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FOR Logo Friends of the River
 The voice of California's rivers


 River Restoration

Arroyo SecoFOR is a leading advocate for the return of flows to rivers impacted by dams. After over a decade of negotiations between FOR and its partners with dam operators and Central Valley farmers test flows ran down the lower San Joaquin River for the first time in 60 years. All that is now under threat by the proposed Temperance Flat dam – read more on our Temperance Flat dam Campaign Page.

FOR as well has been a key voice for the removal of hydroelectric dams responsible for fish-kills and poor water quality on the Klamath River for seven years. A draft settlement agreement was released in late September that could lead to the removal of these four dams on the Klamath River and restoration of the river’s once fabled salmon runs. This is an important step towards restoration of the Klamath River, but the draft settlement provides little certainty that dams will be removed by the proposed target date of 2020. Friends of the River noted that not only does the draft agreement fail to guarantee removal of the dams, it provides broad liability protection for PacifiCorp against future lawsuits (even in circumstances where PacifiCorp could be negligent), and will rely on the multi-million dollar appropriations from the two states and the federal government to pay to remove the dams and restore the river. Much more work and effort will be required of all parties to ensure that the dams are actually removed, and the Klamath River salmon is restored in our lifetime. Learn more >


Alternatives to Dams

Auburn Dam 1
California has enough water. Surprised? We certainly face major challenges like global warming and increased demand. So some people are rushing to build dams -- expensive 19th century solutions to 21st century problems. We don’t need solutions that are expensive, destructive, and ineffective.  A little common sense shows us that the real answers to our problems are cost effective, efficient, and smart. Learn more >


Flood Management

McCormick Dam
FOR has advocated for less environmentally destructive solutions to flood management by actively engaging with state and local entities for over a decade. Before FOR got involved, the answer to flood control was to build more dams, like the proposed Auburn Dam. Today, FOR’s efforts have enabled projects like upgrading Folsom Dam and investment in levee improvements to better provide flood management. Learn more >


 Hydropower Reform

Piru CreekFOR is working hard on the relicensing of the two hydropower projects on the Merced River (McSwain-New Exchequer, Merced Falls), which are scheduled for renewal in 2014. FOR is opposing Merced Irrigation District’s proposal to raise New Exchequer Dam as part of the relicensing, which would drown a Wild & Scenic portion of the Merced River. FOR is working to secure flow improvements to benefit salmon and steelhead in the lower Merced and provide passage for anadromous fish upstream of the existing barrier dams. Learn more >


 Water Policy

Stanislaus RiverFor is active at the local, regional and national levels adovocating for responsible water policy.  FOR will mobilize grassroots and lobby for state legislation to implement the Governor’s call to increase water conservation in California by 20%. In addition, we will work to ensure that this policy includes agricultural as well as urban conservation. FOR will also support a model landscape ordinance, which if adopted by local governments will significantly improve the efficient use of water for landscape irrigation, and other opportunities to improve water conservation.  Learn more >


 Wild & Scenic River Protection

Middle Fork American RiverIn 2009, 105 miles of rivers and streams in California were added to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System, along with 750,000 acres of public watershed lands. As a strong advocate for formal river protection for decades, FOR will continue this fruitful work with federal legislators to prepare new bills to protect rivers and streams in the California desert, San Gabriel Mountains, the mountains of San Diego County, and near the Big Sur coast. Altogether, proposed legislation for these regions could protect more than 270 additional miles of California rivers and streams! Learn more >


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