Gary J. Freeman, Hydrologist, has been studying and tracking climatology and changes in the Upper Feather River Watershed for many years. He recently presented a paper at the annual Western Snow Conference and has made that information available to us.
He points out: “while warming along with an earlier snowmelt has been occurring throughout California, the relatively low mountain elevation, “rain shadowed” topography of the upper North Fork Feather River has been more sensitive to the effects of climate change compared with the remainder of the Sierra Range to the south. The changes are very specific to topography. Even within the entire North Fork Feather River watershed above Lake Oroville, the Hwy 70 Canyon sidewater inflow area near Rock Creek, Cresta and Bucks Creek power houses, including the Bucks Lake-Grizzly drainage show little change, while the “rain shadowed-mountain barrier blocked” Lake Almanor and East Branch of the North Fork Feather appear to be on the other end of the “change scale”.
Take a minute to enjoy his observations and some excellent slides showing our trends over a period of years. After all; we may be in a drought now but come winter, we may experience an abundance of moisture brought to us by El Nino.