Winnemem Wintu Action Alert: Comments on Shasta Dam raise proposal due on Monday, January 14!

From EGN Contributor Dan Bacher |  

Westlands Water District has begun their effort to raise Shasta Dam and flood most of what is left of the Winnemem Wintu's sacred sites on the McCloud River in northern California. This is a wasteful, expensive, unnecessary, destructive and illegal boondoggle opposed by the California Legislature and leadership. Raising Shasta Dam would do irreparable environmental damage and harm the Winnemem culture.

Westlands Water District has begun the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) process and is seeking comments on the scope of the EIR document.

What You Can Do To Help

Please email comments to: 

or snail mail written comments to:  
Shasta Dam Raise Project
c/o: Stantec
3301 C Street, Suite 1900
Sacramento, CA 95816

Deadline for email delivery or postmark is Monday, January 14, 2019 (email by 11:59 am)

Here are the environmental documents:

Here are some more talking points about the dam raise:

Here is a draft letter you can copy and paste into your email or letter:

To: Shasta Dam Project --
Subject: Comments on Scope of EIR for Proposed Shasta Dam Raise

Westlands Water District:

I would like to express my concern about the proposal to enlarge Shasta Dam and Reservoir. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the dam raise would cost more than $1.3 billion but would increase California's surface water supply by no more than 1%.

Tribal and environmental groups have expressed concern over the cultural and ecological impacts of the dam raise. This proposal is wasteful, expensive and destructive.

I urge you to address the following issues in your EIR. Please notify me when the draft EIR is available for public review.

Winnemem Wintu cultural sites along the McCloud River will be submerged by increasing the level of the reservoir.

* The EIR should provide an in-depth look at how the dam has already affected and harmed the Winnemem people, burials, culture, archaeological and ceremonial sites. It should also address the potential impacts on all remaining tribal cultural resources and sacred sites if the dam is raised.

Before the era of the dam, Chinook Salmon born in the McCloud River migrated to the ocean and returned to spawn and die in their home waters. The ceremonial cycle of the Winnemem is tied to seasonal salmon runs. When Shasta Dam was built, no plan was made for fish passage around the dam. Salmon began to die off.

Raising Shasta Dam is likely to threaten or endanger species listed under California and federal Endangered Species Acts, including Sacramento River winter-run Chinook Salmon and Sacramento River spring-run Chinook.

* The EIR should include a broad biological study of endangered salmon, factors that have harmed habitat and warmed the waters of the Sacramento River, the cost and need for a salmon bypass swimway around Shasta Dam, and cost analysis and a feasibility study to build a swimway to get salmon to the McCloud River.

* The EIR should study and map how an 18.5 foot dam raise will flood the free-flowing McCloud River above McCloud River Bridge. The study and maps should include all documented and known Winnemem archaeological and sacred sites that would be affected by increasing the level of the reservoir.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I also urge you to take into consideration the submissions of the Sacramento River Council, Friends of the River and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

Thank you.


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