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FOR Logo Friends of the River
 The voice of California's rivers



To learn more about this section of river:

Opponents of EBMUD’s Proposed Pardee Reservoir Expansion And Those Who Have Expressed Concerns:

Local Governments/Agencies/Elected Officials
 Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River)
 Assemblymember Alyson Huber (D-Lodi)
 County of Amador
 City of Richmond
 City of Berkeley
 City of Jackson
 City of Ione
 City of Plymouth
 City of Sutter Creek
 Amador Water Agency
 Amador County Recreation Agency
 U.S. Bureau of Land Management
 National Marine Fisheries Service
 U.S. Forest Service
 Former EBMUD Director and Oakland City Councilman Danny Wan

Conservation, Fishing, Political Groups, and Other NGOs
 California Democratic Party
 Amador County Historical Society
 Planning and Conservation League
 Richmond Progressive Alliance
 North Richmond Shoreline Alliance
 Alameda Creek Alliance
 California Native Plant Society, East Bay Chapter
 Community Action Project
 Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
 California Trout
 Northern California Council of Federation of Fly Fishers
 Golden West Women Flyfishers
 Tracy Flyfishers
 Tri-Valley Flyfishers
 Trout Unlimited
 American Whitewater
 California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
 Friends of the River
 California Oaks Foundation
 Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment
 Center for Biological Diversity
 Sierra Nevada Alliance
 Sierra Club California
 Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter
 Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter
 Sierra Club Tuolumne Group
 Loma Prieta Paddlers
 Foothill Conservancy

 OARS: Outdoor Adventure River Specialists
 California Canoe & Kayak
 Sierra Nevada Adventure Company
 The Foxes Inn, Sutter Creek

And hundreds of individuals who love the Mokelumne River!

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Pardee Dam Raise

Steve EvansBy Steve Evans

Update, November 24 2009: 

Friends of the River, Foothill Conservancy, and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance have filed a lawsuit in state court challenging a utility’s plan to expand Pardee Reservoir and drown more than a mile of the Mokelumne River. The lawsuit questions the adequacy of the environmental review for East Bay Municipal Utility District’s (EBMUD) Water Supply Management Plan (WSMP) 2040. The plan proposes to build a new Pardee Dam, which would back the existing reservoir up beyond the current Highway 49 bridge.

“The Mokelumne River is not the property of EBMUD, and they are not above the law,” Foothill Conservancy Executive Director Chris Wright said in announcing the litigation. “Their program EIR doesn’t comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, but EBMUD approved it anyway—just like they kept the reservoir expansion in their plan over the objections of so many people, organizations, agencies, elected officials and local governments.”

All three organizations submitted detailed comments on the draft plan and environmental impact report (EIR) for the project. Hundreds of people testified at EBMUD meetings, urging the Bay Area-based utility to drop its ill-advised plan to drown yet more of the already multi-dammed Sierra foothill river. But EBMUD approved its plan and final programmatic EIR last month, which gave the conservation groups no choice but to challenge it in court.

The lawsuit details multiple violations of the California Environmental Quality Act. EBMUD failed to address the significant environmental impacts of the plan's proposed reservoir expansion and propose adequate mitigation of impacts. The utility also provided an inadequate description of the river's outstanding natural and cultural values at risk, ignored extensive public and agency comments, and made findings not supported by the record.


The Pardee expansion would flood a portion of the Mokelumne River recommended for National Wild & Scenic River protection by the Bureau of Land Management. It would drown existing and proposed public river recreation access sites at the Middle Bar and Highway 49 bridges. Sensitive Native American cultural values and historic Gold Rush sites would also be destroyed.

Proposed expansion of the Lower Bear Reservoir upstream could affect flows improvements in the river for fish, wildlife, and recreation, which conservation groups won from the federal relicensing of PG&E’s Mokelumne hydroelectric project. In addition, capturing more water behind enlarged dams on the Mokelumne will further reduce fresh water flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which would harm endangered fish and water quality.

The lawsuit was filed in State Superior Court in Amador County by attorneys Michael Graff and Thomas Infusino, representing the plaintiffs. It asks the court to set aside EMBUD’s plan and prohibit the utility from any activity implementing the plan until it conforms with state law. Click here for a copy of the lawsuit.

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