October 31, 2017 – Nevada Irrigation District’s proposed Centennial Dam, which threatens the last public access to the Bear River for everyone in our region is dividing our communities. Many people seem to have their own interests in mind without looking at the big picture. The big picture is a reservoir put in between two existing reservoirs. On a landscape level, that makes no sense. It is overreach.
We have been told by the NID Directors that sometimes people have to give up their quality of life for the good of others, namely NID. That seems to be the consensus of some of the Centennial Dam Supporters.
The 2 environmental documents that are expected to analyze the impacts and alternatives have been delayed for another year. These documents attempt to weigh the benefits to some against the destruction to others.
Colfax, Weimar and Meadow Vista in Placer County, all outside the NID service area, seem to be giving up their quality of life as well. Colfax will lose a key part of its economy, Weimar will become a traffic thoroughfare, and Meadow Vista will become the short cut from I-80 over to Hwy 49. Then we all give up the first class River Recreation in our Bear River Park and Placer County gives up its only campground. Oh, but Centennial Dam supporters don’t care about that.
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Meanwhile NID continues to buy up land in the Bear River watershed including emminent domain seizing of 54 acres on both sides of our river. They were in a hurry to get the paperwork done before the conservation easement on the PG&E land became attached. Is that because we are giving up our quality of life for others?
I suppose the Nisenan, the indigenous people of this area, will likely contribute the most. Their cultural identity is connected to their presence at our Bear River, a river that will no longer flow. Surviving the genocide of the Gold Rush only to face the ecocide of our Bear River Canyon is too much to ask!