Dear Fellow Stanford Alumni:

Since its founding, Stanford University has built a reputation as one of the finest universities in the world. While the educational excellence of its students is a top priority, the Stanford community—our community—is also united by a higher purpose: to make the world a better place. Protecting the natural environment and preserving ecological balance are core Stanford values. However, Stanford's water diversion facilities and the 125-year old Searsville Dam are causing significant harm to native wildlife including endangered steelhead trout, which depend upon Stanford-managed streams for habitat and seasonal spawning.  

Scientists have identified the San Francisquito watershed as one of the anchor systems for the recovery of steelhead in the Bay Area. But, unfortunately, after more than a decade of research and other efforts to inspire change, the Administration has yet to take action to protect steelhead and restore critical habitats.

We can do better. Stanford should confirm its commitment to sustainability by phasing out and removing the obsolete Searsville Dam and its sediment-choked reservoir. Stanford should seize the opportunity to reverse decades of environmental damage wrought by unnecessary and harmful water infrastructure. 

The time is right for Stanford to implement the following solutions:

1. Stop harmful water diversions at the Searsville Dam immediately and permanently.

2. Capture and remove nonnative predators from the Searsville Reservoir area.

3. Commit to a plan of action that phases out and removes the Searsville Dam as soon as possible, while also addressing other obsolete fish barriers and outdated water infrastructure in order to restore habitat and reclaim miles of historic spawning ground for threatened steelhead.

Because Stanford values the voices of its alumni, students, and other community members, we need to be heard on this important issue at this critical time. Please join us in encouraging Stanford to protect its legacy as a good environmental steward.


Name *
*If you are a current student, former student, staff, or otherwise affiliated, include the year or years that best describe your experience at Stanford. Not a Stanford alum or affiliate? Sign the public petition at instead!
Tell us about your experience at Stanford, your thoughts about the watershed, and reasons that you support efforts to restore wildlife habitat. If you prefer for your name and/or comments to not appear publicly, no problem, just let us know! **Please note that it can take up to 24 hours for your name to appear on the list below.**



Parker Blackman, Class of ‘90        

Lise Schickel Goddard, Class of ‘82        

Tony Kelly, Class of ‘86

Heather Kuiper, Class of ‘89  

Amy Terry Mar, Class of ‘82  

Joan Wood, Class of ‘48        

Thomas Lee, Class of ‘88         

Ariana Cox, Class of ‘87

Peter Freed, Class of ‘02  

Andrew Baglino, Class of ‘04        

Mandeep Gill, Postdoctoral Fellow

Douglas Spalding, Class of ‘83        

Stephanie Fagliano, Class of ‘08        

Chris Balz, Class of ‘90

Tobias Aguirre, Class of ‘98        

Natalya Hasan-Hill, Class of ‘13        

Megan Olejniczak, Class of ‘13

Sean Anderson, Postdoctoral Fellow 

Jake Fathman, Class of '12

Karen Telleen-Lawton, Class of '78

Spencer Sawaske, Class of '14

Layton Borkan, Class of '67

Elizabeth Thompson, Class of '94

Lucia Milburn, Class of '69

Richard Lanman, Class of '77

Malcom Clark, Class of '53

Bror Högbom, Class of '71

Justin Hayes, Class of '93

Christopher Hanson, Class of '88

Nancy Reyering, Class of '95

Janel Hooper, Class of '79

John Toor, Class of '80

Yee-Yie Fogarty, Class of '05

Michael McCrystal, Class of '91

Victor Lovell, Class of '57

Hugh Kuhn, Class of '78

Eric Bigler, Class of '64

Mary Wood, Class of '87

Nick Damiano, Class of '06

Kirk Phelps, Class of '03

Kirk Phelps, Class of '81

Howard Cohen, Class of '82

Christopher Morace, Class of '94

Gregory Wright, Class of '70

Roth Herrlinger, Class of '96

Joon Nak Choi, Class of '10

Virginia Van Kuran, Class of '70

Alan Ramo, Class of '71

David Schlissel, Class of ‘69

Kimberley Milligan, Class of ‘91  

George Cattermole, Class of ‘67        

Judith Murphy, Class of ‘66

Michael Richards, Class of ‘96        

John McMorrow, Class of ‘93        

Jane Hunter, Class of ‘66

Lawrence Garlick, Class of ‘71        

Elizabeth Soderstrom, Class of '84        

Rebecca Conway, Class of '47

Gail Sredanovic, Class of '65

Shannon Delaney, Class of '02

Eric Anderson, Class of '93

Kathleen Welsh, Class of '91

Diane Roark, Class of '53

Mike Lanza, Class of '85

Martin Abramson, Class of '56

George Baer, Class of '57

John Klein, Class of '67

Robert Stoecker, Class of '67

Anne Makepeace, Class of '69

John Lasersohn, Class of '86

Deborah Peck, Class of '69

Natalie Arnoldi, Class of '12

Randall Von Feldt, Class of '89

John Borland, Class of '93

Barbara Simon Njus, Class of '69

James Cook, Class of '13

Marty Walker, Class of '79

Susanna McAdam, Class of '78

David Kastanis, Class of '86

Edward Driscoll Jr., Class of '85

Allison Hinckley, Class of '18

Cory Carman, Class of '01

Connor Lanman, Class of '13

Josh Schott, Class of '14

Douglas Deitch, Class of '74

Duncan Elkins, Class of '94

Cord Phelps, Class of '76

Cord Phelps, Class of '09

James Van Houten, Class of '94

Nicholas Halsey, Class of '83

Nancy Phelps, Class of '12

Nolan Gallagher, Class of '08

Sharon Wormhoudt, Class of '76

I have lived near San Francisquito Creek for more than fifty years and have earned three degrees from Stanford University, including a doctorate. My mother and grandfather were also Stanford alumni. They would be dismayed, as I am, at Stanford’s lack of vision in keeping this dam in place for so long as well as the apparent wavering on a decision to do the right thing and remove it now. If the public has to force the university to respect our environment, so be it. However, it is disappointing that Stanford University has become so insensitive to the health of the San Francisquito creek.
— Victor Lovell, Class of '57
Stanford did a good job in its stewardship of this area, including Jasper Ridge, but the actual creek needs to be restored to its natural state in order for true restoration to occur. Do the right thing, as freeing the creek will not only restore steelhead, but the domino effect from that will restore native plants and animals to the watershed.
— John Lasersohn, Class of '86
Stanford’s behavior shames us all.
— Diane Roark, Class of '53
As a Stanford graduate and a resident of Portola Valley, I am in and amongst the great environmental treasures of this area all of the time. My children play in the numerous creeks and hiking trails on a weekly basis. Living on a creek that was once the habitat of steelhead trout, I strongly support efforts to return our environs to the natural state as much as possible. Realizing this is impossible to do completely, I feel it is important to take action in cases where this is feasible. Searsville Dam is absolutely one of those situations.
— Randall Von Feldt, Class of '89
This is a nationwide problem, and Stanford has the expertise, the resources and the ownership of this site to show the world the right way to tackle this problem and correct it.
— Edward Driscoll Jr., Class of '85
I hope that Stanford can commit to the removal of Searsville Dam and the restoration of the original wetlands in the area. I expect that the original wetlands supported just as many bats and other species of special concern as the current wetlands do.
— Richard Lanman, Class of '77
Searsville Dam serves no purpose that cannot be met by diverting more water to Felt Lake. This option would also be cheaper to operate due to less silt build-up since it is not a main stem dam but a diversion from the main stem. Removing Searsville Dam will also allow stealhead to return to their historic spawning areas upstream of the dam.
— David Kastanis, Class of '86
As a Stanford graduate student in the late 70s, a lifelong defender of wildlife and protector of natural habitats, and as an almost 40-year Woodside Trail Rider, I have a keen and very local interest in undoing the environmental damage caused by the damming of San Francisquito Creek at Searsville. Stanford has a solid record of demolishing structures that have outlived their usefulness, and Searsville Dam is certainly one of those structures. It is time for Stanford, in its responsibility as steward of its lands, to begin the process of removing Searsville Dam, allowing San Francisquito Creek to restore itself as a habitat for wild steelhead trout and other native fauna and flora.
— Susanna McAdam, Class of '78
As an ethical institution, Stanford should be in the forefront of environmental reclamation, rehabilitation, and preservation.
— Barbara Simon Njus, Class of '69
This is (1) the right thing to do (2) good for Stanford, which can use it as a model of local conservation and ecological integrity.
— George Baer, Class of '57
Not only is this the right thing to do, but it is also a fantastic research opportunity.
— Justin Hayes, Class of '93
I did habitat restoration on Jasper Ridge as an undergrad and always thought Searsville dam was a blot.
— Jane Hunter, Class of ‘66
Stanford needs to use its prestige and considerable resources as an educational institution to support environmental repair and sustainability....particularly in its own backyard.
— Layton Borkan, Class of '67
For years the Stanford development people have acted like the 300 pound gorilla who sleeps wherever he wants. This is one place they can do the right thing.
— Gail Sredanovic, Class of '65
The dam serves no useful purpose other than watering the golf course. The dam is over 100+ years old and not only contributes to the destruction of a critical watershed not only important for wildlife but for the basic ebb/flow of natural silting action of the Bay lands. We must act now to take down this Dam before nature or acts of god (earthquake) takes it down for us.

“Die Luft der Freiheit weht” - “the wind of freedom blows.” Stanford must live up to its motto and do the right thing here and free the water and the wetlands from its 100 year old jail sentence. Let’s lead and not follow here. There have been over 500 dams already removed across the United States. Let’s not wait until its too late. Let’s restore the wetlands and nature itself.
— James Cook, Class of '13

Photo courtesy of Menlo Park resident and Stanford alumnus Mike Lanza, who often explores the San Francisquito Creek with his young children. This dead adult steelhead was stranded in 2013 in a dry creek bed downstream of Stanford University's Searsville Dam and other water diversions. 

Photo courtesy of Menlo Park resident and Stanford alumnus Mike Lanza, who often explores the San Francisquito Creek with his young children. This dead adult steelhead was stranded in 2013 in a dry creek bed downstream of Stanford University's Searsville Dam and other water diversions. 

Like salmon, steelhead return to their home streams to reproduce, but often encounter deadly conditions in the process. Photo by Mike Lanza, 2013. 

Like salmon, steelhead return to their home streams to reproduce, but often encounter deadly conditions in the process. Photo by Mike Lanza, 2013.