Oh yeah, I have been ranting about this subject for years. Water will flow year round up around Murieta, but several miles downriver at hwy 99, it will be bone dry. This is due to municipal and agricultural pumping. Farmers will grow water intensive crops, such as alfalfa, that require frequent and indiscriminate groundwater pumping to flood their fields. You can have no concept of how much water this means, until you have personally seen water flowing out of a 6 inch pipe for DAYS on end, several times a year. Multiply that by dozens of farms, add the huge expansion of Elk Grove subdivisions and a hugely wasteful golf course and "pretty" lake at Murieta, and you get a dry river.
The good gravel beds for spawning are in Murieta, and that means that the salmon have to fly over several miles of dry riverbed to get there in the fall. To pretend that a fall Cosumnes run even exists is nothing but a sad joke.
It's amazing. I have spoken to otherwise knowledgeable folks, who have no idea that the river and the aquifer are directly connected to each other.
It was obvious there were a lot of salmon milling about in the lower ¼ mile of the Cosumnes River last October. An online search for a report on the status of the run found only sad news. Robert Jerome Glennon devotes a chapter of his 2004 accusation of unregulated ground water pumping, “Water Follies” to the situation of the Cosumnes River and it’s fall run Chinook salmon. He describes the fate of the 2001 run in which hundreds of salmon raced up river when the Cosumnes began to flow in mid-November only to become stranded and die before spawning as the river sank into the flood plain aquifer that had been depleted by a summer of ground water pumping. If we trust the veracity of the CABY report (apparently dates to around the 1st of Dec.) on the status of salmon runs, the same sad scenario apparently came to pass on the river again last fall:
“A number of other factors also are working against the effort to boost the chinook salmon population: changes in weather patterns; landowners who don't want more salmon in the river; scarce funds; and groundwater pumping that diverts water to feed subdivisions downriver in Elk Grove and Galt.
Lack of riverbed water, in particular, is harming the efforts this year. With the long summer and dry fall, water flowed down the entire Cosumnes River for only a week in mid-November. Now, the river's midsection is dry and disconnected, and hundreds of salmon are stranded in the Cosumnes in southern Sacramento County. Those fish will die there before they can spawn.”