The Sacramento is California's greatest river, flowing 380 miles from the snowmelt atop Mt. Shasta to Suisun Bay. The Sacramento River accounts for 35 percent of California's developed water. Seventy percent of the salmon caught off the California coast spawned in the Sacramento River and its tributaries. Unsurpassed recreational opportunities from mountain stream trout fishing to delta houseboating distinguish this river as one of the nation's best, attracting more than 8 million visitors each year.
When James Marshall plucked a gold nugget from the south fork of the American River, it changed California forever. Today, Folsom Dam holds back the American at the eastern edge of Sacramento, forming Folsom Lake. Boating, fishing, water sports, camping and beautiful lakeside landscapes are available year-round. As the American flows across the valley, it is the heart of a 5,000-acre, 23-mile-long parkway with riparian habitat, bike trail and river access.
The Cosumnes is California's only untamed river on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Small by comparison to the Sacramento, it flows only 80 miles, but as its waters cross the valley floor, the Cosumnes provides a unique opportunity to preserve natural habitats. The Cosumnes River Preserve now cover more than 37,000 acres, preserving oak woodlands and riparian habitat. The area offers unparalleled public viewing of waterfowl and Sandhill cranes.
The Cosumnes River joins the Mokelumne River at the southern tip of Sacramento County near the Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Preserve. A 30-minute drive south of Sacramento, the preserve is an ideal spot to view the birds during the fall and spring migrations as well as enjoy nearby riparian habitats formed by the river flows. It is here that wildlife friendly agricultural techniques are being used to enhance habitat opportunities for wildlife.