Part Of Merced River Off The Scenic List?
Tuolumne County, CA -- District Four Congressman Tom McClintock has introduced a bill that would remove the wild and scenic designation on a small section of the Merced River to raise the storage capacity of Lake McClure. River advocates vow to fight this proposal saying they don't want to set a precedent of reversing environmental protections.
McClintock's office says the Merced Irrigation District is proposing to raise the spillway by 10 feet, which would allow for the storage of up to 70,000 additional acre-feet of water in a wet year. They say the District is currently unable to apply to raise the spillway because it would cause temporary increases in the levels of approximately 1,800 feet of the Merced River where it joins Lake McClure. The Merced Wild and Scenic designation prohibits the increase in water levels.
Congressman McClintock says, "At a time when California is suffering increasingly scarce water supplies and paying among the highest electricity prices in the nation, this legislation will allow for both increased water storage and additional hydropower generation. The benefits of a minor adjustment to the boundary rescue this desperately needed resource from truly outrageous bureaucratic red tape."
McClintock's Office says the bill HR934 would enhance groundwater storage, provide incidental flood control benefits and the additional water could generate enough hydropower per year to serve 1,700 homes.
Written by Tracey Petersen
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