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NFC: Fw: [Updates] W&S ACTION ALERT -- Wild and Scenic Bill Introduced to Protect the South Yuba River

Robert Rice
Help Preserve our Aquatic Heritage join the NFC

Wild & Scenic Bill Introduced To Protect
The South Yuba River

A bill to add 39 miles of the South Yuba River in the Sierra Nevada to
California Wild & Scenic Rivers System has been introduced in the State
By formally designating the South Yuba a state "Wild & Scenic River", SB
ensures that this scenic and popular recreation river is protected from
threat of new dams. The California Wild & Scenic Rivers System is
to balance the existing policy of developing rivers for their water and
power resources, by protecting other free flowing rivers and their
extraordinary natural values.

The segment of South Yuba River proposed for protection is located
in Nevada County. A proposal to build the 600 foot high Edwards Crossing
on the river by the downstream Yuba County Water Agency prompted the
County Board of Supervisors to ask legislators to introduce the bill.
Protecting the river enjoys wide support in Nevada County, including the
support of river-side landowners threatened by condemnation of their
property if Yuba County pursues dam construction.

The legislators representing Nevada County -- State Senator Tim Leslie
(R-Tahoe City) and Assemblymember Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley) --
to author the bill, soo the county asked other legislative leaders to
the legislation. SB 496 was introduced by Senator Byron Sher (D-Palo
with an unusual number of early co-authors, including Senator Patrick
Johnston (D-Stockton), Senator Deirdre Alpert (D-Coronado),
Howard Wayne (D-San Diego), and Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa
Monica). Conservation sponsors of the bill include the Nevada
South Yuba River Citizens League, the statewide Friends of the River, and
the Sierra Club.

The Yuba County Water Agency and other water development interests are
expected to oppose the bill, despite the fact that several government
agencies and programs have rejected the idea of building a water supply
flood control dam on the South Yuba River, including the CALFED Bay Delta
Program, the California State Water Plan, and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. Yuba County is interested in building a dam on the South Yuba
allegedly for flood control purposes, but there are more economically
feasible and less environmentally destructive flood control alternatives
the Yuba watershed than building a new dam on the South Yuba.

The state system is similar to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System
that new dams are prohibited on designated rivers. However, state
and local governments retain existing authority to manage public
and land use on state designated rivers. Although state rivers can be
to the federal system with the approval of the stateıs Governor and the
Secretary of Interior, these dual-designated rivers remain under state
local control.

If approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor, SB 496 would
the first expansion of the California Wild & Scenic Rivers System in more
than a decade. Protected in the system are various segments, forks, and
tributaries of the Smith, Klamath, Scott, Salmon, Trinity, Eel, Van
American, East Carson, and West Walker rivers. The state system was first
established in 1972.

What You Can Do:

If you are a constituent of Senator Tim Leslie (residents of Nevada,
Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Sierra, Amador, Alpine, Calaveras, Plumas,
and Modoc counties) and/or of Assemblymember Sam Aanestad (residents of
Nevada, Yuba, Butte, Sierra, Plumas, Lassen, and Modoc counties), your
call and letter is essential to convincing these legislators to support
at least not oppose SB 496.

If your state Senator or Assemblymember authored SB 496, please take this
opportunity to thank them for sponsoring the bill to protect the South

All other California residents should write to their State Senator and
Assemblymember and urge them to support SB 496.

All letters should be addressed to State Capitol, CA 95814. State Senator
Leslie's phone number is (916) 445-5788. Assemblymember Aanstadıs phone
number is (916) 319-2003.

If you donıt know the name of your State Senator and Assemblymember, call
the Assembly Clerk's office at (916) 319-2856 or call the Senate Clerkıs
office at (916) 445-4251. You can also find your state legislator on the
at www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. If you require more information
concerning this issue, contact Steve Evans at Friends of the River, (916)
442-3155, ext. 221.

To see this and other American Rivers' Action Alerts online, visit our
webpage at http://www.amrivers.org/hot.html

Suzy McDowell
Outreach Coordinator
American Rivers
1025 Vermont Ave, NW, #720
Washington, DC 20005
202-347-7550 x3040
smcdowell at amrivers_org