-- Barbara Vlamis Executive Director AquAlliance P.O. Box 4024 Chico, CA 95927 (530) 895-9420 www.aqualliance.net
CONTACT INFORMATION AquAlliance
Barbara Vlamis, Executive Director
Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation
Paul Gosselin, Director
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comments on a proposed raise of Shasta Dam and expansion of its reservoir that would flood segments of the McCloud and upper Sacramento Rivers. The agency has released for public review and comment the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation (SLWRI) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The public has until Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 to submit comments via email or in writing. Overall, the proposed project will seriously impact thousands of acres of public land that provide outstanding recreational opportunities and support sensitive, threatened, and endangered wildlife.
The Bureau is examining up to an 18.5-foot raise of Shasta Dam that would periodically flood nearly 1.5 miles of the McCloud and upper Sacramento Rivers. Both streams were identified by the Forest Service as potential National Wild & Scenic Rivers and the McCloud is protected under state law from dams and reservoirs. At stake are the rivers’ nationally significant wild trout fisheries, as well as outstandingly remarkable scenic, geological, and Native American cultural values (particularly for the McCloud).
The project will drown thousands of acres of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, which is managed by the Forest Service for public recreation and wildlife. These public lands harbor dozens of sensitive, threatened, and endangered wildlife species. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the proposed expanded reservoir will “result in the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat” for eight threatened and endangered species, including the Shasta salamander.
Raising the dam will also modify flows downstream in the lower Sacramento River, with potentially significant impacts on the river’s public lands, riparian ecosystem, and wildlife. Modified flows could harm a 20-mile segment of the waterway upstream of Red Bluff determined eligible for Wild & Scenic River protection by the BLM. These BLM lands have been proposed for National Recreation Area designation in previous sessions of Congress. Flow modifications could also harm the 10,000 acre Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and more than 3,700 acres of State Wildlife Areas along the river between Red Bluff and Colusa. The project will also further reduce fresh water flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, increasing the mortality of the Delta’s endangered fish.
In a brazen and cynical attempt to justify this destructive and expensive project, the Bureau claims that the dam raise and expanded reservoir, which will cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars, will provide needed cold water for endangered salmon spawning downstream of the dam. But according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the benefits to salmon provided by the dam raise are “negligible.” And the Bureau admits in the DEIS that every drop of additional water stored behind the raised dam will be sold to water contractors.
Your email is needed TODAY to convince the Bureau and our Senators that this project should be eliminated from any further consideration. The deadline for public comments is Monday, Sep. 30, 2013
Thank you for soliciting public comments in response to the Bureau’s proposed raise and enlargement of the Shasta Dam and Reservoir.
I oppose raising the dam and enlarging the reservoir, primarily because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the proposal will have “negligible benefits” for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Sacramento River.
In addition, enlarging the reservoir will harm thousands of acres of public land managed for outdoor recreation and for wildlife habitat. The enlarged reservoir will drown segments of the McCloud and upper Sacramento Rivers identified by the U.S. Forest Service as eligible for National Wild & Scenic Rivers. Further, the enlargement will violate state law requiring the protection of the McCloud’s free flowing character and extraordinary wild trout values.
I am also concerned that enlarging the reservoir will further modify flows downstream in the Sacramento River, to the detriment of river’s riparian and aquatic habitats and the many threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species that depend on these habitats. These flow modifications will adversely affect a segment of the Sacramento River upstream of Red Bluff identified by the BLM as eligible for Wild & Scenic protection and that has been proposed for National Recreation Area designation in previous sessions of Congress. It will also harm the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and State Wildlife Areas along the river between Red Bluff and Colusa. The dam raise will increase the risk of endangered fish being killed by state and federal water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The expanded reservoir will destroy and degrade habitat for several sensitive, threatened, and endangered plants and animals, including the Shasta salamander. In addition, the dam raise will require the expensive removal or relocation of dozens of bridges, roads, and other structures, and will likely cost taxpayers more than billion dollars. It will also drown the remaining homeland of Winnemen Wintu Tribe, including traditional cultural sites on the McCloud River still in use today.
To truly benefit fish and other wildlife in and along the Sacramento River, the Bureau should adopt a “no-dam raise” alternative that restores salmon spawning and rearing habitat, improves fish passage, increases minimum flows, screens existing water diversions, and modifies the current operation of the reservoir to increase cold water storage for fisheries, as recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Of course, this would require the Bureau to modify existing water contracts.
The proposed raise and enlargement of Shasta Dam and Reservoir will benefit water contractors more than it does endangered fish, public trust values, or U.S. taxpayers. Please discontinue this unwise project and take steps immediately to better operate the dam to benefit fish and the public lands and sensitive ecosystems along the Sacramento River.
You've heard of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," as a process used to extract gas and oil from rock on the East Coast. Fracking also happens in California and oil and gas companies are hoping to frack even more; however, fracking has been connected to a range of public health and environmental impacts.
Join us for a March 29th webinar as we provide an overview of oil and gas extraction in California, discuss fracking and its impacts on public health and the environment, and lay out the various regulatory and legislative efforts underway to address the quickly expanding use of fracking in California.
Fracking in California: Oil company efforts to gag doctors and public health researchers about its impactsFriday, March 29, 2013
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM PDT
We'll focus on the regulatory and legislative efforts to keep the startling list of chemicals injected into the environment during fracking secret from the public, to require doctors and other health professionals sign a confidentiality agreement before being able to access information about chemicals to which a patient has been exposed, and to prohibit gathering data about impacts of exposure to those chemicals.
At the end of this hour, we hope you'll be ready to work to ensure that protection of public health is front and center in the discussion of fracking, chemical policy, and stopping gag rules on doctors. Space is limited, so please register today!
Contact Angela Johnson Meszaros at PSR-LA to discover other opportunities for engaging in our efforts to ensure that fracking does not threaten public health. Angela can be reached via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 213-689-9170.