Artist's Vision of the Restoration of Hetch Hetchy

Artwork by Daved English

Daved English painting of first stage of Hetch Hetchy restoration.

The meadows and streams of hetch Hetchy have been flooded under the water of a reservoir for more than half a century. What if the demolition of the dam and removal of the reservoir did take place? How would the vally look immediately after the reservoir is drained? After 10 years? After 20? After 100?

Although it is impossible to predict exactly the answers to these questions, estimates can be made. Naturalists were asked to calculate the devastation wrought by the dam and then to project the various stages of recovery. Artist Daved English then drew four of these stages.

The first paining, below, shows the valley immediately after the reservoir has been drained. What people will see is not only the collected mud and drowned trees from the reservoir but the remains of the dam construction project: roads cut into the valley, waste piles, even a short railorad line that was used to carry materials to the building site.