Hetch Hetchy Dam

This Bee Editorial from last Sunday touches on another dam project we want to comment on.

Several days ago, (January 10th, see post) our organization sent out a Press Release in support of a major new dam on the American River to protect the integrity of the Parkway.

That was the right call at the right time and we are hopeful public leadership, understanding the tragic consequences, not only to the Parkway, but to the entire Sacramento community, continuing to loom over us without the 500+ year protection a major dam will provide, will respond positively.

It is also the right call to come out in strong support of another dam project, only this time, the removal of a major dam.

We are in complete agreement with the removal of the Hetch Hetchy dam, if, as current research seems to indicate, the water supply is not endangered.

The value of natural resources is beyond valuing, and, as will be someday so with our fully-restored-to luster Parkway, the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy valley will be a renewed natural resource beyond value, absolutely priceless.

The editorial from the Bee called for support of further study and we heartily concur in the anticipated positive outcome, the restoration of the fabled Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Here is an excerpt:

“Some time next month, the Schwarzenegger administration is expected to release a preliminary study that examines whether something remarkable could happen in Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley.

“Hetch Hetchy has been submerged since 1923 by a dam that supplies the San Francisco Bay Area. The looming question is whether the Bay Area can find enough water if Hetch Hetchy is drained and restored.

“There is reason to think that the answer will be yes, at a cost greater than environmentalists would like, but much less than the numbers San Francisco officials have been throwing around.

“But at this point, the issue really isn’t this preliminary finding. The issue is whether it will lead California to revisit big decisions made 90 years ago about one of its most beautiful places.

“The question for the public is: What is the highest, best use of this magnificent valley? The answer can come only through a truly definitive study. And that can happen only with the cooperation of the Schwarzenegger and Bush administrations.

“Count us among those whose gut tells them that historic change is in order. In a future California with perhaps 50 million people yearning for natural respites, Hetch Hetchy is more valuable as a meadow surrounded by stunning waterfalls and granite peaks than as a water tank. “

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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