Stanislaus River, Middle Fork (Calif.) -- Pictorial works. Forested site on the Middle Fork Stanislaus River. [175], Boating, water-skiing and camping are also popular on the many reservoirs along the Stanislaus River. In 1895 Charles Tulloch acquired water rights to an old mining ditch near Knights Ferry and incorporated the Stanislaus Milling and Power Company, later the Stanislaus Water & Power Company. The river is named for Estanislao, who led a native uprising in Mexican-controlled California in 1828, but was ultimately defeated on the Stanislaus River (then known as the Río de los Laquisimes). The Middle Fork Stanislaus River is approximately 48 miles in length from the headwaters, near Sonora Pass, to the Stanislaus River confluence (Tuolumne County). A 17 mile section from Beardsley Afterbay to the confluence of the North Fork Stanislaus is designated by the State of California as a Wild Trout Fishery. Take-out: 45 miles or so East of Sonora on Highway 108 take Clarks Fork Road and drive the mile or so to the bridge of the Middle Stanislaus. Many miners and their families eventually settled along the lower Stanislaus River. [54] Highway 108 along the South/Middle Forks and Highway 4 along the North Fork, a designated National Scenic Byway, provide access to the forest from both sides of the Sierra Nevada. [147] The districts objected because releasing water in the spring would cut drastically into their supply, as state regulations require that a certain volume of water be retained in New Melones for fall fish releases. The Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River has been a great fishery having some of the best fishable waters westside of the Sierras. [54] By 1849, as many as 10,000 miners had reached the Stanislaus River country. Historic records show that the majority of ranches and homesteads in the Stanislaus River area were established between the 1850s and 1890s by former gold seekers. The Stanislaus River is a tributary of the San Joaquin River in north-central California in the United States. The lava flows are today known as the Stanislaus Formation, and are most visible as the caprock layer of the distinctive "table mountains" around present day New Melones Lake. A number of trading posts and rest stops operated on both sides of Sonora Pass including Sugar Pine, Strawberry, Baker's Station, Leavitt's Station and Big Meadows. There were numerous tents, good, bad, and indifferent, stores and gambling booths, shanties and open encampments; and miners busy everywhere. The North and South Forks of the river also experience similarly swift drops, although neither carry as much water as the Middle Fork. One of the first irrigation cooperatives formed on the Stanislaus River was formed by the Tulloch family in 1858, who built a diversion dam to supply farms in the area around Knight's Ferry. Stanislaus River, Middle Fork, lower Tuolumne County Car Accessible Driving Directions. [44], After the initial defeat, Vallejo returned with a force of "107 soldiers, some citizens, and at least fifty mission Indian militiamen" armed with muskets and cannon, but again fought to a draw. During the last glacial period the main Stanislaus glacier was up to 30 miles (48 km) long; during previous ice ages it may have extended as far as 45 miles (72 km). [22][137] At least 36 fish species are known to exist in the lower Stanislaus River, including both native species such as salmon, steelhead/rainbow trout, Pacific lamprey, hardhead and Sacramento pikeminnow as well as introduced species such as carp, sunfish and bass. Hardwood forests (California black oak, canyon live oak and blue oak) and gray pine are common along streams and canyon bottoms, and in the foothills other hardwoods such as chamise, manzanita and mountain mahogany are present. It is roughly 95 miles in length and it is divided in to three forks (the North, Middle and South) with the longest fork being the Middle Fork. The river drains a watershed of 332 square miles (860 km2)[4] in Tuolumne County, much of it within the Stanislaus National Forest. [135][136] The Stanislaus River is habitat for aquatic furbearers including beaver, river otter, and mink, which were extensively trapped for their fur during the 19th century. "[56] Initially, miners worked individual placer claims, but as the easily accessed gold played out, they teamed up to build extensive dam, ditch and flume systems that could more efficiently wash gold out of sediment, as well as supply water to gold-bearing areas without a water source and provide water for irrigation. Data is the average of the 1921–2003 period. [131] Riparian zones have experienced further decline from development in the floodplain and extensive mining for sand and gravel. The “Lower Works” refer to the Tulloch development below Jamestown reaching into both Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties. Nahimutang ni sa kondado sa Tuolumne County ug estado sa California, sa habagatan-kasadpang bahin sa nasod, 3,700 km sa kasadpan sa Washington, D.C. Ang Middle Fork Stanislaus River mao ang bahin sa tubig-saluran sa San Joaquin River ang ulohan sa nasod. [49] The first major American settlement along the Stanislaus River was founded in January 1847 by about 30 Mormon colonists under the direction of Samuel Brannan. trout . [80] In 1948 the districts joined to increase water storage on the Stanislaus River by constructing the Tri-Dam Project, consisting of Donnells and Beardsley dams on the Middle Fork, Tulloch Dam between the existing Goodwin and Melones dams, and Columbia Dam below the junction of the Middle and North Forks (this fourth site was later dropped from the proposal). [105] The state and environmentalists agreed to compromise the lake level at 26 percent of its design capacity, which hydrological studies determined was the optimal volume for fulfilling demands along the Stanislaus without losing too much water to evaporation and flood releases. In its natural state the Stanislaus had a major spawning run in the late spring (April–June) and smaller runs in the fall and winter. Forested site on the Middle Fork Stanislaus River. Donnells Reservoir is on the middle fork of the Stanislaus River with its crest at 4,921 feet. [20] Elevations in the watershed range from less than 15 feet (4.6 m) at the confluence with the San Joaquin River to over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in the high Sierra Nevada. Middle Fork water is managed by the Spring Gap–Stanislaus hydroelectric project, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric, and the Tri-Dam project owned by the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts. At the reservoir, it is joined by the smaller South Fork, which descends for 42 miles (68 km) from the Sierra Nevada to the east. [123][125], In 2004, PG&E's license for the Tri-Dam project expired, and a new contract with the irrigation districts had to be negotiated. [111], Since then, New Melones has struggled to fulfill its obligations to downstream water users; during droughts, the irrigation districts and the federal government have frequently fought over its water. [101] Afterwards, dam opponents focused on limiting the level of the new reservoir, even as dam construction was completed in 1978. The Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River has been building a reputation over the years as having some of the best fishable waters westside of the Sierras. Note: Photographs taken under the auspices of the Historic American Engineering Record (no. [26], The lower Stanislaus River watershed comprises only about one-tenth of the total area and is used mainly for agriculture (61 percent) and urban development (34 percent), with minimal open space. In 1854 the ferry was replaced by a wooden covered bridge; within the next few years Knights Ferry also became the site of a hotel, court house, flour mill and the Tuolumne County jail. Not advisable for Large R. V. 's or trailers. The 72 megawatt Donnell powerhouse and the 11 megawatt Beardsley powerhouse were built as part of the Tri-Dam Project, in addition to an 18 megawatt plant at the Tulloch Dam further downstream. [154], The environmental program has also met with pushback from federal representatives, including a bill introduced to Congress by Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) in 2015, which would have allowed conservation of reservoir storage during droughts, rather than releasing it for environmental purposes. [90] The districts had also contemplated building a bigger 1.1 million acre foot (1.4 km3) reservoir to replace the Melones Reservoir, but this project also never made it past the drawing board. Go look. Middle Fork of Stanislaus River, overview. Upstream becomes higher gradient and more difficult to traverse because of boulders. 22 ] the irrigation districts again entered into a contract with PG & E must coordinate operations at the of. 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