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Assemblyman Gallagher Leads Legislative Tour Of Sites Project

Assemblyman James Gallagher from Plumas Lake gave 13 of his legislative colleagues a tour of the Sites Reservoir Project, including the reservoir footprint and the location of the pipeline. The January 12th tour began with a short presentation at the new Sites Project Authority (SPA) office as Assemblyman Gallagher explained the importance of new water storage. Project Manager Jim Watson explained how the project would be funded and built.  The group then headed to a stop along the river to better see what route the pipeline would take. Since Sites is a pump storage facility and does not block an existing waterway, a pipe will deliver water to the reservoir from the Sacramento River. SPA Board Members Fritz Durst and Mary Wells both talked about the need for new water storage to meet the needs of both the Sacramento Valley farms and fish and wildlife. While tour participants learned more about the project they could also view the Sacramento River as it overflowed its banks into adjacent farmland.

The next stop of the tour was Sites Valley where lawmakers and staff were shown which areas would be in the footprint of the reservoir and where the saddle dams would be placed. Colusa County Supervisor, Gary Evans, explained the need for the bridge across the valley to ensure that the towns of Ladoga and Stonyford were not adversely impacted. Andrew Meredith, Executive Board Member of the California State Building & Construction Trades Council, spoke about the impact on the severely economically depressed rural communities in Northern California. Said Meredith, “The construction of Sites Reservoir will mean more to this valley than merely additional water storage or flood control. It will mean jobs, real and tangible, for hundreds of skilled trades men and women, and apprenticeship opportunities for many other local workers.  These jobs will help even more valley families into the middle class, providing ancillary benefits to the many businesses in these nearby communities.”

After the tour the group returned to the SPA office for a discussion regarding the issues facing the project. Lewis Bair, Reclamation District 108 General Manager, told the legislators that one issue is, “that Prop 1’s vision of purchasing an asset like Sites with public dollars and then creating the appropriate contractual relationship is very exciting for the State and the resources that it could protect, however, the magnitude of the investment and having to create this relationship from scratch with typically risk-averse state agencies has the potential to result in very costly time delays.  It will be very important for the investors to start conversations with the state agencies early with significant resources to insure these timelines don’t result in costly project delays.”

Assemblyman Brian Dahle, a farmer from Bieber, spoke to the issue of the amount of work that the SPA had done to move this project along. “The local people here who have spent hundreds of hours to ensure the continued access to water for families in the Sacramento Valley is incredible. People like Mary Wells are a tribute to the dedication and work ethic of the members of the SPA and to family farmers.”

If you are interested in a tour of the project or more information please contact the the SPA office at

You can visit our facebook page for more pictures of the tour. The following are links to other articles.

5 things to know about the proposed Sites Reservoir (no video).

Lawmakers Tour Sites Reservoir Project Area.

First CA water-storage reservoir in six decades to break ground in Colusa County.

Lawmakers tour location of proposed Sites Reservoir.

Despite Storms, Calif. Experts Say State Still in Drought.

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