Bellota DamCourtesy of Gail Erwin and the San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum
Clearing of channels and erection of three dams as "necessary and permanent improvements."
Mormon Slough crosses the Calaveras River from northeast to southwest in the area of the community of Bellota, about five miles east of Linden. The first dam was built in the vicinity of the current Bellota Dam in 1905, but washed out the same year. In 1929 the Linden Irrigation District was incorporated, with plans to divide the water from the Calaveras River at Bellota and create a series of percolation dams to replace the ground water table. A CWA project was authorized late in 1933 to clean out the Calaveras River and construct a dam at Bellota. Local opposition to the plan resulted in an injunction against the project, later over-ridden by Harry L. Hopkins, President Roosevelt’s Federal Works Administrator, and the project was completed. In 1948 the Stockton East San Joaquin Conservation District was organized. A
concrete diversion dam was built at Bellota that year to force water into the old Calaveras River and aid in replenishment of underground water for Stockton. (Smith 1976).
Bellota Dam was used by San Joaquin County residents for fishing and recreation for a number of years (By report of Sally Spenker, resident of Lodi, California).
Today the Bellota Dam is under the authority of the Stockton East Water District. It is surrounded by chain-link fencing and is inaccessible to the general public. It is used to pool water that is then pumped to the District’s drinking water treatment plant for the city of Stockton. Eventually the district plans to replace the dam, when funds are available. The dam also operates as a weir and is used to facilitate the movement of fish from the Calaveras River with the use of two fish ladders (Lutz 2005).
Project submitted by Gail Erwin, with the San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum. "CWA workers on Linden Project," Stockton Record, 13 February 1934, p. 1. "Linden Irrigation District will hold special election tomorrow: excavation of cut in North Slough planned," Stockton Record, February 28, 1934, p. 1. [on the tax assessment on the district to complete the work] "Linden Irrigation District completes Pezzi, Webster Dams," Stockton Record, November 22, 1934, p. 5. Don R. Smith, From Stage Stop to Friendly Community: A History of Linden. Linden, California: Scio Odd Fellows Lodge No. 102 and Linden Publications, 197. Warren Lutz, "Water flow, ladder problems keep some fish from making it upstream," Stockton Record, December 14, 2005. www.calaveras river.com/Stockton-Record_121405.pdf, August 20, 2009. Also see http://www.fws.gov/stockton/afrp/project.cfm?code=2003-09.
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