Congressman LaMalfa addresses concerns over raising of Shasta Dam

Jul 21, 2014 8:53 PM by Charlene Cheng

An investigation into raising the Shasta Dam has been ten years in the making, and as the Bureau of Reclamation's proposal goes forward, concerns and questions are being raised from the community.

"It isn't just as easy as raising it and everybody's happy. There's impacts here to the local community around the lake with the resorts, private property, marinas, and all that," said Congressman Doug LaMalfa.

He called a meeting to address these impacts.

Matthew Doyle represents 22 businesses that would be affected.

He says that they don't oppose the project, but the conditions need to be right.

"The first is making sure recreation, which currently right now is a multi-million byproduct, to make sure that we have some sort of legislation that makes that a primary purpose of Shasta Lake. The second one is, for the businesses on the lake, when this program goes through, we want to make sure there's not one penny lost," said Doyle.

For a local Native American tribe, the culture of it's people is at stake.

"We still tolerate waiting for the lake to be drawn down to come off of our dance grounds. If it's raised, we're not sure we'll see those sacred sites again, and what does that mean to a people?" asked Caleen Sisk, chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

On the other side of this issue is the dam's potential for water storage.

Federal engineers estimate that raising the dam by 18.5 feet can increase the capacity by 13%.

Congressman LaMalfa says that this possibility is too important to ignore.

"The state's in a historic drought situation right now, so we need to look at all the options, see what's right for the people, if it's bad, then we don't do it," he said.

A finished proposal is estimated to be in front of Congress at the beginning of next year.


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