The Planning and Conservation League, one of the leading environmental organizations in the state, presented their ‘Business of the Year’ Award to California American Water at their annual symposium. Company president Rob MacLean accepted the award.
The award recognizes the company for its leadership and dedication to bringing to fruition the San Clemente Dam Removal project, the largest dam removal in the state's history, which brings numerous environmental benefits to the region.
“This is a tremendous honor,” MacLean said. “I may have been the individual to accept this award but none of this would be possible without the efforts of our employees, local elected officials as well as federal, state and county representatives and, of course, the numerous and dedicated community advocates who all played a vital role in making this historic project happen. This award is for all of them.”
“The project represents an innovative public-private partnership among dozens of agency, community, environmental, business and elected partners,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League. “Leading this historic effort was California American Water, which owns and operates the dam. This project is a great example of widespread collaboration leading to watershed solutions that work for everyone involved, and will hopefully serve as a model for future efforts to restore California's waterways to health.”
Since it was built in 1921, the San Clemente Dam has impacted people and nature along the Carmel River. As a result, once vibrant steelhead runs have dramatically decreased and lives and property below the dam are threatened with the possible collapse of the seismically unsafe structure.
Removing the San Clemente Dam will restore access to 25 miles of spawning and rearing habitat, critical to the South Central California Coast Steelhead’s recovery. Restoring the river’s ecological connectivity will also benefit other threatened species like the California red-legged frog. Enabling sediment to move past the dam will also help replenish sand supply to Carmel River beach and dunes, fortifying the beach and coastal area against sea level rise.