The Calaveras Dam site
The Calaveras Reservoir, located in Santa Clara County, holds nearly 31 million gallons of fresh water and serves 2.7 million people in the Bay Area
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recognized the need to replace the dam, originally built in 1925. Factors such as material degredation and its location along an active faults necessitated its relocation about 1000 feet south.
Excavating the site for the new dam uncovered many fossils. Futher, when fossils are found on public land, they become part of public history and are protected by law in perpetuity.
Enter the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Assistant Director Mark Goodwin (now Emeritus) helped form a partnership with the SFPUC and the UCMP became the official repository for these fossils. This new contract provided funding support for two years. The UCMP preparatory lab was reopened in June 2017, and began receiving fossils in the fall.
Some statistics from this project:
- 10 semester-long GSR stipends
- 8 undergraduate students, 3 volunteers
- 3,000 undergraduate hours in the prep lab
- 3,000 graduate hours in the prep lab
- 4,000 staff hours in the prep lab
- 20+ whale skulls prepared
- 4,000+ shark teeth identifi ed
- well over 10,000 invertebrate fossils
- several broken sledgehammers and quite a bit of glue.