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The bill to protect 37 miles of the Mokelumne River as a California Wild & Scenic River passed a key Senate committee last week on a 7-2 vote.

Introduced by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), S.B. 1199 would permanently protect the Mokelumne and its extraordinary scenic, recreation, historical/cultural, and water quality values. But there are hints that the powerful East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) may take a position next week to oppose the bill and we need your help to convince EBMUD to either support the bill or take a neutral position.

EBMUD owns and operates two large dams on the Mokelumne and sells the water stored behind the dams to residents of Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, San Leandro, and other cities in the East Bay. In response to a lawsuit two years ago, EBMUD removed from its long-term water plan a proposal to expand its existing Pardee Reservoir, which would have flooded a portion of the river proposed for protection in S.B. 1199. This segment includes two whitewater boating recreation access sites, the historic Middle Bar Bridge, and numerous Gold Rush era historical sites and Native American cultural values.

Some members of the elected seven-member EBMUD Board would still like to expand Pardee Reservoir and flood the river. This would not be allowed if S.B. 1199 passed the Legislature. The EBMUD Board is scheduled to consider its potential position on S.B. 1199 next week, on Tuesday, May 13 at 1 PM.

We need residents of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties who are EBMUD ratepayers to attend the meeting and urge the EBMUD Board to support S.B. 1199. Wild & Scenic protection of the Mokelumne will preserve the river’s extraordinary water quality (which benefits EBMUD ratepayers who rely on clean a Mokelumne drinking water) and other natural and cultural values. Please plan on attending the EBMUD meeting and speaking out to protect the Mokelumne River!

When: Tuesday, May 13 at 1 PM
Where: EBMUD Headquarters, 375 11th Street, Oakland, CA.

Be sure to fill out a card before the meeting to indicate that you wish to speak on SB 1199 in favor of protection the Mokelumne River!

Also, please send an email TODAY to the EBMUD Board urging them to support S.B. 1199 and protect the Mokelumne as a Wild & Scenic River. Be sure to note in your email that supporting S.B. 1199 fulfills EBMUD’s mission to provide reliable, high-quality water while preserving and protecting the environment for future generations.

Please send your email TODAY to: board@ebmud.com

For more information, contact Steve Evans, Wild Rivers Consultant, Friends of the River and Foothill Conservancy, phone: (916) 442-3155 x221, email: sevans@friendsoftheriver.org.

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