Shasta Dam Raise and Salmon Re-introduction

Protecting a Legacy

UPDATE March 15, 2018

The possibility of raising Shasta Dam is back on the table.

Congressional Republicans, with the encouragement of Westlands Water District, are pushing a plan that would undercut California’s ability to control its own water future. Congress is considering a rider to an omnibus funding bill that would make it possible for the federal government to make a unilateral move to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, effectively cutting California out of the decision-making process.

In 2013, the Bureau of Reclamation conducted a feasibility study for raising Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet to increase water storage capacity by more than 10 percent. Shasta Dam and Reservoir is the cornerstone of the Central Valley Project, which provides irrigation and drinking water for much of California’s Central Valley and parts of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Ultimately, BOR recommended against raising the dam in part because of the requirement that non-federal partners must pay for half the estimated $1.3 billion cost.

What’s going on now?
Fast-forward five years and Westlands Water District has quietly been ushering through a proposal for authorizing construction of expanding Shasta Dam. It’s now at an advanced Federal planning stage. Not surprisingly, the Trump Administration favors the project, which is unsettling given the close ties between powerful people in Washington and the water interests that would benefit from the dam expansion (e.g., Westlands Water District). Congress is considering adding a rider to a bill that would eliminate cost-sharing requirements with California, but then the cost gets put on federal taxpayers.

Under California law, this is an illegal project. The Trump administration would have to abrogate a century of federal deference to state laws on California water to go ahead with this.”
-Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael)

We need your voice. Click here to send a letter to your representative in opposition of raising Shasta Dam.

Project Goals

  • Protect the world-famous McCloud River from plans to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, which would inundate over three miles of the Upper Sac and lower McCloud Rivers.
  • Inform policy and management decisions associated with salmon re-introduction discussion.
  • Protect existing state law declaring that the McCloud River possesses extraordinary fishery resources and that existing natural and free-flowing conditions are the highest and most beneficial use of the water.

CalTrout has established and disseminated policy positions on Shasta Dam raise, the feasibility of “trap and haul” method of salmonid re-introduction, and the McCloud-Pit FERC hydroelectric re-licensing project.

We will continue to keep state and federal decision-makers informed of our positions and engage our constituents to speak up on behalf of the Wild and Scenic waters of the McCloud.

In addition, we’ll work to present cost-effective and feasible alternatives to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) addressing Central Valley winter and spring-run Chinook salmonid recovery. Our projects in the Central Valley exemplify that more cost-effective restoration and water management efforts can be implemented that benefit both fish and people.

Watch Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) question Interior Secretary Zinke about the legality of raising Shasta Dam.


Mount Shasta / Klamath Region News

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California Trout, Inc.

California Trout, Inc.