Bill would save Clavey from dams, diversions



With Johnny Cash on the radio, Monica Weakley's truck bounces over U.S. Forest Service as she heads deep in Stanislaus National Forest, bound for a Tuolumne River tributary she is committed to protecting.

As Sierra Nevada program director for Tuolumne River Trust, Weakley is new to the fight over the Clavey River.

A Virginia native, she has lived in Groveland just three years. But the 1990s fight to dam the 47-mile waterway and provide power to the Central Valley is not lost on her.

The battle began in 1986 and ended in 1995, after $9 million was spent on engineering, environmental studies and other facets of the huge hydroelectric proposal.

Most of that money came from the pockets of Turlock Irrigation District rate payers, who would have used the energy created by the dam to fill peak power demands.

But as a partner, Tuolumne County shelled out $1.7 million to ensure Tuolumne Utilities District received a share of the revenue to put toward its Stanislaus River water system.

The plan was shelved on the recommendation of then-Clavey River Project Director John Mills because of decreased demand, growth and complex environmental issues.

Weakley now works with the River Trust, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, to make sure the issue never resurfaces again.

With help from a bill introduced earlier this month by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, Weakley might get her wish.

Wilderness Act

The river qualifies for wild-and-scenic designation under Forest Service criteria, and Boxer's California Wild Heritage Wilderness Act of 2003 would forever make the Clavey off-limits to dams and diversions.

"This plan is to preserve a few wild and scenic rivers in their natural state," Weakley said. "There's only a few left, so let's do it."

Boxer's bill would also change the designation of other areas in the Stanislaus National Forest from multi-use to wilderness, which means stricter protection.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday October 28, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
This is not horse play


Tuolumne County Animal Control on Wednesday hosted the Animal Technical Rescue First ... more

Residents complain about cultivation enforcement


Residents of El Rancho Loma Serena Homeowners Association said they believe Calaveras ... more

Columbia Elementary gets an interim leader


The Columbia Union School Board Tuesday hired Diane Dotson as interim superintendent-principal. ... more

All Hallows Fantasy Faire


Hundreds of people of all ages, costumed and non-costumed, attended the eighth ... more

New oak disease spreads from coast to foothills


A deadly fungus killing oak trees along the coasts of central and ... more