SMUD Update – it doesn’t hurt to be vocal

From Theresa L. Simsiman of ROAR! Restore Our American River:

Since Jim Shetler, Assistant General Manager, Energy Supply, at SMUD took it personally upon himself to restore flow last Sunday after Hilde Schweitzer brought to his attention the situation with the whitewater symposium – I took the opportunity to acknowledge his efforts at yesterday’s board meeting while Nate Rangel announced that the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce would endorse the Agency/NGO Alternative & Soren Jespersen presented some excellent graphics comparing the natural hydrograph, SMUD’s proposal & the alternative. (Select October 19th & jump to #8)

Marking the first day in which SMUD & the Agencies/NGO’s could officially begin negotiating again – an encouraging sign came in the form of the representative from the Forest Service indicating to Jim a willingness to have productive negotiations.

On the private boating front – after an extensive email dialogue with Hilde, last Saturday’s flow fiasco and subsequent email from Mark Davis & other vocal boaters – Jim agreed to meet after the board meeting. In brief it was the most productive contact with SMUD the private boaters have had to date. First they acknowledge our position as a separate & distinct stakeholder of private whitewater recreational users – not just being lumped into the commercial interests as the “rafters”. Second, we discussed how to facilitate better communication between the private boaters & SMUD. And irregardless of what may actually go on during the negotiations, Jim expressed a real desire to provide for the private boaters in the interim of an actual license – which in the best case scenario could be at least 2 yrs away. So look for a more coordinated effort communicated by Steve Sorey (key SMUD “gatekeeper”) Bill Center & Hilde. Also as an added bonus of direct communication – Hilde was able to get Steve to consider the possibility of Ice House flows for this weekend – we will get the word out today if this is a go. And while we mostly focused on the interim communication – I believe Jim & Steve at least get the concept that ultimately we want a specified flow schedule for the months outside of summer.

I want to close by sending out a thanks to all who contacted SMUD after Saturday’s events – it doesn’t hurt to be vocal.