Auburn, Calif. – Directors of the Placer County Water Agency voted Thursday (Feb. 3) to join with other local government agencies in a coordinated effort to preserve federal funding for operation of the Auburn State Recreation Area.
The board unanimously adopted a resolution that calls for the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to provide sufficient funding for management of the Auburn project lands along the American River.
The board resolution cites the need for protection of the health and safety of the river canyon and calls for “sufficient federal funding to continue management and maintenance of the Auburn Project Lands to protect the public safety and watershed resources of that area from wildfires and other destructive forces.”
The PCWA board action follows reports that the Bureau of Reclamation may reduce funding this year and eliminate funding in future years. PCWA joins the County of Placer, County of El Dorado and the City of Auburn in this effort.
The board’s vote followed a presentation by Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes, who said the recreation area attracts one million visitors per year and provides a huge economic benefit to Auburn and surrounding areas.
Holmes said local governmental leaders are pushing for a $2 million annual commitment to maintain and operate the recreation area. He said recent meetings with federal officials have been productive but that much work remains to be done.
Holmes said the effort has drawn support from U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, who has stated he wants to keep options open for a future Auburn Dam.
PCWA Director of Strategic Affairs Einar Maisch said that cutting federal funding would leave the watershed vulnerable to damage from unsupervised use. “It’s not like you can just close it,” he said.
Maisch traced federal ownership of the land in the American River canyon back to the 1960s and 1970s when the Auburn Dam was first planned.
In other business, PCWA directors:
- accepted a $59,500 water use efficiency grant from the Department of Water Resources, via the Regional Water Authority. The money will be used to support the PCWA customer rebate program. Customers seeking information on this and other PCWA rebate programs may call the PCWA Customer Services Center at (530) 823-4850 or see www.pcwa.net.
- heard reports on 2010 accomplishments and 2011 issues and interests from Director of Financial Services Joe Parker, Director of Strategic Affairs Einar Maisch, Director of Field Services Mike Nichol and Director of Technical Services Brian Martin.
- welcomed Glenn E. Carnahan, who was introduced as the new interim general manager of the Foresthill Public Utility District.
- reviewed a list of candidates nominated for election to the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). Directors said they would cast the agency’s ballot at their next meeting.
Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained through the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.