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 The voice of California's rivers

Thank State Senator Hancock for introducing SB 1199

moke bEmail Senator Hancock TODAY Thanking Her For Introducing The Mokelumne Wild & Scenic River Bill!

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A bill to protect 37 miles of the Mokelumne River as a California State Wild & Scenic River has been introduced in the California Legislature. River lovers now have the opportunity to secure permanent protection for this magnificent river in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors recently adopted by unanimous vote a resolution asking their local state legislators to protect this magnificent river. When the local legislators failed to respond, Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) stepped in at the request of the bill’s sponsors, Friends of the River and the Foothill Conservancy, and introduced S.B. 1199, a bill to add the Mokelumne to the State Wild & Scenic Rivers system.

Wild & Scenic protection for the Mokelumne River is widely supported by local tourism bureaus and businesses in the Sierra foothills, as well as by more than 35 local, statewide, and national conservation groups. But anti-environmental elements are now organizing against the bill. The Amador County Board of Supervisors recently voted to oppose S.B. 1199 (the Mokelumne River is the boundary between Calaveras and Amador Counties) and right-wing Republicans in the Legislature are vowing to carry out a political war against the bill.

Senator Hancock introduced S.B. 1199 because the Mokelumne River supplies clean drinking water to more than 1.4 million people in the East Bay, many of them her constituents. S.B. 1199 will preserve the quality of the Mokelumne’s drinking water and permanently protect the river’s free flowing character and extraordinary scenic, recreational, historical, and cultural values.

Constituents of Senator Hancock (residents of Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, and other East Bay cities) should thank her for introducing S.B. 1199 and urge her to expedite passage of the bill to protect the Mokelumne as a Wild & Scenic River.


moke cBackground

The Mokelumne River flows from the crest of the Sierra Nevada westward through the Sierra foothills, into the Central Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The river is renowned for its classic Sierra scenery, including spectacular granite domes and cliffs in the higher elevations and mature pine, fir, and oak forests in the lower elevations. The Mokelumne is rich in both Gold Rush history and Native American cultural values, and its high water quality is renowned. The river is also a popular recreation destination for local families, who play along the river, fish and swim in its waters, and picnic and camp along its banks. The river also offers a wide range of whitewater recreation, from fearsome class IV rapids to class II training runs for novice kayakers. Tourists who visit the river provide a significant boost to the local rural economy, which is why many local tourism oriented businesses in Amador and Calaveras Counties support protection of the river.

The Mokelumne is a hard working river, with a number of dams that supply drinking water to 1.4 million East Bay residents, hydroelectric power to more than 200,000 homes, and irrigation water for Central Valley farms. But the Mokelumne has been threatened by additional dam projects that would flood its few remaining free flowing segments. The federal government rejected the Devils Nose Dam proposed on the Mokelumne in the 1990s because of questionable need and poor economics.

Moke aMore recently, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), which already operates the two largest dams and reservoirs on the river, proposed expansion of Pardee Reservoir, which would have flooded the lower segment of the river around Highway 49. This misguided project was ultimately defeated in court by a lawsuit filed by the Foothill Conservancy, Friends of the River, and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.  And just this week in what can only be described as a vitriolic reaction to S.B. 1199, the Amador Water Agency proposed to resurrect another dam project on the river.

Passage of S.B. 1199 would ensure that the free flowing segments of the Mokelumne and the river’s extraordinary scenic, recreation, water quality, historical, and cultural values are protected. Adding the river to the California Wild & Scenic Rivers System will not affect the operation of EBMUD’s or PG&E’s existing hydroelectric and water supply dams on the river, nor will it affect the water and property rights of the local counties. But it will ensure that the river is protected in perpetuity for present and future generations.

S.B. 1199 will be heard before the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee in the State Capitol on April 29. As a constituent of Senator Hancock’s and as an EBMUD ratepayer, please send your email today thanking the Senator for introducing S.B. 1199 and urging her to secure swift passage of this important bill through the State Legislature.

For more information, contact Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic Rivers Consultant for Friends of the River, phone: (916) 442-3155 x221, email:


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Thank you for introducing S.B. 1199 to protect the Mokelumne as a California State Wild & Scenic River

Dear [Decision Maker],

Thank you for introducing S.B. 1199, the bill to protect the Mokelumne as a California Wild & Scenic River. As a constituent, I strongly support passage of this important bill to protect the high quality of our drinking water and the free flowing character and extraordinary scenic, recreation, historical, and cultural values of the Mokelumne River.

Protecting 37 miles of the Mokelumne as a California Wild & Scenic River will enhance the rural economies of Amador and Calaveras Counties by providing for family recreation, boosting tourism, and ensuring that this locally beloved river is permanently protected for present and future generations.

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ask the Legislature to protect the Mokelumne as a State Wild & Scenic River. State protection of the river is also supported by the Calaveras Visitors Bureau, Destination Angels Camp, more than 140 small businesses, many local elected officials, more than 35 conservation and community groups, and more than 12,000 individuals (many of them local residents).

The Mokelumne is already a hard working river, with several dams and diversions providing high quality drinking water for more than 1.4 million people, irrigation water for Central Valley farms, and power for more than 200,000 homes. The river continues to provide these vital services during the current drought. The last federal study of a proposed dam on the Mokelumne found the project to be uneconomical. Local agencies with domestic water rights to Mokelumne River will still be able to access these rights upstream and downstream of the protected segment and on its many tributaries.

State protection ensures that the river remains open for a wide variety of recreation and traditional uses, thereby benefitting foothill communities and economies, local residents, and Native Americans, as well as fish and wildlife. State protection will not affect the delivery of water and power from the Mokelumne River to local, Central Valley, and EBMUD ratepayers and PG&E customers.

Thank you again for introducing S.B. 1199. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help expedite passage of S.B. 1199 through the California Legislature.

cc: Lynelle M. Lewis, EBMUD Secretary via email

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