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Save the Canal files lawsuit against EID

Save the Canal files lawsuit against EID

We need your help now!  Save the Canal has filed a lawsuit against EID to protect this valuable asset to our community.

Please stand with us:

IN JUNE 2015 many members of our community submitted comments related to El Dorado Irrigation District’s (EID) scoping document for the proposed Upper Main Ditch Piping Project.  These comment letters identified major concerns in regards to the proposed piping project including, but not limited to, habitat loss, aesthetic degradation, loss of the recreation resource, riparian habitat destruction and wildlife impacts, the increased risk of fire and the loss of a firefighting resource, and the destruction of a working historical landmark. These comments basically forced EID’s hand to create an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and follow the rules of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

IN THE SUMMER OF 2016, Chuck Vanderpool posted a handwritten sign in his yard along the canal trail asking “If anyone wants to save this waterway, give me a call”.  Starting with this simple sign the community began to organize an opposition to the proposed project.

LATER THAT FALL OF 2016, at the home of Millie Perry, the group that was to become Save the Canal met for the first time. Since then members of Save the Canal (STEC) have been meeting, fundraising, writing, submitting, mediating, attending board meetings, interviewing, parading, protesting, and writing comments– working tirelessly for more than 3 years to save the upper main ditch, and the many values it brings to our community, from being destroyed by EID. STEC has not done this alone.  We have had the help and contributions of time and financial resources, both large and small, from many hundreds of concerned citizens – Many thanks to all that have been, and continue to, contribute along the way!

DESPITE OUR EFFORTS, ON APRIL 22, 2019 the EID Board of Directors in a vote of 3-2, certified the final environmental impact report and approved the Upper Main Ditch piping project.  The Board adopted the Blair Road Alignment alternative, which generally follows the road except for the stretches below the Blair Road Bridge. They plan to simply abandon the ditch and let it dry up and contend that this will result in no significant impacts to our community or the environment.  They offer no significant mitigations to the loss of resources described above.  Furthermore, they expect the adjacent property owners to assume the liability for maintaining the ditch which currently serves as the drainage system of a 300 acre watershed.  The previously abandoned lower main ditch has resulted in flood damage to many properties in the Cedar Grove area during storm events.

ON MAY 21, 2019, Save the Canal filed a CEQA lawsuit against the El Dorado Irrigation District over plans to pipe the El Dorado Canal in Pollock Pines. It is our contention that unless the canal is maintained and adequate flow is provided to support the surrounding habitat and the many community benefits that the canal provides, this project will result in significant and unmitigated environmental impacts.

A copy of our filing is included below: 

 2019.3.20 FINAL STEC Petition for Writ of Mandate


We really need your help now. Save the Canal has already raised thousands of dollars with your generous support. Perhaps you’re in a position to make another donation this year? If you’d prefer to make an anonymous donation, you can let us know either through gofundme or by sending a note with your check. We respect your privacy.


OR- MAIL US YOUR CHECK made payable to Save the Canal

This way STEC gets all of the funds as there are no service fees. Send it to:
Save the Canal
2241 Pinewood Lane
Pollock Pines, CA 95726

–OUR NEXT FUNDRAISER WILL BE A BAKE SALE held at the Pollock Pines Safeway on Saturday, June 29th from 9am-2pm.  We are accepting donations of baked goods for the event.  Participation is easy – simply drop off baked goods between 9-10 and place in single serving bags that we will sell for $1 each. Or come by and make a donation to support the cause.  Please see our Save the Canal Facebook page for details at:

It has been a very busy 3 years and we could not have gotten this far without your continued support. We run into people all the time around town cheering on our efforts and IT DOES make a difference. You make the difference. Let’s make the difference!

Thank you,

All of us at Save the Canal


DEIR comments are due July 23, 2018. PLEASE download this very important PDF designed to help you with your comments.

DEIR comments are due July 23, 2018. PLEASE download this very important PDF designed to help you with your comments.

download now:

Hello friends,
If you were at our meeting on 7/11 you likely picked up these flyers. If you were not able to be at our meeting, we wanted you to have this PDF. Save the Canal created it in order to educate the public about some of the major impacts of the Upper Main Ditch project. It can be used as a resource in order to formulate your comments that are due on July 23 by 5pm at EID. Any comments received by this time HAVE to be addressed in the final EIR document. The EIR document itself is over 1000 pages long.
Since your participation and your comments are SO important in this process, we wanted to simplify some of the major impacts.
You may prefer to access the entire DEIR document at:
Many thanks for your continued support and for joining us on this journey.
Save the Canal

download now:

I think I can….(continued)

I think I can….(continued)

Save the Canal is so incredibly grateful for the HEART and for the support this town and surrounding areas have shown us both last night and for the last 3 years. The room last night was filled with an energy and a buzz of community wanting to make a difference and wanting to make THE difference. AND. WE. ARE. Our hearts are full. Thank you for your inspiration.❤️

We all continue to work hard towards our end goal of “NO PROJECT”, alternative #4.

Act NOW or it is gone forever!
TOWH HALL 7/11 6-8pm

Act NOW or it is gone forever!
TOWH HALL 7/11 6-8pm











With the public comment period for the Draft EIR on the Upper Main Ditch Project coming to a close on July 23, at 5pm, the Save the Canal group is planning to focus on the public’s input to EID’s EIR at our upcoming town hall meeting. Comments that are to be included in the Final Public Hearing must be addressed by this deadline or they will be ignored. The primary focus at our July 11th meeting will be addressing specific issues we have pulled out of the Draft EIR in order to help the public with their comments and to help concerned citizens meet the deadline. That said, we WILL be allowing public comment, but it will be timed based on the number of folks wishing to make a comment.
Our schedule for the evening is tentatively as follows and subject to change: 

6:00-6:30– Open House/ displays will be set up to educate you on some of the issues and mitigations we believe EID is responsible for. We will be around the room to answer any questions you may have.
6:30-6:55- Public Comment
6:55-7:15– Save the Canal CEQA presentation

7:15-8:00– Comment writing/help/dialog and opportunity to raise issues that were not addressed.

If you’d like, you may leave your completed comments with us to deliver in person to EID.

Thanks to Dina Heidrich for the lovely photograph





HEY EID, why don’t you want our community to engage in discussion?

HEY EID, why don’t you want our community to engage in discussion?

Make sure to attend EID’s “Public Meeting”on 6/27 at 6pm.

HEY EID, why don’t you want our community to engage in discussion?

Open house–open forum the new kind of meeting? No it has been around for awhile. “An open forum hearing without an audience session precludes debate on a proposal’s merits. Parties do not hear opposing views first-hand—nor do they have an opportunity to clarify stances or raise questions about opposing viewpoints. Some critics charge that agencies use open forum hearings as a “divide-and-conquer” strategy. If differing views are not heard, the public may be surprised to find a controversy exists. When people hear one another, they develop an improved understanding of a proposal and its implications for other people.”

Save the Canal joins in on the 4th of July fun in Pollock Pines

Save the Canal joins in on the 4th of July fun in Pollock Pines

…and what could be more fun than a 30 foot long bright blue canal, lined in dancing people, green trees and good ‘ol American spirit, periodically being swallowed up by a shark mouth dressed like an EID pipe? See for yourself..check out our 3 minute long video….oh and we won first place too, exercising our first amendment rights…Thank you Rotary! Enjoy…and help us Save the Canal!

The El Dorado Canal is living history and stands as a testament to the American independence, determination, and ingenuity that we still celebrate today. Originally built in the gold rush era, the canal still serves our community today; delivering water to our towns, supporting our local agriculture, providing a fire fighting resource, creating wildlife habitat and a source of beauty to nature’s wonderland. It remains as an integral part of the rich and unique history of Pollock Pines and the fabric of our shared California heritage. Save the Canal invites you to join us in a celebration of our past and the enduring American spirit, as we work to protect this historical landmark.


MY TURN, Mountain Democrat 2-8-17 rebuttal, Jeff Leddy

MY TURN, Mountain Democrat 2-8-17 rebuttal, Jeff Leddy

My Turn: EID’s arguments don’t hold water

By From page A4 | February 08, 2017

 The recently published Mountain Democrat editorial “Pipe a Public Safety Priority,” Jan. 20, was extremely disappointing.  The article was simply plagiarized from the El Dorado Irrigation District newsletter, The Waterfront, and the author does nothing except spread the exaggerations and false claims that EID would like you to believe.

It is sad to see that my local newspaper appears to have become an EID shill and endorsed a project for which EID has not provided any reliable data or completed the environmental review process. On what, exactly, do they base that opinion? I guess I should not be surprised given that the paper’s long-time editor, Michael Raffety, now sits on the EID board.

This proposed project would pipe a three-mile section of open ditch that runs from Forebay Reservoir to the Gilmore Treatment Facility. The reality is that it faces wide-ranging community objections, will cost ratepayers millions of dollars and fails to meet the stated objectives.

The original, primary purpose of the project, to save 1,300 acre-feet of water annually, is simply not supported by the existing studies, including EID’s own numbers. Members of the EID’s Board of Directors refute the claim of 1,300 acre-feet, which is based on a 1977 claim that has already been successfully refuted in court. So EID has now resorted to fear tactics about contamination of our water supply (a dead skunk, tires, mattresses) to shift our attention away from that shortcoming.

With regard to the water quality issue, there are many miles of open ditch above the upper main ditch and Forebay. Yes, animals could meet their demise and fall in or people could choose to intentionally contaminate any portion of that system. The same is true for the rivers that feed the entire system.

Should we fence off Jenkinson Lake and ban all boating and human contact? Are you aware that the parking lots at Safeway/CVS drain directly down Forebay Road into Forebay Reservoir? I think I’d rather take my chances with a dead skunk once than think about the regular contamination of antifreeze, motor oil and transmission fluid coming from those parking lots. Parking lots that are filled with … you guessed it … tires. None of this will be addressed by piping a three-mile segment of the ditch.

According to the EID Gilmore Road Treatment Facility manager, the piped water will require the same treatment process as it does now. So what are we fixing?

The current situation is a 3-2 vote on the EID board, with those opposed (Greg Prada, Alan Day) pointing to the failure of the proposed project to meet the stated goals and the lack of fiscal responsibility in going forward with it (EID estimates more than $8 million). Those in favor (George Osborne, Raffety, Dale Coco) continue to cherry pick data and utilize fear tactics to justify the project. They do this to make the project eligible for grants, nevermind that the ratepayers will shoulder the greatest burden (more than $5 million by current estimates).

And so you are clear, EID is currently nearly $400 million in debt, not including unfunded pensions and other obligations.  That’s about $10,000 per ratepayer — and the debt just keeps growing despite the fact that they have doubled rates in the past 10 years. It always comes down to a 3-2 vote with Prada and Day as the voice of reason and Osborne, Coco and now Raffety (replacing big spender Bill George) recklessly putting us ever deeper in debt. Perhaps a recall vote is in order.

For those of us who live in Pollock Pines this is also a vital firefighting resource. Many of us do not even have fire hydrants. If you were here during the King Fire that risk is plenty clear. The plain truth is that sections of the ditch just above the Forebay were used as the final defense line that saved large portions of our town. That is a fact and I have the videos to prove it.

When they try to illicit fear of a terrorist plot to contaminate our water, please remember that a box of matches is a much more viable threat so I’d prefer to keep an open ditch, which serves as a three-mile “wet line” and source of firefighting water that protects our town over having a pipe that does neither.

I have lived along the ditch for nearly 20 years and walked the trail many hundreds of times. I’ve never found a dead animal, a tire or a mattress. Trout happily swimming, river otters, crawfish, ducks, songbirds, bobcats — those I see. This historical waterway has been here for 160 years and is part of the rich cultural heritage of this district. The local plant and animal life are adapted to its presence. Walk the trail and you will see pacific yew trees, myriad riparian plant species and the animals that rely on them. It is also a recreation resource used and valued by many of our human neighbors.    

Finally, are you aware that EID already has water rights well in excess of the county’s need, even when the entire General Plan is fully developed? EID sold more water to Southern California last year than the entire amount that flows through the upper main ditch. They have even referred to the past few years as an “administratively created drought” and encouraged us to “turn on the sprinklers.” So give me a break on the “water supply” issue.

The reality is that the state is trying to strip away our rights to any water gained through water conservation efforts anyway. So remember that they are spending your money, and I’m not opposed to wise use, but this project simply doesn’t meet that standard. If you want more information on what you can do to stop this project from going forward visit

Jeff Leddy is a Pollock Pines resident and member of the Save the Canal group.

We are grateful…..#givingtuesday

We are grateful…..#givingtuesday



We, each and every one of us with Save The Canal, are so thankful to all that have shown their support in this effort. We have collectively spent so many long days getting organized, developing strategies, attending board meetings, putting in countless hours sifting through documents….all with one common purpose – to save something that is truly cherished by all of us. We want to let you know how much it means to have the support of so many. Our mountain towns are certainly facing multiple challenges today, but perhaps the best part is experiencing us all joining forces to stand up against those that have shown a disregard for the character and values of our communities.

Yesterday there were a few tears of joy. Joy- in the affirmation that so many share in our vision, share in our determination, share in our commitment. Yes, there are many hurdles in front of us, but having the community come together is sure to put us over the top of each and every one. Together we will win! We had set a goal for #GivingTuesday and thanks to your generosity we have more than met that goal. Yesterday we earned $2814 bringing our total to $8229. We are about 1/3 of the way to meeting our legal expenses and feel very positive about moving forward.

We thank you.

Yesterday, from one of our donors:

“Every time I talk about where I grew up, I talk about “the ‘creek’ below my house”, and my mind flashes right back to it. I have so many wonderful memories of it- -light coming through the trees, the amber color of the sun, through the water. Crawdads, blackberries, big leaves, dogwood trees, time with my parents, and now, time with my own kids, there.”