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Deliver the River: States’ Rights, Cost-Benefit, and Environmental Justice on California’s Stanislaus River

Status: Dead River
By: Sean Kay and Dakota Goodman
Date: April 23, 2020

This draft (never finalized) 26 page paper uses the loss of the second most popular commercial whitewater rafting river in America to a dam project that failed to deliver on initial cost-benefit assumptions – the New Melones Dam which flooded the Stanislaus River in California’s Gold Rush country. The paper shows that local communities were misled by the federal government, costing them losses we estimate at $555 million and that serious federal and states’ rights conflicts over water use remain unresolved. The paper offers new insights for the relationship between flawed public policy and water management and environmental cost-benefit analysis, environmental democracy, and environmental justice. The study demonstrates that as California is looking at new ways to manage its water, an opportunity exists to liberate the lost Stanislaus River – offering new commercial benefits to local Sierra foothills communities long forgotten, benefiting long-term agricultural sustainability, and helping to flush out downstream environmental dangers in the San Joaquin River Basin.   Sean Kay, a primary author, tragically died before his work could be finalized.

Format: Academic
Collection: Dakota Goodman's Collection
Rights: Copyright 2020 Dakota Goodman and Sean Kay. All rights reserved.

Date uploaded: Apr 11, 2021
Date last modified: Mar 14, 2023