Deliver the River: States’ Rights, Cost-Benefit, and Environmental Justice on California’s Stanislaus River
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.
Date uploaded: Apr 11, 2021
Date last modified: Mar 14, 2023