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Placer County supes oppose Garden Bar dam on Bear River

By: Journal Staff Report
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Placer County supervisors have added their clout to opposition against a possible Garden Bar dam in the Bear River canyon north of Auburn. The board voted unanimously Tuesday to send a letter of opposition to the South Sutter Water District, which is exploring the possibility of a new reservoir with a storage capacity of up to 400,000-acre-feet. The Placer County Fish & Game Commission approved a similar letter in October, protesting what is now a concept to move forward on a reservoir between Highway 49 and Camp Far West Reservoir. The South Sutter idea has gained early financial support from five out-of-county partners, including three Southern California water providers. Peter Van Zant, of Sierra Watch, a conservation group opposed to a dam, welcomed the Placer County board’s support. “This is a great example of local representatives taking a stand for our local values,” Van Zant said. “The Bear River canyon is worth more than a dam.” South Sutter officials have said they’re exploring a dam because of uncertain upstream water supplies. The county will be sending a letter that lists what it considers negative impacts, including the potential flooding of large portions of the Placer Land Trust’s Garden Bar Preserve. Placer County has contributed funding to buy conservation easements on properties that could be flooded. – Gus Thomson