The San Clemente Dam removal plan is almost cemented.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The plan to remove San Clemente Dam is flowing again.
On Jan. 11, officials including federal and state agency representatives, U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) and state Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Carmel) signed an agreement with California American Water, commiting to work together on the ambitious project.
The signing cements a November announcement that Cal Am will work to have the 106-foot-high, 89-year-old concrete dam removed and the river re-routed around the accumulated silt.
For those who favor dam removal over the alternative, seismic reinforcement, the commitment is a step forward. In February 2009, Cal Am had announced it would pursue the cheaper buttressing project, reversing an earlier decision to work with state agencies on removal.
Yesterday's collaboration statement does, however, leave some wiggle room. The signatories only commit to "making a good faith effort" on setting the course and – the larger challenge – finding funding sources for the $84 million project.
That puts the dam removal project roughly in the same place it was two years ago: at the beginning of a long and expensive planning pipeline.