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Centennial Dam Watchdogs Rally for the Bear River

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Last week SYRCL, the Foothills Water Network, the Sierra Club and Dam Watchdogs rallied for the Bear River in Sacramento.  Together, we sent the California Water Commission (CWC) a hearty dose of appreciation.

Bear River advocates showed up en masse to express gratitude to the CWC for their open public process and thorough evaluation of Proposition 1 applications, specifically that of Centennial Dam. In early February, SYRCL submitted more than 3,000 letters challenging the recreational and ecosystem benefits claimed by the Nevada Irrigation District. Shortly thereafter, the State’s technical review team came to the same conclusion as that of Dam Watchdogs: Centennial Dam does not provide public benefits and therefore does not meet the necessary eligibility requirements to qualify for public funds.

SYRCL Executive Director, Melinda Booth, and Community Engagement Manager, Jenn Tamo, addressed the CWC during public testimony to extend a sincere thanks to the Commission for their transparent process and in-depth appraisal of the Centennial Dam application. Watch their public comments at 47:49.

Booth said, “To us, it is clear: Centennial would not create a net public benefit because of the environmental, cultural and economic damage the dam would bring to the Bear River. We don’t support spending public dollars on projects that don’t benefit the public and therefore hope this score of zero means this project will not be funded.”

California statute requires Proposition 1 recipients to provide net public benefit such as water quality improvements, flood control benefits, emergency response, recreational purposes, and ecosystem improvements. (Water Code, § 79753, subd. (a).)

The State determined that Centennial Reservoir would not create the benefits claimed by the applicant. In early February, Centennial Dam received a score of zero, which means that for every $1 spent on Centennial, $0 would be returned.

Dam Watchdogs caught the attention of the media, too: Fox 40The Union and KNCO.

SYRCL would like to extend a warm thanks to the Sierra Club for generously donating a shuttle bus. We thank them for making the Bear River Recreation Rally possible!

Bear River Recreation Rally Photo Gallery—Photos by Jess Swigonski



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