Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sacrificing rivers for growth

I've walked along the Mokelumne River's Electra Run many times. It's a beautiful spot year-round. It's also the part of the Mokelumne used most by local residents. They come there to fish, picnic, and pan for gold. They come to teach their kids about rivers.

They are people of all ages, from all walks of life. What they have in common is a love of nature, and especially of rivers.

It's no secret that I love rivers and advocate for the Mokelumne. And it's no secret that I support keeping the portions of the Mokelumne that are still a river flowing for future generations. Because of that, I support National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne. It's simply the only way to keep our river a river.

I've been distressed by some of the discussion in recent Amador County general plan hearings. There are people in our county who want to sacrifice our rivers on the altar of unlimited growth. They are willing to destroy the Electra run, and the other special river places in our county, to grow more subdivisions and fuel more gridlock. And they don't understand that conservation and efficiency is the cheapest source of additional water supply.

The general plan is about the future -- what we want our county to be. I, for one, want it to be a place where people can enjoy and learn about rivers just like they can today.

The general plan is far from done. But those of you who care about the Mokelumne need to speak up now.

There are two good ways to show your support for keeping the Mokelumne a river. One is to sign on to support National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne.

The other is to let the Amador County Board of Supervisors know what you think. Call or write and tell them what the river means to you. If you use the river, tell them how. If you come here from somewhere else and spend money while you're here, let them know that as well.

To some folks and officials in Amador County, the river is simply an abstract source of water. To many of us, it is a powerful force of nature, a source of pleasure, challenge, inspiration or rejuvenation -- and it's up to us to keep it that way.

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