcome New CivicSpark Fellows

Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

  Welcome, New CivicSpark Fellows!

CivicSpark Central Inland Regional Team during their 50 Bikes for 50 Kids Service Event — The Water Forum’s Fellows are Kat Perkins (Top row, second from left) and Cassie Miller (Top Row, second from right)

The Water Forum is excited to introduce our two new CivicSpark Fellows who joined our team in November, and will work with us during their 11-month fellowship!


What is CivicSpark?

Map illustrating placement sites of CivicSpark Fellows

CivicSpark was launched in 2014 as a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program as a dedicated way to build capacity for local Californian governments to address climate change and water management issues. The program, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, offers two Fellowship tracks: CivicSpark Climate (50 fellows) and CivicSpark Water (20 fellows). The fellows working at the Water Forum are both members of the Water track.

The 70 Fellows are placed in 7 regions across California, extending from urban centers to rural areas, north to south, and coastal to inland. The Fellows work with local governments to assist their agency’s response to climate change and water management through direct agency support, fostering regional partnerships, and supporting community engagement. Over the course of the service year, the Fellows complete research, planning and implementation of much needed climate and water-focused projects while striving to build long-term capacity to ensure that their work is sustained past their service year.

Meet Our Fellows

Cassandra Miller


Growing up in arid New Mexico, Cassie Miller developed an appreciation for the importance of water from a very young age. Cassie went on to pursue a degree in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Grinnell College and graduated in May 2016. Post-graduation, Cassie pursued her love of arid ecology and science accessibility by completing an 11-month Grinnell Corps Service Fellowship at Gobabeb Training and Research Centre, Namibia. At Gobabeb, Cassie developed and lead arid ecology programs for visitors and students, and assisted in the maintenance of the center’s long-term research. Living in the heart of the Namib Desert re-sparked Cassie’s interest in water resource management, thus leading to her current work with the Water Forum.

Projects at the Water Forum:

In addition to assisting in the exciting day-to-day at the Water Forum, which includes salmon carcass surveys and SGMA implementation, Cassie will be leading the continued maintenance effort for the Cordova Creek Naturalization project. She will coordinate and lead invasive species management and native plantings around the creek and work to develop a sustainable volunteer group in Rancho Cordova to increase awareness and use of the creek.

Why you applied to CivicSpark:

Cassie was attracted to the CivicSpark Fellowship because of its focus on creating links between environmental science and policy. Through this experience, Cassie hopes to gain a larger understanding of ways that science can guide policy to create solutions for a more sustainable future.

What are you most excited about this service year:

Cassie is excited to learn about the water world and the inner-workings of water resource management! She is eager to expand her understanding of aquatic science and is looking forward to transferring what she learns this year to policy work in her home state of New Mexico. She’s grateful to be in California and take advantage of the opportunity to explore new ecosystems and be in Sacramento, the nation’s leading actor on climate change policy!

Katherine Perkins


Kat Perkins graduated from UC Davis this past Spring with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Her passion for ecological stewardship extends back to her grade school days when she and her mom relocated thousands of spadefoot tadpoles from a stream near their inland San Diego County home threatened by suburban development. During college, Kat served as treasurer of her non-profit co-operative housing association and interned in educational gardens and farms. Before becoming a CivicSpark fellow, she worked as a technician on a study investigating the relationship between climate change and grapevine phenology. After shifting her focus to the terrestrial world, Kat has returned to a riverine ecosystem like the salmon she is now studying. She would like to continue working in social and environmental science, policy and planning, and to eventually earn an advanced degree, possibly in geography.

Projects at the Water Forum:

During her fellowship, Kat’s concentration will be on developing a methodology for aerial redds counts. She will take the lead on other GIS-related work like her current project of creating a triptych of the river for the conference room. Kat will also assist Cassie with the development of the Friends of Cordova Creek program and take on office tasks and fieldwork when needed.

Why you applied to CivicSpark:

Kat sees her fellowship as a prime opportunity to hone her project management and mapping skills while serving a region she has come to know and love over the last four years.

What are you most excited about this service year:

Kat is most looking forward to collaborating with and learning from Water Forum stakeholders and scientists as well as growing a powerful network of like-minded peers through the CivicSpark fellow community.


The Water Forum is excited to work with our Fellows and mentor them throughout the year! 😊

Change Order

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Date: Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 9:29 AM
Subject: Nimbus Dam – Change Order

Please make the following release change to the American River.

Date                  Time          From (cfs)     To (cfs)

01/09/2018         1200         2,000            2,500

01/09/2018         1300         2,500            3,000

Comment:   Storage management.

Issued by:  P, Manza

Water Forum Named Environmentalist of the Year for Salmonid Habitat Work by Environmental Council of Sacramento!

Posted on Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The Water Forum received an Environmentalist of the Year Award from the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), in recognition of their years of salmonid habitat restoration work on the lower American River.

Accepting the ECOS award: Mike Gonsalves, City of Sacramento Department of Utilities; John Hannon, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Mike Healey, California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Beth Campbell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Adam Strebel, City of Sacramento Department of Utilities; Lilly Allen, Water Forum; Gary Grey, City of Sacramento Department of Utilities

Yearly gravel restoration projects carried out by the Water Forum create essential spawning and rearing habitat for endangered Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout. Central Valley dams have critically reduced much of their habitat and prevented their spawning gravel from moving downstream. These fish need fist size gravel to create their nests, called redds, to spawn. When flows in the river rise, so does the energy of the river which washes these rocks further downstream. Without these restoration projects, new fist-sized rocks would not be replenished near the top of the dam, where the best habitat is located. It is important that the Water Forum and our partners continue replacing these rocks so the fish can thrive.

This Award celebrates Sacramento region’s outstanding environmental successes and recognizes the individuals and organizations who spearheaded them.  Since its formation in 1971, ECOS has convened Sacramento’s environmental leaders to create a visionary forum and an action-oriented coalition for the region. This year marked the 45th Environmentalist of the Year awards ceremony hosted by ECOS. ECOS is also a signatory on the landmark Water Forum Agreement, which was signed in 2000.

Over the past 9 years, the Water Forum has designed and built over 30 acres of salmonid habitat along the lower American River. They have accomplished this through a collaborative process engaging stakeholders and scientists and partnering with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service and Sacramento County Parks.  

The Water Forum is anticipating construction throughout the river. The NEPA document is located here.

Change Order

Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Date: Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 9:23 AM
Subject: Nimbus Dam – Change Order

Project: Nimbus Dam

Please make the following release change to the American River.


Date                  Time        From (cfs)    To (cfs)

12/01/2017     0700        2,000              2,500
12/01/2017     0800        2,500              3,000
12/01/2017     0900        3,000              3,500


Comment: Storage Management

Issued by: J. Sandberg

Change Order

Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Date: Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 9:32 AM
Subject: Nimbus Dam – Change Order

Please make the following release changes at Nimbus Dam:


Date                Time           From (cfs)      To (cfs)

10/05/2017       2100            3,000            2,900

10/06/2017       2100            2,900            2,800

10/07/2017       2100            2,800            2,700

10/08/2017       2100            2,700            2,600

10/09/2017       2100            2,600            2,500

10/10/2017       2100            2,500            2,400

10/11/2017       2100            2,400            2,300

10/12/2017       2100            2,300            2,200

10/13/2017       2100            2,200            2,100

10/14/2017       2100            2,100            2,000


Comment:  Reducing flows for fall spawning

Issued by:  P. Manza

Change Order

Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Date: Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 9:04 AM
Subject: Nimbus Dam – Change Order
Please make the following release changes at Nimbus Dam:

Date                Time           From (cfs)      To (cfs)

10/01/2017       2100            3,500            3,350

10/02/2017       2100            3,350            3,200

10/03/2017       2100            3,200            3,100

10/04/2017       2100            3,100            3,000


Comment:  Reducing flows for fall spawning

Issued by:  P. Manza