Russian River Lower Dams Out and the Mouth is Closed

Thursday September 26, 2013, Jenner CA.

The lower dams are coming out

When I got up this morning I decided to go down and kayak Jenner, windy or whatever, I was just going to do it.

The Vacation Beach Dam

On the way down I stopped in at the Vacation Beach dam to find out how they were doing, taking it down.

This is the view I had up river as I approached the dam on foot, as the road down there was closed off to traffic.upview

 

They were at it taking the top boards off as you can see below. Notice they have their wet suits on today.damworkers

 

I talked to one of the guys about why the water wasn’t down lower yesterday and he said that was on purpose as he wanted the water to go down slower, not so fast. and that is why they only took a couple top boards off yesterday and they’d only take so many off today and come back tomorrow and finish taking most of them down.

They figured out how to make the crane work near the bridge and use the down riggers. They built a little ramp with boards on the hillside of the road for the rigger to sit on. You can barely see this just in front of the guy by the pickup truck, it has the orange thingy on it. The crane lifts the dam boards up and over to the pickup truck. They’ll work the dam on down this way.cranelift

 

They said they’d be down there tomorrow so I’ll likely stop in and see how they are doing then.

I said good bye and walked back up to my car about a quarter mile up the road and continued on down to Jenner and on past it to the river overlook on highway 1, just out of town.

The Russian River mouth is closed with sand

This is my view looking over the river out over the Pacific ocean. The river’s mouth is closed as you see no river water is entering the ocean. When the ocean is real rough, it picks up sand in the waves and with a high tide deposits it on the sandy beach and in the river’s mouth, closing it. It builds a dam out of the sand. The ocean has been real rough the last week or so.rivermouthview

 

Here is a closer look at the river’s mouth area which is now plugged up with sand, closing it. That’s the jetty to the left and the sand up against that is where the river was going to the ocean a day or so ago before it closed to the ocean.rivermouthview2

 

With the lower river dams being taken out, there is a lot more water coming down then normal which will cause the river to rise in the estuary, which should be enough to break over the sand dam and wash it out.

The salmon need the river’s mouth open

At this time of year, the salmon are running which means the river’s mouth has to be open to let them come in from the ocean so they can go up river and do their spawning thing and die. So, at this time of year, it’s important for the river’s mouth to be open, at least, most of the time.

I returned in my car to the Jenner launch ramp and put my boat in the water. It was medium windy, maybe fifteen miles an hour or so, not too bad. I paddled across to Penny island and on up the river to Eagle’s Landing taking it easy, just enjoying the day. While I was at Eagle’s landing, I noticed the wind picked up quite a bit, maybe up to twenty five  miles and hour or so. I headed on back toward the river’s mouth, going around Penny Island’s north side to avoid as much wind as possible. I paused at Penny Island’s west end for a bit, before deciding what the hay? Go for it, paddle down to the river’s mouth to check it out from the water, so off I went into the wind and waves.

Here I am heading toward the rivers mouth area, up ahead. The wind is up and so are the waves, but it is nice and clear out and not too cold.mouthviewriver

 

This picture shows the sand dam in the river’s mouth, just to the right of the jetty on the left. Some seagulls resting on the beach, with the ocean breaking just behind them.rivermouthclosed

 

There were a few seals there too.The one on the far right is walking over the sand dam to get to the ocean, which is behind that big rock. If enough water comes down from taking the dams out to go over that two or three foot sand dam, it will wash out the sand and open the mouth. We’ll see if it does it in the next couple days or so.seals

 

I was looking for a place to get somewhat out of the wind to take a break so I tried stopping in this area, just past the river mouth at the end of the river. I stayed there for awhile, but had a hard time staying there without the wind blowing me  off the spot.

riverendview

 

I think I stayed there long enough for the wind to really pick up as when I left I really hit some. It was blowing fairly hard, I had to hold onto my paddle with one hand trying to kept the wind from blowing the boat around and trying to take a picture with the other hand and not get the camera wet.

Some more birds had landed on the sand dam, including some brown pelicans.

Here’s the view as I passed them by in the wind.mouthclosed

 

This is the view just as I left the mouth area, looking up toward Penny Island. As you can see, the wind is up and blowing waves. I didn’t have to paddle much, just used the paddle as a rudder to keep the boat headed in the right direction.Pennyview

 

With the wind strong, it blew the sky clear. Here’s a picture of the town of Jenner on a clear day, from just in front of the west end of Penny Island.jenner

 

With the water up, I could paddle into the little channel on the west end of Penny Island to get out of the wind, so I did. I put my boat ashore and got out and looked around a bit. This photo is looking west over the river toward the Pacific ocean which is on the other side of the sand dunes. Not much wind here, eh?pennyisland

 

This picture was taken off the west end of Penny Island. Gnarly, eh?gnarly

 

I stayed there just a short time, then put my boat back into the waves and headed back to the Jenner launch area, where the wind started to die down  quite a bit, to just windy.

I went on home where I got something to eat and took a little nap. Then I went next door to my brother’s and worked on his new used golf cart he bought that won’t work, just won’t go with new batteries too.

I worked on that, taking things apart and measuring things, which mostly looked ok, when I discovered a broken lug on the end of one of the main wires, hiding down under things. Ok, he can fix that. I returned to my yard and sat around until dark, just enjoying the nice evening.

That’s my day and it was a nice one, wind and all.

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