PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — Elected Officials, conservation groups and community leaders from across the state gathered in Carmel on June 21, 2013 to celebrate the groundbreaking to tear down San Clemente Dam, according to a press release.

The event, hosted by California American Water in partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy, NOAA Fisheries and The Nature Conservancy, included state and federal representatives as well as leadership from various nonprofit organizations that contributed to the dam removal effort, noted the release.

“This project will be the largest dam removal in state history,” said Rep. Sam Farr, D-California. “It marks the beginning of a new era for this river, its inhabitance and the community it benefits. The project itself also marks a new way forward in terms of public-private partnerships and working together to accomplish major infrastructure endeavors like this one. This model could be applied to other dams in the state that have exceeded their useful life.”

Since it was built in 1921, the San Clemente Dam has impacted people and nature along the Carmel River. As a result, once vibrant steelhead runs have dramatically decreased and lives and property below the dam are threatened with the possible collapse of the seismically unsafe structure.

“After years of hard work, it is an honor to join the project team and other dignitaries to celebrate the removal of the antiquated San Clemente Dam and restoration of the Carmel River Watershed,” said state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

The antiquated dam does not provide significant water storage for the community and given the state’s requirement the dam to be seismically safe, is more of a risk than a benefit.

The reservoir is over 95 percent filled with more than 2.5 million cubic yards of sediment and a remaining water storage capacity of only about 70 acre-feet.

Read the entire press release here.