Sacramento River

The Sacramento River is an important river of Northern and Central California in the United States. The state's largest river by discharge, it rises in the Klamath Mountains and flows south for over 400 miles (640 km) before reaching Suisun Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay, and thence the Pacific Ocean. The Sacramento drains an area of about 27,500 square miles (71,000 km2) in the northern half of the state, mostly within a region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley. Its extensive watershed also reaches to the volcanic plateaus of Northeastern California. Historically, its watershed has reached farther, as far north as south-central Oregon where the now, primarily, endorheic (closed) Goose Lake rarely experiences southerly outflow into the Pit River, the most northerly tributary of the Sacramento.

The Sacramento has been an important transportation route since the time of the region's first inhabitants, who settled in the river valley about 12,000 years ago. Hundreds of tribes sharing regional customs and traditions inhabited the Sacramento Valley, though they received little disturbance upon the arrival of Europeans in the 1700s. One of these early explorers, Gabriel Moraga, gave the river the Spanish name, Rio de los Sacramentos, later shortened and anglicized into Sacramento. The Sacramento's waters were once abundant in fish and other aquatic creatures, notably one of the southernmost runs of chinook salmon in North America. The original natives of the Sacramento Valley drew upon the vast natural resources of the watershed, which had one of the densest American Indian populations of California.

In the 19th century the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada led to an enormous population influx of American settlers. Overland trails such as the California Trail and Siskiyou Trail followed the Sacramento and other tributaries, guiding hundreds of thousands of people to the goldfields and the growing agricultural region of the Sacramento Valley. By the late part of the century, many populated communities had been established along the Sacramento River, chief of which was the booming city of Sacramento. Intensive agriculture and mining contributed to pollution in the Sacramento, and significant changes to the river's hydrology and environment.

Since the 1950s the watershed have been intensely developed for water supply and the generation of hydroelectric power. Today, large dams impound the river and almost all of its major tributaries. The Sacramento's water is used heavily for irrigation purposes and serves much of Central and Southern California through the canals of giant federal water projects. While now providing water to over half of California's population and supporting one of the most productive agricultural areas in the nation, these changes have left the Sacramento greatly modified from its natural state and have caused the decline of its once-abundant fisheries.

Read more about Sacramento River:  Course, Watershed, Geology, History, Dams and Water Use, Ecology

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California State Route 273 - Route Description
... area, the route enters farmland, while paralleling the Sacramento River ... The roadway then enters suburban Redding, where it turns away from the Sacramento River and zigzags along local roads through downtown, where it meets State Route 299 ... Upon exiting downtown, SR 273 crosses the Sacramento River and meets its northern terminus at Interstate 5 in the suburbs of Redding ...
Sacramento River - Ecology - Pollution
... For a river of its size, the Sacramento is considered to have fairly clean water ... However, pollutants still flow into the river from many of its tributaries and man-made drains or channels ... riparian vegetation and the runoff of fertilizers into the river have led to occasional algae blooms, though the water is usually cold because of the regulation of dams upstream ...
Humphrey The Whale - Humphrey's Journeys Inland
... on Humphrey’s plight, until – even more amazingly – he swam up the Sacramento River into a freshwater habitat. 1985, swam up the Carquinez Strait, the Sacramento River and under the Rio Vista Bridge to a dead-end slough 69 miles (111 km) from the ocean ... of being trapped in the fresh water of the Sacramento Delta brought signs of physical stress in the whale ...
Peripheral Canal
... been proposed to divert water from the Sacramento River, through (or around the periphery of) the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta ... that water is being pulled through the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta ...

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