On 30 September 2013, CSPA and the Environmental Water Caucus submitted voluminous comments on the major inadequacies of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed raising of Shasta Dam. Shasta Dam captures water from the Upper Sacramento, McCloud and Pit rivers and is the largest reservoir in the state. It supplies water to the federal Central Valley Project.
The Bureau of Reclamation is considering an up to 18.5-foot raise of the dam, which they claim will improve conditions for Sacramento River fisheries. However, all of the project’s firm yield of 133,000 acre-feet of water will be sold to the federal water contractors and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has concluded that the dam raise will provide no benefit for salmon 90% of the time. The project will cost 1.1 billion dollars with the public being responsible for more that 60% of the costs.
Among the numerous identified significant and unavoidable impacts is the drowning of native American cultural and sacred sites, elimination of thousands of acres of the Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area and Wild and Scenic Rivers, permanent loss of habitat for numerous special status wildlife species, modification of flows in the lower Sacramento River and impacts to the river’s riparian ecosystem, reduction of fresh water flows through the Delta, decreased hydropower production and increase in greenhouse gases and global warming.
The Bureau’s previous study of the Shasta Dam raise was shelved when voters reject the proposed Peripheral Canal in 1982. The dam raise was revived with the resurrection of the canal as the BDCP’s Delta tunnels.