I've been so busy working to protect the Mokelumne River from the proposed Pardee expansion that I've been neglecting my blog of late. The work I've done on the river this year has been both frustrating and gratifying.
Frustrating, because despite the huge local opposition to the Pardee expansion, East Bay MUD may not listen. We'll know more about that after Tuesday morning's workshop in Oakland.
It's also frustrating because a few people are still spreading lies and disinformation about National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne. What's even more frustrating is when people believe them. Wild and Scenic designation is the true long-term solution for Mokelumne river conservation, and it will only benefit our counties.
It's been gratifying because I've gotten to talk and work with so many local people and visitors who love the river and support keeping it a river forever. I've seen local businesses, especially OARS of Angels Camp, step up to help with its conservation. I've met dedicated river conservationists like angler-videographer Mikey Wier, who grew up in Plymouth. I've learned from native people who have ties to the river reaching back for thousands of years.
I've seen 350 people show up for local hearings. I've watched people work their networks and groups to help save the river.
I've also seen our community unite around an issue in a way we seldom experience. When was the last time you saw ranchers, native MiWuk people, local governments, environmentalists, businesspeople, anglers, young people, older people, anglers, and paddlers all agree on something? It's pretty rare. (We should try it more often.)
I've also spent more time on the river myself. I've rafted the Electra-Middle Bar run three times. I've seen people playing in and around the river from Salt Springs to Middle Bar. I've seen rafters come off the river absolutely enraptured. I've seen anglers cleaning hooks and debris from the Middle Bar Bridge. And I've taken many, many photos of the river, including some of the Foothill Conservancy benefit raft trips OARS put on this summer.
It's good to know that so many people love the Mokelumne River and want to protect it. We will save this river.