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Modoc County dam?

By Phil Hayworth, Pioneer Press 3/12/08

Just when eco-nuts and others thought it was safe to take out the Klamath River dams, along comes the California State Grange and Modoc County.

Specifically, the grange, along with Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa and Sen. Dave Cox of Roseville sponsored legislation that would authorize a feasibility study to pave the way for construction of the Ostrum Point Dam across the Pit River in Modoc County.

"Having a steady supply of water is important to farmers and the agricultural community," Cox said. "It is my pleasure to support the Modoc and Lassen County Board of Supervisors and the State Grange in their efforts to have a feasibility study for a proposed Ostrum Point Dam."

On February 21, at the request of the Grange, the politicians introduced Assembly Bill 2434 in the California state legislature, supporting the feasibility study. The legislation was prompted by a resolution authored by the Lookout Grange and approved by the delegates at the annual State Grange Convention last October.

The resolution calls for "the State Grange and the National Grange to lobby the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation respectively to conduct a new feasibility study based on current conditions, taking into account the possibility of power generation, to determine the feasibility of the Ostrum Point Dam."

The adopted resolution set in motion the efforts of the California State Grange Legislative and Public Relations Departments to find legislators to introduce the bill at the Capitol and promote the legislation.

The proposed Ostrum Point Dam would provide water storage for irrigation, prevent flooding, generate electrical power and create a recreation area, attracting tourists to the economically depressed farming and ranching region seventy-five miles northeast of Redding, Norm Carpadus, member of the Lookout Grange. Alfalfa and wheat are the crops most commonly grown in the area.

The project has captured the interests of the Lassen and Modoc County Boards of Supervisors, who have sent letters of support to the office of State Water Resources.
"The supervisors are well aware of past problems and the need for water storage in our area," Carpadus said. "Now is the time to push for this project."

Modoc County Supervisor Dave Bradshaw gave credit to the Grange for "stepping up and initiating this project."

For more than 40 years, the construction of a dam that would benefit the region has been discussed and several sites considered. Damage to crops and soils from floods in 1976, 1986 and 1990 could have been avoided by a dam, contends Supervisor Bradshaw.

"By capturing flood waters, we can put them to better use," said Lassen County Supervisor Brian Dahle. "This study will measure flows and tell us just how much water is available for our communities," he continued. "We have to thank the Grange for taking a proactive approach in support of this legislation."

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