Monday, January 13, 2020

What's Wrong With This Picture (Part 2)? The Problem of a Dam in Del Puerto

Actually, nothing is wrong with this picture, or any of the others in this post. Not yet...
These are pictures of the lower portion of Del Puerto Canyon, the parts that will be inundated if plans to build a dam are successful. There are viable options to this dam that will not destroy a popular and scientifically significant canyon in the Diablo Range of California's Coast Ranges. It is the only publicly accessible canyon in the range within Stanislaus County.
The canyon is a treasure for many reasons. Geologically, it is the source of a huge amount of research into the geologic history of Central California. Driving up the canyon is the equivalent of driving from the Earth's surface through 25,000 feet of oceanic sediment, another five miles of oceanic crust, and into the mantle, the Earth's layer that reaches all the way to the outer core. California's first dinosaur discovery was in the lower canyon, and other paleontological discoveries have been made nearby. The canyon has a unique mining history: mercury, chromite, magnesite, and others have been found in the upper canyon.
The canyon is a wonderful outdoor laboratory for botanists and zoologists. More than 160 bird species have been found here, making Del Puerto the third most diverse bird habitat in the entire county, exceeded only by the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, and the Modesto Water Treatment Plant (!). Canyon explorers will see a huge variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. I've seen badgers, bobcats, coyotes, rattlesnakes, king snakes, and all manner of lizards.
The wildflower displays in the canyon can be stunning. The unique soils in different parts of the canyon allow hundreds of flower species to flourish, including some that are found nowhere else in the world. There were few flowers last weekend, but come spring the slopes will be awash in color.

There are archaeological sites in the canyon of the occupation by the Yokuts and earlier cultures. These have barely begun to be understood or explored.
People of the San Joaquin Valley have few places where they can go in the Coast Ranges for recreation, and the building of a dam will remove yet one more access point. Del Puerto Canyon is a treasure for so many reasons, but not the least of which is that the canyon is a nearby place for spiritual recharge, exercise, and personal exploration. These intangibles are hard to put a price tag on, and that's the problem.

There will be many reasons offered as to why this reservoir is SO necessary, and how there will be SO many benefits. But the question needs to be asked, what is this taking away from all of us?

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Read the Environmental Impact Report at this link. If Del Puerto Canyon has significance to you, please respond and be active in the opposition! If you have expertise in any of the areas that will affected, you need to be heard from.

There are several important meetings and deadlines coming up very soon:

1/15 3:30pm Protest. Corner of Ward and Sperry
1/15 4:00pm Public Meeting. Hammon Senior Center 1033 West Las Palmas, Patterson
1/21 6:30pm City Council Meeting. 1 Plaza Circle. - request they take a stand, voice concerns
1/27 5:00pm Public Comments DUE. OR Anthea Hansen PO Box 1596 Patterson CA 95363
1/28 9:00am Board of Supervisors Meeting 1010 10th St Modesto CA - voice concerns, they have final decision

1 comment:

H Jackson said...

What agency is planning to build this?