Wild & Scenic Mokelumne Update

We Saved the Mokelumne from the Pardee Expansion!
Middle Bar bridge photo
The historic Middle Bar Bridge on the Mokelumne would be below the water level of an expanded Pardee Reservoir
Photo of Middle Bar reach, Mokelumne River
The Mokelumne River east of the Middle Bar Bridge.
Plan to drown the Middle Bar Bridge, Middle Bar reach and part of the Mokelumne Electra Run has now been dropped from East Bay water plan!

On Tuesday, April 24, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors voted 7-0 to drop the Pardee expansion from the district's 2040 water plan. See the brief news item here.

April 2012:The East Bay Municipal Utility District has issued the Revised Final EIR for Water Supply Management Program 2040. You can download this "response to comments" on the draft revised EIR from the EBMUD website.. EBMUD's board will consider certifying the final EIR and adopting the revised WSMP 2040, without the Pardee expansion, on the afternoon of April 24. The meeting begins at 1:15 pm. For more information, see EBMUD's website..

March 27, 2012: East Bay Municipal Utility District on track to drop Pardee expansion from 2040 water plan At the EBMUD board of directors workshop March 27, the staff introduced changes to the utility's 2040 water plan, with positive comments from the EBMUD board. That means EBMUD is now on track to drop the Pardee expansion from its 2040 water plan and substitute a partnership with the Contra Costa Water District on the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the East Bay. Los Vaqueros is an offstream reservoir with a very positive environmental record and the expansion is already underway.

It's not too late to comment on EBMUD's revised draft EIR to support EBMUD's announcement that the Pardee expansion should not be included in the utility's long-range water plan. EBMUD deserves credit for finding water solutions that will not destroy more of the Mokelumne River.

While comments were due by January 27, you can still submit a comment.

Send written, e-mail or fax comments to the addresses below.

Big news! December 2011: EBMUD announced on December 5 that it is not going to include the expansion of Pardee Reservoir in its 2040 water plan! The next day, it released the related, revised project EIR. Thanks are due to EBMUD for taking this wise step and to everyone who has helped work to protect the Mokelumne. We need to keep at it through the EIR process. EBMUD should vote on the plan revision and EIR in March.

Public hearings on the EIR will be held in Jackson, San Andreas and Oakland in January 2012. Please come and urge EBMUD to follow the staff recommendation. If you can't come, send e-mail or snail mail comments to the addresses below.

The deadline to comment on the revised EIR is January 27.

Update, Fall 2011: EBMUD has held scoping sessions for the do-over of its water plan EIR. Opposition remains very strong in the foothills and statewide, and agencies from CalTrans to the National Marine Fisheries Service have serious concerns. See EBMUD's scoping report, online.

EBMUD's board heard a report from staff on the update at a workshop on September 27.

You may submit written comments on the plan anytime. E-mail them to WSMP.comments@ebmud.com, fax to 510-287-1295, or mail to:

    WSMP Comments
    c/o Tom Francis
    Water Supply Improvements Division
    East Bay Municipal Utility District
    375 11th Street, MS 407
    Oakland, CA 94607

EBMUD notice of new EIR preparation

May 24, 2011: East Bay MUD has announced that it will not appeal the judge's decision. New EBMUD public meetings and hearings should begin this summer.

April 11, 2011: We received the ruling in our lawsuit against EBMUD yesterday -- and we won! Read about it here.

In November 2009,Foothill Conservancy, California Sportfishing Alliance and Friends of the River filed suit to stop the Pardee expansion and overturn the EBMUD decision described below. See more here.

In March 2010, EBMUD filed a motion to move the case from Amador County to a "neutral" county. The case has been moved to Sacramento Superior Court.

Want to help? Donate online to help cover our ongoing Pardee costs.

The EBMUD plan

The East Bay Municipal Utility District voted on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, to retain four options for expanding Pardee Reservoir in its 2040 water plan. The board also voted to work with foothill interests to secure National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne River.

We are not happy with the dam decision, which may lead to destruction of more of the river. We will continue to work with the officials, organizations, agencies and busineses that formally opposed the dam expansion (see list below).

Expanding Pardee would:

  • Flood the entire Middle Bar reach of the Mokelumne River, destroying the river for whitewater recreation and stream fishing use.
  • Flood the new whitewater boating take-out/put-in and parking area under construction at the Highway 49 Bridge
  • Flood up to 1,000 feet of the Mokelumne Electra Run east of Highway 49 in high flow periods, leaving a dead-zone bathtub ring the rest of the year.
  • Inundate the historic Middle Bar Bridge, restored by local governments just a few years ago, cutting off a critical emergency route for local residents.
  • Inundate the historic and cultural resources of the Middle Bar area, including a sacred place where the Miwok people gather willow for baskets and cradleboards and teach their children the Miwok language and culture.
  • Destroy the special character of the soon-to-be built Middle Bar section of the Coast to Crest Trail, which for the first time will allow for foot access to the Middle Bar reach of the river for fishing, family outings, etc.
  • Result in eminent domain proceedings against local landowners.
  • Require construction of a new Highway 49 Bridge.

For more information, contact Chris at 209-295-4900 or e-mail him.

View Calaveras Community TV interview with Foothill Conservancy President Katherine Evatt speaking with host Joel Metzger about the Pardee Expansion

Read interview with flyfishing filmmaker Mikey Weir about the Mokelumne and more

More photos of the area

Opponents of the proposed Pardee Reservoir expansion and those who have raised substantive concerns

Local Governments/Agencies/Elected Officials

  • Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River)
  • State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)
  • Assemblywoman Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills)
  • Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
  • Calaveras County Supervisor Steve Wilensky
  • County of Amador
  • Cities of Richmond, Berkeley, Jackson, Ione, Plymouth and Sutter Creek
  • Amador Water Agency
  • Amador County Recreation Agency
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Former EBMUD Director and Oakland City Councilman Danny Wan
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • U.S. Forest Service

Conservation, Fishing, Political Groups, and Other NGOs

  • California Democratic Party
  • Amador County Historical Society
  • Planning and Conservation League
  • Richmond Progressive Alliance
  • North Richmond Shoreline Alliance
  • Alameda Creek Alliance
  • California Native Plant Society, East Bay Chapter
  • Community Action Project
  • Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center>
  • CalTrout
  • Northern California Council of Federation of Fly Fishers
  • Golden West Women Flyfishers
  • Tracy Flyfishers
  • Tri-Valley Flyfishers
  • Trout Unlimited
  • American Whitewater
  • California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
  • Friends of the River
  • California Oaks Foundation
  • Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Sierra Nevada Alliance
  • Sierra Club California
  • Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter
  • Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter
  • Sierra Club Tuolumne Group
  • Loma Prieta Paddlers
  • Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Council
  • Foothill Conservancy


  • PG&E
  • California Canoe and Kayak
  • The Foxes Inn, Sutter Creek
  • OARS: Outdoor Adventure River Specialists
  • All-Outdoors River Company
  • Sierra Nevada Adventure Company

And countless individuals who love the Mokelumne River!

This rapid on the Mokelumne, below Highway 49, would be destroyed if Pardee Reservoir is expanded.

EBMUD Wild and Scenic briefing paper, Spring 2010 EBMUD's current view of Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne, Spring 2010 (very large PDF file 10+ MB)
THE FOOTHILL CONSERVANCY  |  35 Court Street, Suite 1   Jackson, CA  95642  |  209-223-3508