The Bureau of Reclamation has sent geologists to the Shasta Dam in order to begin collecting data for a proposal to raise Shasta Dam by 18 1/2 feet. The data collectors will be working around and deep within the dam within the next few months in order to characterize concrete and geology conditions.
The data collection is part of the $20 million allocated to creating a proposal to raise the dam, which was approved by Congress in March in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will be seeking construction bids for the project in September 2019, and hope to award the contract by December 2019.
The plan, aimed at increasing California water storage and helping central valley farmers, is predicted by officials to cost around $1.3 billion. Officials hope the construction would begin in 2020, with construction taking around 5 years to complete.
The current Shasta Dam and Reservoir Enlargement Project envisions raising the existing dam by 18 ½ feet, providing an additional 630,000 acre-feet of stored water for the environment and for water users. The Bureau claims that enlarging the reservoir will improve water supply reliability for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and environmental uses; reduce food damage; and improve water temperatures and water quality in the Sacramento River below the dam for anadromous fish survival.
The project has been opposed by the state of California, along many other local groups, due to the impact it will have on the Shasta Cascade region.
Raising the dam will completely alter Shasta Lake and the tributaries flowing in and out of the lake, including the McCloud River, which is protected by the Wild and Scenic Waters Act. The plan will also fully submerge sacred Native American land.