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Environmental study of Shasta Dam height halted

Stakeholders disagree over whether raising the dam would offer benefits or detriments.


Aerial view of Shasta Dam.

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For decades, agricultural and municipal water districts have sought to raise the dam containing California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, to capture more water as it flows out of the Cascade Range through the McCloud, Pit and Sacramento rivers. Some in Congress and the Trump administration’s Interior Department have given the project renewed consideration, though environmentalists have long rallied against it, and state officials contend that it would violate California law. It is also opposed by the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, whose members were forced out during the dam’s construction; they say even more ancestral land would be swallowed up. (“Interior revives the push for a higher Shasta Dam,” HCN, 6/11/18).


In a recent turn of events, according to E&E News, the Westlands Water District announced in early October that it is halting its environmental study of raising the height of Shasta Dam. The study was meant to evaluate the environmental impacts as well as assess whether the project was worth the investment.

Kalen Goodluck is an editorial fellow at High Country News. Email him at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor.