Friday, June 11, 2010

Funding Auburn Dam Park

The Sacramento Bee reports about the possibility of the cutback in funding for the national park that was to have been the lake created by Auburn Dam, a water storage lake that would sure be welcomed in this water rich year.

The dam is still officially authorized by Congress, and the revoked water rights can be restored.

An excerpt.

“The federal government says it can no longer afford to maintain Auburn State Recreation Area, the popular park in the footprint of the defunct Auburn dam.

“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been paying $2 million annually to the California Department of Parks and Recreation to operate the 30,000-acre park at the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River....

“The prospect for significant financial help, however, may be dim. The state parks department last year curtailed hours and programs systemwide due to budget cuts, and it is struggling to avoid deeper cuts this year.

"The fiscal crisis we have makes it very difficult for us to even put that on the table," said Scott Nakaji, state parks district superintendent.

"We don't control the destiny of the lands, but we think it has so much value to the people of California that we want to be part of that," Nakaji added.

“When asked whether there is a risk the area could cease to be a state park, Nakaji said, "We're preparing for anything, but it's so uncertain."

“Lucero emphasized Reclamation is not abandoning the property. Officially, an Auburn dam remains a congressionally authorized water project, so the federal government still has significant responsibilities in the canyons.

“He also said the move was not prompted by the 2008 decision by the California Water Resources Control Board to revoke water rights associated with Auburn dam. While the decision effectively killed the dam, it had already been stalled for decades amid environmental, political and cost concerns.”