It spans 900 feet (270 m) with a 17-foot (5.2 m) wide trail across the top that hikers use to cross to the opposite side. It's dumb, dumb, dumb. Then, well need to weigh our options for other new large water supplies, all of which will have enormous environmental tradeoffs: think of building a desalination plant, fighting with Los Angeles over the Sacramento Delta, building a peripheral canal or siting new large dams in presently undammed Sierra mountains and foothills. And it is the largest single source of water supply for the Bay Area. In the 21st century, Ken Brower, son of the renown environmentalist David Brower, wrote a fascinating account of the failed campaign to save Hetch Hetchy and the modern effort to Reverse an American Mistake, complete with speculation about how the rebirth of a wild valley might evolve. The Freeman Report artfully depicted reservoirs in Norway, the United Kingdom and the eastern United States showing how nature and public utility worked together to improve their surroundings and provide long-term benefits for everyone. If youre up for a driving adventure, try taking a little extra time to retrace parts of the route John Muir described in his book, My First Summer in the Sierra. There, he met the same Indian chief and his wives. Seventeen species of bats inhabit the Hetch Hetchy area, including the largest North American bat, the western mastiff. He said, So we come now face to face with the perfectly clean question of what is the best use to which this water that flows out of the Sierras can be put. Wapama and Rancheria Falls Looking up at Wapama Falls from the footbridge on the hiking trail. The extensive amount of storage, which is designed to benefit the Bay Area as droughts become more severe with climate. Not only does it supply 85 percent of the water for 2.6 million people in San Francisco, controlled releases via the O'Shaughnessy Dam are helping preserve downstream specieseven in dry years. And today there is even an organization, Restore Hetch Hetchy, which is committed to doing just that. Included with your registration: Two-day guided experience in Yosemite; one day at Hetch Hetchy and one day in Ackerson Meadow (Saturday, May 11, at 8 am, through Sunday, May 12, until about 3 pm). Not to be outdone by Los Angeles, San Francisco had a greater feat in mind: dam the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park and pipe the water into San Francisco. John Muir, the first president of the Sierra Club, condemned plans to build the dam, saying, "Dam Hetch Hetchy! The trail continues to climb for 1.8 miles (2.8 km) above the trail intersection, but you can turn around any time. For instance, the WET company helps people see the beauty of water through magnificent water fountains. Albert Bierstadt was known for his sweeping landscapes of the American West. In the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park you can find the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Over the last 35 years, the idea has been studied by the Environmental Defense Fund, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, UC Davis, and several state agencies. Construction of O'Shaughnessy Dam began in 1919 and was finished in 1923, with the reservoir first filling in May of that year. [35] Muir, who himself had briefly worked as a shepherd in Hetch Hetchy, was known for calling sheep "hoofed locusts" because of their environmental impact. The watershed is also strictly protected, so swimming and boating are prohibited at the reservoir (although fishing is permitted at the reservoir and in the rivers which feed it),[60] a measure which is considered unusual for US lakes outside the region. As the Hetch Hetchy Valley was part of Yosemite National Park, Hitchcock preferred to protect the park's natural wonders. Once again, the political pendulum had swung. In its natural state, the valley floor was marshy and often flooded in the spring when snow melt in the high Sierra cascaded down the Tuolumne River and backed up behind the narrow gorge which is now spanned by O'Shaughnessy Dam. Guests at these suites receive breakfast on their patios. 2023 Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, Yosemite Itineraries: What to Do in Yosemite. Surrounding the water are a few waterfalls, the most prominent being Tueeulala and Wapama Falls, and countless rock features. If you want to follow the old railroad line today, the Hetch Hetchy Road and most of the Mather Road were built on the old railroad bed and are beautiful scenic drives as well. The view in Hetch Hetchy Valley As you know by now, the hike is 90% along the reservoir so you always get to see the most beautiful blue water in all of California. The proposed study would also have been required to identify potential replacements for the water storage capacity and hydroelectric power production.[87][88]. San Francisco applied to the United States Department of the Interior to gain water rights to Hetch Hetchy, and in 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior, James R. Garfield, granted San Francisco the rights to development of the Tuolumne River. As Muir famously protested: Dam Hetch Hetchy? The idea of punching a hole in or removing the dam and allowing the valley to be restored to its pre-development conditions has been around since the late 1980s. [2] From Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the water flows through the Canyon and Mountain Tunnels to Kirkwood and Moccasin Powerhouses, which have capacities of 124 and 110 megawatts, respectively. [49], The narrow defile at the lower end of Hetch Hetchy Valley where San Francisco planned to dam the Tuolumne River, seen in 1914 before construction began, The same area seen today, with O'Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Hetch Hetchy Valley serves as the primary water source for the City and County of San Francisco and several surrounding municipalities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Principally, dam removal on the Klamath will require annual replacement of 696 gigawatt hours of electricity by other means. As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been . The Hetch Hetchy Dam in the Yosemite Valley, receives the bulk of it's water from the sierra snow pack miles above the reservoir. On December 19, 1913, Congress passed and President Wilson signed the Raker Act which permitted the building of the OShaughnessy Dam and the flooding of the Hetch Hethcy Valley in Yosemite National Park. [8], Meadow plants unavailable in the lowlands were particularly valuable resources to these tribes. The law authorizing the dam passed Congress on December 7, 1913. Muir famously said, Dam Hetch Hetchy! The Tuolumne River, the source of. What part should mountains, rivers, natural meadows or wild creatures play in American life? Get SPUR news and events delivered straight to your email inbox. [50] The project is operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Hetch Hetchy Valley was once home to a richly diverse ecosystem, surrounded by towering cliffs and waterfalls similar to those in neighboring Yosemite Valley. [58], Water from Hetch Hetchy is some of the cleanest municipal water in the United States; San Francisco is one of six U.S. cities not required by law to filter its tap water, although the water is disinfected by ozonation and, since 2011, exposure to UV. According to a local legend, Nate spotted a valley to the east that was too far to visit. Second, dams slow rivers. between those who wish to retain the dam and reservoir, and those who wish to drain the reservoir and return Hetch Hetchy Valley to its former state. The Sites Reservoir a $4.4 billion project to add dams and store more water that'll be sent south is still years away from completion. The Hetch Hetchy Road drops into the valley at the dam, but all points east of there are roadless, and accessible only to hikers and equestrians. Finally, in 1988, a third generator was added to the Kirkwood Powerhouse. Gravel, logs, and other important food and habitat features can become trapped. On returning home, he asked an Indian chief the name of the valley. Like Muir, he was totally transfixed by the Hetch Hetchy Valley. This time it was in favor those who wanted to preserve the valley for generations yet to come. Hetch Hetchy's restoration, after all, will benefit national . The new 68-mile (109 km) railroad wound its way up the narrow canyon of the Tuolumne River past sharp curves and up steep 4% grades. The dam and reservoir, combined with a series of aqueducts, tunnels, and hydroelectric plants as well as eight other storage dams, comprise a system known as the Hetch Hetchy Project, which provides 80% of the water supply for 2.6 million people. In the distance, long white plumes of water cascade hundreds of feet down from rocky heights. Yosemite Westgate Lodge offers newly-remodeled and well-appointed modern accommodation. The new. Dam the Hetch Hetchy! If youre especially in the mood to relax and let yourself be taken care of, The Blackberry Inn is a luxury bed and breakfast situated on 36 acres and surrounded by National Forest land. Just before reaching the Bay Area, it passes through the Irvington tunnel near the city of Fremont, and the aqueduct splits into four pipelines at 373253N 1215555W / 37.548104N 121.932041W / 37.548104; -121.932041. . Would there be any room in an acquisitive society for wildness, or for non material spiritual values?. They were both initially carved by rivers flowing down the Sierras relatively gentle western slope. The . [39], Interest in using the valley as a water source or reservoir dates back as far as the 1850s, when the Tuolumne Valley Water Company proposed developing water storage there for irrigation. The larger issues at stake would frame environmental debates for years to come. In 2007, in approving the environmental impact report for the Water System Improvement Program an investment of more than $4 billion to shore up the seismic reliability of the Hetch Hetchy water system the SFPUC gave itself, and its wholesale customers on the peninsula, ten years to develop a plan that would identify reliable alternative sources of water to meet the regions future growth in demand, rather than diverting more water from the Tuolumne River. Hetch Hetchy ushered in a new era for the national parks. ", "Hetch Hetchy reclaimed: The dam downstream", "Alternatives for restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley following removal of the dam and reservoir page 15", "Chapter 9: Impact of restoration on hydropower production and revenues", "Putting Bay Area's Water Sources to a Vote", "Hodel Would Tear Down Dam in Hetch Hetchy", "On Hetch Hetchy, John Muir was wrong: California's revered naturalist wrote a poetic diatribe against the drowning of the great valley. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir also serves to provide energy in the form of hydroelectricity, with a capacity of over 200 megawatts a year. Most importantly, San Francisco would lose its source of high-quality mountain water, and would have to depend on lower-quality water from other reservoirs which would require costly filtration and re-engineering of the aqueduct system to meet its needs. It involved the unintended consequences of efforts to shape the environment to meet human needs. Back in the early nineteen hundreds, when the debate start about The Hetch Hetchy dam being built a large majority of people did not realize or care how valuable nature is. Utilizing its superior resources, the city produced a detailed report which made a compelling case that, far from damaging the beauty of Yosemite, the dam would actually enhance it. [8], While its cousin Yosemite Valley to the south had permanent Miwok settlements,[25] Hetch Hetchy was only seasonally inhabited. The first is utilitarian conservation. This can be very disorienting to fish and disrupt their migrations as they depend on steady streams and flows to guide them. There are four fundamental ways in which dams damage rivers. Some hydro-power dams withhold and then release water to generate power for peak demand periods, which is particularly disruptive to migrating fish. [citation needed] The George W. Bush administration proposed allocating $7 million to studying the removal of the dam in the 2007 National Park Service budget. John Muir once described Hetch Hetchy Valley as, a grand landscape garden, one of Natures rarest and most precious mountain temples.. [5] The valley was slowly becoming known for its natural beauty, but it was never a popular tourist destination because of extremely poor access and the location of the famous Yosemite Valley just twenty miles to the south. [2] He wrote, I have always called it the Tuolumne Yosemite, for it is a wonderfully exact counterpart of the great Yosemite, not only in its crystal river and sublime rocks and waterfalls, but in the gardens, groves, and meadows of its flowery park-like floor. [26], In the early 1850s, a mountain man by the name of Nathan Screech[27] became the first non-Native American to enter the valley. Franklin Lane served as the attorney for the city of San Francisco in 1903. Sign up for the email list and join an active community of monthly readers. [82] Dianne Feinstein opposed this allocation, saying, "I will do all I can to make sure it isn't included in the final bill. As a consequence, visitors came to experience it for themselves. At the time, neither side understood the long-range consequences of human actions to manage the environment. It also was an early battle of conservatives vs progressives. remains the least visited area of the park. That's about twice the amount of power lost when Hetch Hetchy will be restored. To begin the trail, cross the dam and pass through the tunnel. . Camping included, if needed; limited sites are shared among all the . We can't help it either. Hetch Hetchy Water and Power also wants to remove the giant bulkhead that seals up the tunnel with 40 nuts and bolts, Ritchie said. But Hetch Hetchy, one of nature's perfect . Hoover Dam. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like The 1987 UN Commission on Sustainability first introduced the concept of ________ as a necessary focus for maintaining sustainability. strongly against restoration. High temperatures prevail in summer months, but that is a small price to pay for the reward of vast wilderness filled with stunning peaks, hidden canyons, and remote lakes. [31], During this time, the upper Tuolumne River, including Hetch Hetchy Valley, was visited by prospectors attracted by the California Gold Rush. The valley floor consisted of roughly 1,200 acres (490ha) of meadows fringed by pine forest, through which meandered the Tuolumne River and numerous tributary streams. He was opposed by then Mayor Diane Feinstein who argued that the dam was San Franciscans birthright. Richard Ballinger was appointed his Interior Secretary. Prominent sponsors of the dam proposal, particularly (by then former) Mayor James Phelan and city engineer Marsdon Manson (and later his successor, Michael OShaughnessy), quietly lobbied key figures in the government, trusting that the appeal of municipal water and power would easily win supporters amid the prevailing progressive political climate. Also convince them it would be a good idea to raise the heights of their dams so we can enlarge these reservoirs with our extra water, flooding anew many miles of the Tuolumne River and acres of currently dry land. [57] Pipelines 3 and 4 end at the Pulgas Water Temple, a small park that contains classical architectural elements which celebrate the water delivery. The city must pay a lease of $30,000 per year for the use of Hetch Hetchy, which sits on federal land. Without Hetch Hetchy as its primary reservoir, San Francisco will be forced to pump and filter its water for the first time in a century, and lose out on the 726 million kilowatt-hours produced by . Shasta, Oroville, Hetch Hetchy and many others were built by damming large rivers. Most of the dam would remain in place, both to avoid the enormous costs of demolition and removal, and to serve as a monument for the workers who built it. Residents drink it in 26 cities and water districts from San. By 1908, a different Interior Secretary, James R. Garfield, sided with the utilitarian conservationists and issued a permit for the Hetch Hetchy project. Each switchback reveals scenic overlooks of the reservoir and Kolana Rock. ", "Fall in the Main Tuolumne River at the Head of Hetch Hetchy Valley", "Fly Fishing Poopenaut Valley Tuolumne River", "Screech Brothers Find Hetch Hetchy Valley", "Big Oak Flat (No. Before damming, the high granite formations produced a valley with an average depth of 1,800ft (550m) and a maximum depth of over 3,000ft (910m); the length of the valley was 3mi (4.8km) with a width ranging from .mw-parser-output .frac{white-space:nowrap}.mw-parser-output .frac .num,.mw-parser-output .frac .den{font-size:80%;line-height:0;vertical-align:super}.mw-parser-output .frac .den{vertical-align:sub}.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px}18 to 12 mile (660 to 2,640ft; 200 to 800m). They poured an estimated total of more than 398,000 cubic yards (304,000 cubic meters) of concrete to form the dam. [54][55], After passing through the powerhouses, Hetch Hetchy water flows into the 167mi (269km) Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct which travels across the Central Valley. [2], Wapama Falls, at 1,080ft (330m), and Tueeulala Falls, at 840ft (260m) both among the tallest waterfalls in North America are both located in Hetch Hetchy Valley. Everyone who drinks water or takes a shower in San Francisco should go. But the ultra-liberal President Woodrow Wilson signed off in 1913 on the multi-decade construction of a series of dams within Yosemite National Park that flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley to create a massive reservoir, hydroelectric plants, and a 167-mile aqueduct for the sole benefit of the City of San Francisco. In 1967 the Robert C. Kirkwood Powerhouse started commercial operation followed by a New Moccasin Powerhouse in 1969 when the Old Moccasin Powerhouse was taken out of service. There is a third concept, too, though it was little understood at the time. Activity 1: Analysis. [2] The dam contains 675,000cuyd (516,000m3) of concrete. . The O'Shaughnessy Dam is near Yosemite's western boundary, but the long, narrow, fingerlike reservoir stretches eastward for about 8 miles (13km). A) 5 billion B . The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which lies within the Yosemite National Park, supplies 85% of the water needs of San Francisco and surrounding counties. . [24] Screech reported that the valley was bitterly disputed between the "Pah Utah Indians" (Paiute) and "Big Creek Indians" (Miwok), and witnessed several fights in which the Paiute appeared to be the dominant tribe. (Source: American Rivers, How Dams Damage Rivers). Hidden in Yosemite National Parks peaceful northwest corner, Hetch Hetchy Valley is a treasure worth visiting in all seasons. Hetch Hetchy, unlike other water storage facilities in California, is relatively buffered from near-term climate change because of its high elevation.

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