May 1, 2011 Snow Survey Results for the Scott River Watershed

(This is good news for our wild river will produce significant water this summer — if an early hot-spell doesn’t melt it too soon!)

Snowpack depth in the mountains surrounding Scott Valley was measured at 176 percent above normal. There are five “snow courses” or sites that have been measured for many years, some going back to 1946 at Middle Boulder #1 at the elevation of 6,600.

The Klamath National Forest released the results of the May 1st snow surveys conducted by employees of the Salmon and Scott River Ranger Districts of the KNF.

The snowpack is well into the spring melt and the snow levels have declined since the April 1 measurements. However, it still remains well above normal for this time of year.

Here are the snow stations or courses along with historic average, year it began to be measured and the elevation.

The Boulders and Scott Mt. are at the south end of Scott Valley and are the headwaters of the Scott River. Swampy John is above the City of Etna on Salmon Mt. and is in the headwaters of Etna Creek. The City of Etna receives the water for the entire city to use as a surface Water Right from Etna Creek.

Middle Boulder #1

– on May 1, 2011 it measured 84.4 inches. Historic average is 55.9 giving a percent of 151 of average.  Elevation is 6,600 feet. It was established 1946.

Middle Boulder #3

– on May 1, 2011 it measured 78 inches. Historic average is 43.7 giving a percent of 183 of average. Elevation is 6,200 feet. It was established 1948.

Dynamite Meadow

– on May 1, 2011 it measured 43.9 inches with a historic average of 23.5 inches giving a percentage of 187 of average. Elevation is 5,700. It was established 1955.

Swampy John

– on May 1, 2011 it measured 78.2 inches with a historic average of 57 inches giving a percentage of 137 of average. Elevation is 5,500 feet. It was established 1951.

Scott Mountain

– on May 1, 2011 it measured 66.5 inches with a historic average of 29.9 giving a percentage of 223 of normal of average. Elevation is 5,900 feet. It was established 1986.

Entire Scott Valley weighted average was 176 percent above average.

Equivalent Water Content was figured to be at 171 percent abov average.

Snow depth and water content are measured by obtaining a core sample of snow with a specially designed and calibrated aluminum tube. The snow depth is recorded and the water equivalent of that snow sample is calculated by weighing the core of snow in the tubes. The information is forwarded to the State of California, where the data is compiled with other snow reports and becomes part of the California Cooperative snow Survey Program, managed by the California Dept. of Water Resources.

The information is used to help the State forecast the amount of water available for agricultural uses, power generation and stream-flow releases later in the summer.

During the winter and spring months of February through May, Forest Service employees travel to pre-determined measuring sites to collect information about the snow accumulation in the mountains of the Klamath National Forest above the south and west portions of Scott Valley.

The “snow courses” are designated locations that are used to provide into about the amount of snow and moisture each month. Some sites are located a few dozen yards off forest roads, others require hours of travel by snow shoes and snowmobile.

Snow survey members for May were: Carol Ballow, Patrick Grimes, Nic Hoisington, Steve Renner, Bill Robinson and Sue Tebbe.

For more info go to the California Dept of Water resources Website

or contact Maija Meneks on the Salmon and Scott River district at 530-468-1272.

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