Draining Hetch Hetchy
Nestled comfortably, and a bit out of sight, in the president's proposed FY08 Park Service budget is a request for $7 million to go toward studies into the removal of the O'Shaughnessy Dam that long has inundated the Hetch Hetchy Valley of Yosemite National Park.
The money, if approved, would be spent to "prepare environmental and economic studies of Hetch Hetchy dam removal and restoration."
Of course, that's just a small contribution toward the entire cost of studying this issue. According to the California Department of Water Resources, it would cost $65 million to properly study the pros and cons of draining Hetch Hetchy. The $7 million from the Park Service would, if approved, "provide a preliminary analysis of the advantages of dam retention versus removal and restoration, with emphasis on the potential benefits of restoration."
Though environmentalists long have lobbied for the dam's removal, long odds stand in the way of that ever happening, as the water behind the dam supplies San Francisco and many politicians there adamantly oppose the dam's removal.
For more insight into this issue, check out this story in the San Francisco Chronicle.