St. Helena threatened with lawsuit over stalled dam removal

ST. HELENA — An environmental advocacy group that sued the city last year over water diversion at Bell Canyon Reservoir is now threatening a separate lawsuit over the long delay in the removal of the Upper York Creek Dam. Grant Reynolds of Water Audit California, a public benefit corporation, wrote a letter to the city on Feb. 11 requesting various city records involving the dam, and followed up two days later with a letter threatening to sue “to compel the city to action.” The dam has been declared a barrier to fish passage, and its removal has been on the city’s to-do list since at least 1993 when, in response to a state lawsuit, the city agreed to a court order pledging to remove the dam by Nov. 1, 1993. The order was lifted in 2001 to help the city apply for grant funding, and in 2010 the city entered into a settlement agreement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries pledging to remove the dam by 2012.[Read More]