Farr: No plan to tear down Los
Published: November 16, 2012
THE IDEA came from a federal agency, but
Congressman Sam Farr said this week “there currently is no plan
to remove Los Padres Dam.”
The National Marine Fisheries Service has made public a plan to help the Carmel River’s population of steelhead trout by removing the San Clemente and Los Padres dams.
While Farr insisted there is no plan in place to remove the
dam, he isn’t discounting the need for it.
“The National Marine Fisheries Service has recommended the
removal of the dam in order to increase the steelhead trout
population,” Farr noted. “That is a factor that should be
considered when discussing the future of the Carmel River.
However, Cal Am owns the dam and any decision on its removal
would have to be made in consultation with them and various
“It’s a very complex issue and there’s a lot of stakeholders’
concerns that need to be addressed,” said Catherine Bowie, a
spokeswoman for Cal Am. “What’s happened here is that NOAA has
announced this among its goals and priorities over the coming
decades. There would need to be a lot of review and there would
be many opportunities for public comment.”
Dave Stoldt, general manager of the Monterey Peninsula Water
Management District, told The Pine Cone last week that the plan
is something local residents should pay attention to.
“You won’t find any time lines or cost estimates in the plan,”
Stoldt said. “But once [the idea of removing the Los Padres Dam]
gets into a document as a solution, it becomes more real.”
It is unknown how much it would cost to tear down the dam, although the removal of the considerably smaller San Clemente Dam is estimated to be $83 million — and that number could climb as the project encounters delays, mostly due to objections from nearby residents over construction traffic.
Built in 1948, Los Padres Dam is located about 25 miles
upstream from the Carmel River’s outlet to the ocean. The dam
was built to store 3,030 acre-feet of water, but by 2008, silt
had reduced its storage capacity to 1,775 acre-feet.