Fresno River

Fresno River

to the San Joaquin River.

Course

The Fresno River is formed by the confluence of Nelder Creek and Lewis Fork near the locality of Yosemite Forks. From this point, it flows south to Oakhurst, west for several miles, then southwest to Hensley Lake. Below the lake, the river flows southwest to Madera, then west to the Eastside Bypass. The river exits the bypass then flows generally northwest to its confluence with the San Joaquin River, just north of Highway 152.

Lakes and Dams

Hidden Dam is the only major storage dam on the Fresno River. The dam forms Hensley Lake, a 90,000 acre-foot (110,000,000 m³) reservoir. The United States Army Corps of Engineers built the earth-fill dam, which was completed in 1974. Its primary purpose is flood control, but it is also used to regulate flows for irrigation and groundwater recharge. In 1978, the lake was opened to the public for recreation and is a popular boating and fishing destination for locals.

Below Hidden Dam, the Fresno River provides water to Madera Lake via an unnamed distributary. Excess flow from the lake is returned to the Fresno River by the lake's dam. Further downstream, on the northeast edge of Madera, is the John Franchi Diversion Dam, a convert|15|ft|m|sing=on high, convert|263|ft|m|sing=on-wide earth and steel dam that is used to divert water into the Madera Canal. The dam was built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation in 1964 and is operated by the Madera Irrigation District. From this point, the river is normally dry. The only time water is released past here is when water levels are high enough to spill over the dam.

Lower river

, the Fresno River's natural riverbed has been subject to much intervention by man and as a result, the natural riverbed has many gaps in it, which are now connected by man-made canals.

At Road 17, the natural riverbed has been modified to divert most flows into a manmade canal, which leads to the Eastside Bypass. Water can also be allowed to continue flowing down the main river channel (north of the man-made canal), but that water now ends up in the Bypass as well.

Once in the Bypass, water can exit via a small channel at a diversion dam and continue west along the natural riverbed the rest of the way to the San Joaquin River. Between the Eastside Bypass and the San Joaquin River, the riverbed (which is almost always dry) has been subject to straightening, but more or less follows its natural course.

Tributaries

In addition to many small unnamed streams, the Fresno River receives the water from the following streams:
*China Creek
*Miami Creek
*Crooks Creek
*Spangle Gold Creek
*Willow Creek
*Mud Spring Creek
*China Slough
*South Fork Fresno River
**"This is a distributary that branches off to form a small island, then returns to the mainline Fresno River."
*Berenda Slough

Towns

Towns along the Fresno River include:
*Oakhurst (Unincorporated)
*Madera

Crossings

There are numerous crossings over the Fresno River in Madera and Merced Counties. Crossings are listed here beginning at the source and working downstream:
*Madera County above Hensley Lake
**Crane Valley Road (Road 426)
**State Route 41
**River View Drive
**Dupfy Fire Road (Road 8084)
**Ellerbrock Station Road
**Raymond Road (Road 415)
*Madera County below Hensley Lake
**Daulton Road (Road 603)
*City of Madera
**East Cleveland Avenue
**North Lake Street
**North D Street
**North Gateway Drive
**State Route 99
**Schnoor Avenue
**North Granada Drive
**Westberry Boulevard
*Madera County below the City of Madera
**Road 23
**Road 20
**Road 19
**Road 16
**Road 9
**Road 1
*Merced County
**State Route 152

References

* [http://www.bartleby.com/69/40/F03340.html Columbia Gazetteer of North America]
* [http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/html/friant.html United States Bureau of Reclamation]
* [http://sanjoaquinvalley.com/pdf/Sections%205%20thru%205.1.4.pdf San Joaquin River White Paper]


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