Coastal Conservancy Releases Funds For San Clemente Dam Removal
Last week, the California State Coastal Conservancy voted to authorize a grant award of up to $32 million of public funding to California American Water (CAW) for implementation of the San Clemente Dam Removal Project in Monterey County, CA.
CAW plans to remove the 106-foot-high concrete-arch San Clemente Dam by the end of September 2012.
The $83 million project will help restore to health the Carmel River, which historically supported a thriving steelhead run, and will help to safeguard downstream communities along California’s central coast that are currently at risk if the dam fails. As part of the partnership agreement, CAW will also donate over 900 acres of land adjacent to the Ventana Wilderness area in the Carmel Valley.
The project will provide magnificent environmental benefits, including the removal of a significant barrier to the migration of steelhead trout to upstream spawning areas, as well as the protection of critical wildlife habitat for species like the federally threatened California red-legged frog. The plan to demolish the aging dam also has support from the community as the best response to resolve earthquake safety issues determined by the state’s Division of Safety of Dams.
This removal of the San Clemente Dam will be the largest dam removal project in California. This project is moving forward because of an innovative public-private partnership between CAW and the State Coastal Conservancy, with the support of the National Marine Fisheries Service and more than two dozen regional, state and national conservation groups, elected officials and regulatory partners. The PCL Foundation has played a critical role in helping foster this partnership between local, state and federal agencies, environmental groups and businesses since the project’s inception.
Green Roots, August 8, 2012
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