New Dam Endangers The Mokelumne River

posted March 6, 2009
by Dave Steindorf

article photo 1


Act Now to Save the Mokelumne River from Proposed Pardee Expansion

East Bay MUD has announced its intent to expand Pardee Reservoir as part of its latest  water plan. The expansion would flood the entire Middle Bar reach of the Mokelumne and nearly a mile of the Mokelumne above Highway 49. These miles of river are popular for fishing and kayaking, and used by local people and visitors to our area.

The expanded Pardee would flood nearly a mile of the Mokelumne found eligible for designation as a National Wild and Scenic River by the Bureau of Land Management.

EBMUD is including the Pardee expansion in its plan to help meet its water needs in dry years. Conservationists believe EBMUD can meet those needs in other ways – by adopting higher conservation standards, using the water it will soon obtain from the American River, and by other less destructive means.

We need your help to stop this misguided plan. The Pardee expansion would:

•    Flood the entire Middle Bar reach of the Mokelumne River, destroying the river for whitewater recreation and stream fishing use.

•    Flood the new whitewater boating takeout and parking area soon to be constructed below the Highway 49 Bridge

•    Flood up to 4,000 feet of the Mokelumne Electra Run in high flow periods.

•    Inundate the historic Middle Bar Bridge, restored by local governments just a few years ago, cutting off a critical emergency route for local residents. EBMUD says it will remove the bridge.

•    Inundate the historic and cultural resources of the Middle Bar area.

•    Require construction of a new Highway 49 Bridge.

•    Eliminate the possibility of commercial whitewater rafting on the combined Electra-Middle Bar run.

•    Thwart the economic development tourism and recreation potential of the Mokelumne River for Amador County, Calaveras County and local cities.

•    Result in eminent domain proceedings against landowners in the inundation zone.

You can help stop this plan now, before it gains momentum. Here’s how:

•    Write a letter to East Bay MUD to tell them your concerns about building a new dam and larger Pardee Reservoir. If you use the river, be sure to include that information in your letter. See sample letter at end of this message.

•    Send an e-mail to EBMUD and local officials about your concerns. See the link on our website, www.foothillconservancy.org/pardee. You can modify the message to include your own concerns.

•    Attend a public hearing in Sutter Creek, Lodi, Oakland, or Walnut Creek. See details at www.foothillconservancy.org/pardee

•    Write a letter to the editor of the local paper supporting the river and opposing the expansion.

•    If you live in the East Bay, contact your EBMUD director and urge him or her to adopt a higher conservation standard rather than destroying miles of the Mokelumne River. See contact information at www.ebmud.com.

However you comment, be sure to tell EBMUD:

•    Oppose the Pardee Reservoir enlargement. New and expanded dams are simply too expensive   for EBMUD ratepayers, provide relatively little new water, and are too harmful to the environment.
•    The Pardee Reservoir enlargement will drown a segment of the Mokelumne River popular for kayaking and fishing, destroy existing and proposed public access facilities (including the Middle Bar Bridge), require the relocation of the Hwy 49 bridge, and seasonally inundate nearly a mile of the Mokelumne proposed for Wild & Scenic River protection by the Bureau of Land Management.
•    By drowning more of the river, EBMUD will thwart the decades of work that have gone into making the Mokelumne a more viable recreation resource that will economically benefit foothill communities.
•    EBMUD should more efficiently use its existing water supplies by increasing water conservation and recycling.
Letters must be emailed by April 6, 2009 and sent to:
Thomas B. Francis
Tfrancis@ebmud.com
375 11th Street MS 407
Oakland, CA 94607

To review EBMUD’s Water Supply Management Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report, visit:
http://www.ebmud.com/water_&_environment/water_supply/water_supply_management_program/CEQA/default.htm

And if you haven’t signed on to protect the Mokelumne through National Wild and Scenic River designation, please do it today. See www.foothillconservancy/rivers.

Sample letter:

SAMPLE LETTER

Date: ___________________________________________

Thomas B. Francis
EBMUD Water Supply Improvements Division
375 11th Street MS 407
Oakland, CA 94607

Dear Mr. Francis:

I oppose the Pardee Reservoir enlargement proposed in EBMUD’s Water Supply Management Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

Building new and raising existing dams are simply too expensive for EBMUD ratepayers. These dam options provide relatively little water and will be harmful to the river.

The Pardee Reservoir enlargement will drown a segment of the Mokelumne River popular for kayaking and fishing, destroy existing and proposed public access facilities (including the Middle Bar Bridge), require the relocation of the Hwy 49 bridge, and seasonally inundate nearly a mile of the Mokelumne proposed for Wild & Scenic River protection by the Bureau of Land Management.

EBMUD should more efficiently use its existing water supplies by increasing water conservation and recycling.

Please inform me of any future decisions EBMUD may make concerning the plan and the proposed Pardee Reservoir enlargement.

Thank you.

Sincerely:

Name
Street Address
City
State, Zip
Phone
E-mail
 

Dave Steindorf
4 Baroni Drive
Chico, CA 95928
Phone: 530-343-1871