Activism in Action

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) uses the Wild & Scenic Film Festival as a platform for engagement on our advocacy work.  At the 2018 festival, we spoke to attendees about the controversial plan to build Centennial Dam on the Bear River.  If built, this 275-foot dam would flood the last six miles of publicly-accessible, free-flowing river on the Bear. It would destroy fish and wildlife habitat, beloved swimming holes, and Native American sites. Centennial’s construction would decimate 2,200 acres of forested river canyon – including riparian and wetland areas. [click here to read more about this project]

Nevada Irrigation District (NID) has submitted a proposal to the California Water Commission for $11.95 million. It’s a paltry request for this colossal project. Still, NID is pushing the unsubstantiated idea among state officials that Centennial creates additional habitat and recreational opportunities.

The action SYRCL organized for festival attendees specifically asked for them to sign onto a letter to the California Water Commission asking them to deny NID’s request for $11.95 million for Centennial Dam because the project would destroy too much and NID fails to prove it adds any net public benefits.

We had to let state decision-makers know that Centennial Dam is a financial boondoggle that would sacrifice too much for our community and the Bear River.

Well, we’re thrilled to report that we collected more than 3,000 letters requesting the Commission deny the Nevada Irrigation District’s (NID) request for Water Storage Investment Program Proposition 1 funding for Centennial Dam, and we submitted each and every one to them on January 31.

We’re proud that our community is united in recognizing that more public benefits would be lost through the construction of Centennial Dam and Reservoir than created. The real recreational and cultural experiences, as well as riverine and wetland ecosystems that are currently enjoyed by thousands in Placer and Nevada Counties on the Bear River, cannot be improved by another reservoir. In fact, the environmental damage Centennial would cause far outstrips the expensive recreation facilities NID would provide.

What an example of activism in action!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  Want to stay informed on this issue?  Sign up to be a Dam Watchdog.