The last issue of Focus featured information on the landmark relicensing settlement agreement for PG&E’s local Mokelumne River Project (Project 137). The settlement balances continued hydropower generation with environmental protection and public recreation facilities and opportunities. It also provides for the monitoring and adjustment of environmental protection measures and recreational opportunities over the term of the license.
The settlement has received a great deal of local and regional acclaim, as described in the following stories. For more detail on the settlement itself, see our last newsletter at http://www.foothillconservancy.org, or call Pete Bell at 296-5734.
Mokelumne River Day in Volcano
On Saturday, September 18, Mokelumne River Day was held in the Volcano Community Park to honor those who developed the Mokelumne River Project 137 relicensing settlement. Local residents enjoyed picnic suppers and listened to great local musicians celebrate the Mokelumne River and those who are dedicated to it.
Amador County Supervisor Richard Vinson gave a brief congratulatory speech to representatives of the groups who signed the settlement agreement. Participants in the afternoon event included representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, PG&E, and Foothill Conservancy.
We’d like to thank Ruth, Adam, and Meg Gottstein of Volcano who produced the event, all of the wonderful musicians who shared their talents, and the Volcano Community Association for use of the lovely town park.
The landmark, thirty-year Mokelumne Relicensing Settlement Agreement for the operation of the Mokelumne River Project was signed last July after a year-long collaborative effort between representatives of several environmental groups, state and federal resource agencies and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. In December, the settlement received the prestigious POWER Award at the 10th Annual California Water Policy Conference in Los Angeles. The award and conference were sponsored by Public Officials for Water and Environmental Reform (POWER).
The POWER Award "honors those individuals, public and nonprofit agencies, and private companies who have integrated science, technology, economics, community, efficiency, and/or ecosystem restoration; that have learned from the past what works and what doesn’t; and that are implementing a integrated program that serves as a model to others."
Representatives from the Foothill Conservancy, California Hydropower Reform Coalition, and PG&E accepted the award on behalf of the parties to the settlement, which also include American Whitewater, California Department of Boating and Waterways, California Department of Fish and Game, Friends of the River, Natural Heritage Institute, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.
Peter H. Behr Award
On Friday, February 23, Foothill Conservancy Vice President Pete Bell received Friends of the River’s annual Peter H. Behr Award in a ceremony in San Francisco. The award is given to "an outstanding individual, organization, or agency distinguished for making a lasting contribution to river protection or environmental water policy." Bell received the award for his and the Conservancy’s work since 1989 in protecting and restoring the Mokelumne River, from stopping the Devil’s Nose Dam project to the recent Project 137 hydroelectric relicensing settlement (see last issue of Focus).
In announcing the award, Friends of the River Executive Director Betsy Reifsnider said, "I can’t think of anyone who deserves the Peter H. Behr Award more than Pete Bell and the Foothill Conservancy. They are carrying on Senator Behr’s legacy that ours is a government of the people and by the people, and that we have a right and a duty to get involved."
Peter Behr was a state senator from Marin County known as the father of the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. He championed environmental causes, including the fight to save the Stanislaus River from the New Melones Dam. Past recipients of the Peter H. Behr Award are longtime conservationist Martin Litton, noted river advocate Mark Dubois, and Senator Barbara Boxer.
"I’m truly honored to be selected for the Peter H. Behr Award," said Bell. "It is testimony to the hard work of Foothill Conservancy members and supporters in protecting and restoring the Mokelumne River."