Water Flows Again Through the Auburn Dam Site
When Auburn Dam was under construction in the early 1970s, the North Fork was blocked with a temporary dam made of dirt and gravel and the river’s flow was diverted through a tunnel. The dry river bed was then extensively reworked to create the foundation for the dam. But escalating costs, Reagan-era cost-sharing reforms, concerns about earthquake safety, and public opposition eventually sidelined the dam proposal and the temporary dam blew out in the 1986 flood. But continued use of the tunnel and a large gravel berm allowed PCWA to divert water from the river and bypass the dam site segment.
Today, the permanent pumps are in place, the physical channel has been restored, and water now flows through the formerly dry riverbed. Where there once was a dam site, there is now river. In the next few months, the Bureau will close the tunnel and complete interim public access facilities (a river take out and parking area). Over time, the channel will naturally re-vegetate. A public ceremony to celebrate the North Fork’s restoration is planned for next spring. Because construction activities continue, daily public access will not be allowed to the river segment until at least January 2008.
For more information concerning the North Fork Restoration Project, please contact Ron Stork at (916) 442-3155, x220, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.