First Advisor

Barbara Brower

Date of Publication

Spring 6-14-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Dam retirement -- Political aspects -- California -- Monterey County -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 79 pages)


This study examines the role of politics in the removal of the 106-foot tall San Clemente Dam. The removal project and negotiations provide a case study of the contemporary phenomenon of dam removal. My analysis joins a growing body of social science literature on the social, political, and human dimensions of removal. The San Clemente Dam, which impounded the Carmel River near Monterey, California, was removed in 2015, the largest such project completed in California. Drawing on political ecology and science and technology studies, and using a mixed qualitative approach, I assess both the role of politics in shaping the project and the politics affected through or by the removal. I use a broad, historically attentive analysis of the region to contextualize the political elements of the project. My findings demonstrate and focus on several political dimensions of the removal project, including funding, micro-political strategies, and the prioritizing of particular ecosystem functions and services in the post-removal landscape.


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