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Remove Another Dam to Restore Hetch Hetchy

December 13, 2001

In "A More Natural Yosemite" (editorial, Dec. 1) you quoted John Muir's praise for Yosemite Valley and supported "the removal of several bridges and dams on the Merced" River as a way to return Yosemite to a more natural state. Allow me to suggest the removal of another dam in Yosemite National Park, on the Tuolumne River--the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley. As a 1988 report by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation states: "Such restoration would renew the national commitment to maintaining the integrity of the national park system and keep in perpetual conservation an irreplaceable and unique natural area."

We advocate a win-win outcome for Hetch Hetchy Valley and for the San Francisco Bay Area that currently relies on the Hetch Hetchy water and power system. Such a win-win outcome is possible, using the restoration of Mono Lake as a model; the water level of Mono Lake is constantly rising, and the city of Los Angeles is receiving more water from other sources--and has received millions of dollars in state and federal financial assistance for very successful water conservation programs. The restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley provides the same kind of opportunity.

Ron Good

Executive Director, Restore Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite, Calif.

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