Red, Brown, and Green

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By John Wiley

As clouds finally cleared the view north-east from Carpenteria, it coaxed us over the mountains and down the Santa Ynez Valley. All this rain has finally changed the ratio of brown and green, upper elevations, and the burned mountains. North of the river is still scary brown, with a few patches of struggling green. Jameson Reservoir is nearly full and there's water in the river below it. Above it, some green is appearing and there's still some snow showing on peaks over Ojai in the blue distance. It was a thrill to see Gibraltar spilling, even though the water in both reservoirs and the river is very brown. Back on the south slope, water in Seven Falls was a greenish color as if to match the verdant foliage.

 

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Terrapin Flyer Jan 20, 2019 08:42 PM
Red, Brown, and Green

Vegetation has been really coming back in the watershed. No release per se, you are seeing the plunge pool below the dam, just like at Gibraltar. Jameson hasn’t silted up as much as Gibraltar. Right now it’s about 66’ in depth. Gibraltar is 22’ at spill I believe. Although Jameson is much smaller in area, it’s roughly similar in volume. A Piper Cub flew low overhead today, anyone you know?

John Wiley Jan 21, 2019 02:22 AM
Red, Brown, and Green

Thanks for the followup. So maybe the plunge pool water is backflow from Alder Creek, runoff from the slopes West of the dam, a high water table, and/or seepage beneath the dam? Interesting that Gibraltar is shallower - I'd imagined the opposite. Maybe the debris basin above the NE end of Jameson has helped? As for the Cub overflight, nobody I know and it sounds scary to me since there are so few safe landing areas there. But the planes I fly pretty much need a runway, while a Cub owner once told me he could land on a suburban lawn. :)

Flicka Jan 20, 2019 09:00 AM
Red, Brown, and Green

Great update, John. Thank you. Unfortunately, I believe Gibralter is so full of silt it doesn't hold much water.

John Wiley Jan 20, 2019 02:13 PM
Red, Brown, and Green

I recall reading the capacity reduction numbers since it was built, but don't recall now. But surely any runoff from bare slopes in the watershed is going to produce a relatively large reduction. Hopefully it won't end up shallow like Matilija Reservoir. :(

Terrapin Flyer Jan 20, 2019 06:46 AM
Red, Brown, and Green

Thanks for the great aerial of my lake! I am the dam caretaker for Juncal dam at Jameson and haven’t been out on the water yet, so it’s great to see the North shore. Over six inches of rain fell here Thursday and the the lake rose 12 feet. Only six feet from spill.

John Wiley Jan 20, 2019 02:25 PM
Red, Brown, and Green

Checked the County rain site just now and see what you mean about Thursday, and that you've had over 11" in the last 30 days. Quite a change! Are you seeing lots of new growth sprouting yet?

John Wiley Jan 20, 2019 02:06 PM
Red, Brown, and Green

Wow, I hadn't looked up the numbers and wouldn't have guessed 6" in a day! I noticed in the full-res version of the reservoir pic that there seems to be some water below the dam, and wondered if there's some release in progress. Do you lower the level a little in case of downpour, or just let it spill if/when that happens?

TWOSCOOPS Jan 19, 2019 01:57 PM
Red, Brown, and Green

Green is good, water in reservoirs and Gibraltar spilling! Your photos are inspirational!

John Wiley Jan 20, 2019 02:03 PM
Red, Brown, and Green

Yes! Hope we get more rain w/o deluges, so those upper SY Valley mountains start to green up. So much silt in the runoff there. :(

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