Steelhead Trout to Benefit from Deal to Remove San Clemente Dam

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif., Jan. 12 (UPI) — Public and private officials say they have reached an agreement to tear down a 106-foot-tall dam in Monterey County, Calif.

The dam removal would be the largest ever performed in the state and is seen as a victory for endangered steelhead trout, which are blocked by the obsolete structure from returning to their spawning grounds on the Carmel River, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury-News reported Tuesday.

The decision to take down the 89-year-old San Clemente Dam came after state and federal government officials and a Monterey, Calif., water company reached an $84 million agreement Monday following 10 years of study and debate, the newspaper said.

“What we’re doing here is truly of national significance,” U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., told the Mercury-News. “We are going to have some tough days ahead. But it is the right thing to do and we are going to get it done.”

Historians say the dam for years had been used to supply drinking water to thousands of Monterey Peninsula residents, irrigated golf courses and helped run sardine canneries. But its reservoir is now 90 percent filled with silt, sand and mud and is not used for electricity or flood protection.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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