Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Los Padres Dam’s future is uncertain

The Los Padres Dam, Carmel River
Six miles upstream of the San Clemente Dam... the Los Padres Dam creates a reservoir pretty enough for a painting, but one that’s a prison for steelhead fish whose hearts beat for the sea.
 South Central California steelhead are what biologists call a “distinct population segment,” with unique DNA among the planet’s steelhead. 

The Los Padres is an earthen dam with few hard parts. Rather than tumbling 100 feet, the water slips unassumingly over the dam’s lip and down a concrete spillway, then falls back into the river. 

The Los Padres Dam’s future is uncertain. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants it to come down, while the state Department of Fish & Game and MPWMD unofficially support dredging it and leaving it up.

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