Monday, August 4, 2008

At the headwaters ...

Wow - the headwaters of the Sacramento River. Cold water rushing out of holes in the mountain side. That's Thea, right there at the source. Our morning worship was on the banks of the headwaters, with the sound of rushing water mingling with the roar of a passing train, cars, and children playing on the playground. During worship several people shared poems and other writings inspired by these waters, I'll ask permission and upload some of them later.

We left there for the Shasta Dam. We had our environmentally-friendly water bottles stolen by security guards while we were on the Dam tour (seriously! Lindi got them back for us - hero points for her!). Shasta Dam is the second largest dam in the United States. Ospreys build their nests on power lines right near the dam - their nests weigh 2000 pounds. Those are big birds!

After the Dam, we gathered for snack time and we blessed to spend time with Mark and Calleen, community and spiritual leaders from the Winnemem Winto, a local tribe whose ancestral sacred grounds were flooded when the Shasta Dam was built. They spent a couple of hours with us, and we got a good grounding in dam politics from their perspective. Can you imagine if the government decided to flood out your sacred space and you got relatively little in return? There are salmon who cannot return to their original spawning grounds because of the Dam. There are ancestral burial grounds that are now underwater.

Right now there's a proposal to raise the Shasta Dam. At first, this may sound like a great idea, and maybe it is. It will create more water to be available to Californians. But what is some of the fallout that will come with raising the Dam? Things to think about are fish, wildlife, native people, and our water flows are changing because of climate. If we continue to develop land and use more and more water for agriculture, what happens in 50 or 100 years? Will we have enough water at that time for what seem to be unsustainable practices?

Today we head to Chico - learning about groundwater and jumping into the local swimming holes.

1 comment:

christinedaukas said...

Thanks for sharing the valuable information. Duh, now I'm "getting it"- the purpose of the adventure - I'm a slow learner. Thanks for sharing your gained knowledge of the water issues and what seems to be indicative of corporate America snatching up water rights.
Awesome stuff guys!
Christine Daukas