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Spring 2009

Long Term Solution in Sight

The Red Bluff Diversion Dam operated by the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority (TCCA) has been the subject of scrutiny and lawsuits since the 1960’s, but with the help of the recently passed stimulus package a long-term solution is in sight.

For decades, the dam has been blamed for the decline in fish species within the Sacramento River and has been under constant attack from numerous environmental groups. Due to recent lawsuits, the TCCA has had to reduce their pumping season tremendously, putting at risk over 150,000 acres of irrigated agriculture.

Fortunately, TCCA has been able to buy themselves some time by Red Bluff Diversion Dam operated by the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority.  Photo courtesy of Russ Berry.constructing a temporary pumping plant equipped with ten state-of-the art fish screens until the new permanent pumping plant can be constructed.

With a commitment of nearly $110 million dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act the district is well on their way to providing a reliable water supply to farmers and ranchers in Tehama, Glenn, Colusa and Yolo counties, while at the same time protecting our fishery resources.

Family Water Alliance co-founder and TCCA board member Marion Mathis said, “The announcement is simply huge for this area since the pumping plant at Red Bluff translates into a more reliable water supply for the TCCA districts and growers. A reliable water supply is even more important in light of the significant investment in permanent crops that make up over half of the service area and the importance of agriculure to the regional economy and local communities”.

The temporary pumping plant facility is expected to be in place until 2013, when the new pumping plant can be constructed and start operating. The screening of agricultural water diversions within the state shows that farmers and ranchers are proactive and want to be responsible stewards of the environment. The ranchers and farmers within TCCA’s service area produce over $250 million in crops and contribute over $1 billion to our regional economy annually.

“This project will create and protect over ten thousand jobs while ensuring healthy sustainable fish populations for generations to come” said TCCA Chairman Ken LaGrande.

It took the hard work of many of our local, state and federal elected officials to ensure the protection of this productive agricultural region. TCCA is well on their way to ensuring a reliable source of water for the regional and the districts proactive measures exemplify responsible environmentalism.■

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