We’ve all been there. A place so sublime we wish it could remain that way forever.
This past year, EBMUD and partners in the Sierra Nevada foothills accomplished a rarity. Together, with leaders in state government, 37 miles of the Mokelumne River became the newest entry into the California Wild and Scenic River system. Only one percent of California’s nearly 200,000 miles of rivers enjoy this level of protection.
The designation preserves 37 miles of the river above Pardee Dam, protecting it from new projects that would impact natural river flows or the extraordinary scenic and recreational values of these areas.
For nearly a century, the Mokelumne has been the primary source of high-quality drinking water for the East Bay. Further inland, it provides water to Amador and Calaveras counties and to San Joaquin County agriculture. It also generates energy for the electric grid and it inspires boatloads of recreational and scenic delights. For California as a whole, it hosts one of the state’s most successful chinook salmon fisheries, contributing significantly to California’s multimillion-dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry.
EBMUD and partners continue to fine tune our water and power operations not just to limit the impacts, but to enhance the whole river ecosystem. Our work included securing this Wild and Scenic designation so generations to come can benefit from the beautiful Mokelumne.
Our partners in this historic feat include Amador Water Agency, Calaveras County Water District, Calaveras Public Utility District, Jackson Valley Irrigation District, Foothill Conservancy and Friends of the River, among others.
The Mokelumne is the 12th California Wild and Scenic River.
Did You Know?
The fall Chinook salmon return runs from October through January. In 2017-18, the Mokelumne River experienced it’s largest-ever Chinook Salmon return on record. Nearly 20,000 adult salmon returned to the Mokelumne riverbanks to spawn. This year’s return has been nearly as strong.