San Francisco Bay Saline Water Barrier collection

Finding aid prepared by Randal Brandt, WRCA Technical Services Librarian, and Vanessa Yan.
Special Collections & University Archives
The UCR Library
P.O. Box 5900
University of California
Riverside, California 92517-5900
Phone: 951-827-3233
Fax: 951-827-4673
© 1999
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: San Francisco Bay Saline Water Barrier collection
Date (inclusive): 1920-1963
Collection Number: WRCA 116
Extent: 0.83 linear feet (2 boxes)
Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
Riverside, CA 92517-5900
Abstract: The collection consists of materials covering various saline water barrier plans for San Francisco Bay, with emphasis on the Reber Plan.
Languages: The collection is in English.


The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [date if possible]. San Francisco Bay Saline Water Barrier collection (WRCA 116). Water Resources Collections and Archives. Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

Acquisition Information

Provenance unknown.

Processing History

Processed by Randal Brandt, WRCA Technical Services Librarian, and Vanessa Yan, 1999.

Collection Number

Collection number updated February 2019. Legacy collection number was MS 84/3. This change was part of a project in 2018/2019 to update the collection numbers for collections in the Water Resources Collections and Archives.

Historical Note

During the early 20th century, San Francisco Bay Area officials considered many different ideas for solving a variety of problems, including a dwindling supply of fresh water, congested roadways, insufficient means to handle trans-bay traffic, and the encroachment of saline waters into the upper San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In response to these problems, several visionary individuals and groups developed multi-purpose plans for the area.
By far, the most popular and well-publicized plan was the Reber Plan. Originally called the San Francisco Bay Project, the plan was developed by John Reber, a former schoolteacher and theatrical producer. Reber's plan would create two fresh water lakes in the upper and lower bays by means of earth and rock fill dams between Richmond and Marin County, and San Francisco and Oakland. Over these dams would pass high-speed roads and railways. The Reber Plan claimed it would provide 20,000 acres of additional filled land, increase the deep-water harbor by 50 miles, and conserve 2,400,000 acre-feet of fresh water annually. Critics pointed out the plan's destruction of commercial fisheries, increased sewage disposal problems, adverse effects on the ports of Oakland, Stockton, and Sacramento and flooding potential. Although it attracted considerable attention, even that of the editors of the Saturday Evening Post, the Reber Plan was opposed by the State of California, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers and was never adopted.

Collection Scope and Contents

This collection consists of reports, correspondence, addresses, essays, news clippings, magazine and journal articles, maps, and drawings detailing several ideas and schemes for constructing salt-water barriers across San Francisco Bay.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged topically into 2 series as follows:
  • Series 1. Reber Plan, 1930-1962, undated
  • Series 2. Miscellaneous Saline Water Barrier Materials, 1920-1963

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Reber, John, 1887-1960
Savage, John L. (John Lucian), 1879-1967
Schedler, C. W. (Carl William)
Biemond plan
Bridges -- San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
Dams -- San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
Saline water barriers -- California -- San Francisco Bay
Saltwater encroachment -- California -- Delta Region
Water resources development -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area

Genres and Forms of Materials



Series 1. Reber Plan 1930-1962, undated

Box 1, Folder 1

Joyous map of the Reber Plan undated

Scope and Contents

New Year's card sent out by Mr. and Mrs. John Reber; includes Reber's business card.
Box 1, Folder 2

Reber, John. Statement on behalf of the Reber Plan 1946

Scope and Contents

Includes biographical information and Reber's history of the development of his plan.
Box 1, Folder 3

Legislation related to the Reber Plan 1949-1953

Scope and Contents

Bills introduced to the California legislature, includes: AB 1838; AB 488; 527; AB 3489; and SB 416.
Box 1, Folder 4

Resolutions supporting the Reber Plan 1941-1959

Scope and Contents

File includes resolutions and endorsements of the California legislature, the Mission Optimist Club, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the United States Congress, the California Farm Bureau, the Santa Clara County Farm Bureau, the St. Francis Kiwanis Club of San Francisco, the Shafter (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce, the Madera County National Farm Loan Association, the Madera County Board of Supervisors, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, and others.
Box 1, Folder 5

Statements and addresses by Brigadier General Philip G. Bruton on the Reber Plan 1948-1951

Scope and Contents

Includes presentations made at the Irrigation Districts Association of California, Semi-Annual Convention, the Farm Bureau Land and Water Western Regional Conference, and the Dolwig Committee of the California Assembly on Tidelands Reclamation and Development, Related Traffic Problems and Relief of Congestion on Transbay Crossings.
Box 1, Folder 6

California Water, Transit and Defense Project, Inc. 1952

Scope and Contents

Correspondence pertaining to the Reber Plan between Henry E. Tweed and Bernard A. Etcheverry, brochure entitled Water for 30 million Californians, and memoranda.
Box 1, Folder 7

Allen Engineering Associates, Inc. 1952-1955

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, maps, brochures, and proposals chiefly related to "The High Line" Toll Expressway and Water Pipe Lines.
Box 1, Folder 8

C. W. Schedler file 1946-1955

Scope and Contents

Includes Comments on the Reber Plan, The Reber Plan: data taken from report of the Joint Army-Navy Board on an Additional Crossing of San Francisco Bay, and Salinity control barriers in the San Francisco Bay, which discusses the Reber Plan, the Biemond Plan, and other barrier plans.
Box 1, Folder 9

California Development Program undated

Scope and Contents

Materials lobbying for construction of salt water barriers "to accomplish the double purpose of conserving water plus solving trans-bay land transportation for all time to come."
Box 1, Folder 10

Pacific Rural Press 1947-1953

Scope and Contents

Reprints of articles published in California Farmer, letters written by editor John E. Pickett, etc.
Box 1, Folder 11

Miscellaneous statements, addresses, comments, correspondence, etc., related to the Reber Plan and other saline water barrier plans for San Francisco Bay 1949-1962

Scope and Contents

Includes: Statement on the Reber Plan to the Senate Committee on Public Works, San Francisco, December 12 1949 by William Q. Wright; Statement by the Bureau of Reclamation relative to the water problems of the San Francisco Bay Area, December 1949; Recreational aspects of the Reber Plan, December 5, 1949 by Miss Josephine D. Randall, San Francisco Superintendent of Recreation; Testimony by Col. Dwight F. Johns, Division Engineer, before the hearings of Senate Subcommittee on Rivers and Harbors and Flood Control, San Francisco, December 12, 1949; Statement before the Fact-Finding Committee of the California Assembly on Tidelands Reclamation and Development, Related Traffic Problems, and Relief of Congestion on Transbay Crossings, San Francisco, March 7-8, 1951 by John E. Pickett; Representative sites for salt water barriers below Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, October 16, 1952 by T. R. Simpson; Statement of comments and proposals concerning California water shortage, Bay Area reclamation, and transbay crossings, June 9, 1959 by Andrew C. Swanson; Barriers in the San Francisco Bay system, April 29, 1955 by Walter G. Schulz; Salt routing in a tidal estuary, 1956? by Don H. Nance; San Francisco Bay barrier study, 1962 by W. J. Homan.
Box 1, Folder 12

The Savage report 1951

Scope and Contents

Summaries, comments, etc. on Report on development of the San Francisco Bay Region, by John L. Savage and International Engineering Company, focusing on the portions of the report dealing with the Reber Plan, by C. W. Schedler, John E. Pickett, and R. F. Kelker, Jr.
Box 1, Folder 13

Press releases announcing hearings, meetings, publications, etc., related to the Reber Plan 1950-1954

Box 1, Folder 14

Maps, diagrams, etc., of the Reber Plan 1942-1954

Box 1, Folder 15

Magazine articles, reprints, etc., on the Reber Plan 1930-1958

Scope and Contents

Includes: The salt water barrier, by Ben Allen, published in Pacific Purchasor, April 1930; San Francisco Bay Project, published in Western Construction News, March 1942; The Reber Plan, by Dan Cameron, published in California Engineer, December 1947; They want to rebuild San Francisco Bay, by Frank J. Taylor, published in the Saturday Evening Post, November 18, 1950; The great San Francisco Bay bridge fracas: ol' man Reber, he jest keeps rollin' along, published in Fortnight, November 26, 1951; The Reber Plan, by Loren Salladay, published in San Jose State Engineer, December 1954; etc.
Box 1, Folder 16

Newspaper clippings on the Reber Plan and saline water barriers 1946-1958

Box 2, Folder 17

Nishkian, L. H. Report on the Reber Plan and bay land crossing to Joint Army-Navy Board, San Francisco, August 12-15, 1946. San Francisco: Real Estate Association of San Francisco, Inc. distributor 1946

Scope and Contents

Includes reprints of articles appearing in San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco News, Engineering News-Record, Pacific Rural Press, and San Francisco Progress.
Box 2, Folder 18

Schedler, C. W. Disadvantages of the Reber Plan presented before Joint Army-Navy Board on Second Bay Crossing, San Francisco, California August 1946

Box 2, Folder 19

Allin, B. C. Analysis of the Reber Plan for hearing before Joint Army-Navy Board on Second Bay Crossing, San Francisco, Calif. 1946 August 12

Scope and Contents

Statement of consulting engineer against the Reber Plan.
Box 2, Folder 20

Schedler, C. W. Comments on the Reber Plan December 1949

Scope and Contents

Prepared for Sen. Sheridan Downey at the hearing of Public Works Committee in San Francisco, California.
Box 2, Folder 21

Savage, John L. Report on development of the San Francisco Bay Region. San Francisco: International Engineering Company, Inc. January 1951

Scope and Contents

Prepared for the Fact-Finding Committee of the California Assembly on Tidelands Reclamation and Development, Related Traffic Problems and Relief of Congestion on Transbay Crossings, January 1951 Includes significant discussion of the Reber Plan and recommendations for modification.

Series 2. Miscellaneous Saline Water Barrier Materials 1920-1963

Box 2, Folder 22

Cushing, Paul J. Salt water barriers in the San Francisco Bay 1953 March 6

Scope and Contents

Address presented before the American Society of Civil Engineers, at San Francisco, California. Discusses various barrier plans, including the Reber Plan, Savage Plan, etc.
Box 2, Folder 23

Cushing, Paul J. Analysis and report on a salt water barrier dam across north San Francisco Bay below San Pablo Bay 1953 March 25

Scope and Contents

Report developed with the assistance and concurrence of Warren H. McBryde, John Reber, Capt. O. W. Swainson, Gen. Philip G. Bruton and others. Discusses several possible sites.
Box 2, Folder 24

American Society of Civil Engineers, San Francisco Section, Committee on Bay Barriers. Bibliography on San Francisco Bay barriers circa 1954

Box 2, Folder 25

Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Water Committee. Summary of Walker R. Young report on the salt water barrier project below confluence of Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, California 1930 December 1

Box 2, Folder 26

C. C. Walker file 1920-1930

Scope and Contents

Walker's plan was to build a barrier dam across the Golden Gate instead of a bridge. Includes correspondence, pamphlet (Dam - bridge, which?), etc.
Box 2, Folder 27

Commonwealth Club of California 1929-1930

Scope and Contents

Reports, addresses, remarks, etc., related to salt water barriers presented to various sections of the Club. Includes The salt water barrier, published in Transactions of the Commonwealth Club of California, vol. 24, no. 9 (December 31, 1929).
Box 2, Folder 28

Analyses of proposals considered by the Hoover-Young Commission as solutions to the salt water encroachment problem in the upper reaches of San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta 1930

Scope and Contents

Letter reports to C. W. Schedler, President of the Association of Water Users of Contra Costa and Solano Counties, Pittsburg, Calif., dated December 8th and December 19th, respectively, written by H. W. Crozier, Consulting Engineer.
Box 2, Folder 29

Report on Sacramento, San Joaquin Kern Rivers, California : prepared under provisions of H.Doc. no. 308, 69th Cong., 1st sess. Appendix "D", Tidal currents silt circa 1930

Scope and Contents

Includes: Study of tidal currents and silt movements in the San Francisco Bay Area with particular reference to the effect of a salt water barrier upon them / by C.I. Grimm, Principal Engineer.
Box 2, Folder 30

Study of tidal currents and silt movements in the San Francisco Bay Area with particular reference to the effect of a salt water barrier upon them. Study of the design and operation of a salt water barrier in the San Francisco Bay 1930

Scope and Contents

"Prepared in connection with report upon Sacramento, San Joaquin and Kern Rivers under provisions of House Document 308, 69th Cong., 1st sess."
Box 2, Folder 31

Water problems of California 1953-1955

Scope and Contents

Includes: Salt water barriers in the San Francisco Bay, by B. L. Nishkian (presented at San Francisco Convention, March 3-6, 1953, Waterways Division, American Society of Civil Engineers); Water problems of California, by O. W. Swainson (comments made in September 1955 on the feasibility of construction of barriers in the San Francisco Bay system; discusses the Biemond Plan).
Box 2, Folder 32

Bay Barriers, Incorporated, Petaluma, California 1952-1962

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, addresses, etc., of Beaven J. Badger, President.
Box 2, Folder 33

San Francisco Salinity Control Barrier Investigation of the Water Project Authority of the State of California 1953-1954

Scope and Contents

Investigation authorized by the Abshire-Kelly Salinity Control Barrier Act of 1953. Includes: Statement with regard to the San Francisco Salinity Control Barrier Investigation, by Herbert A. Howlett and second and third progress reports of the Board of Consultants.
Box 2, Folder 34

Tomasini, T. A. A positive program, 1920-1955: a combined road and water system for California: exhibits data: Tomasini Combined Projects circa 1955

Scope and Contents

Includes copies of correspondence.
Box 2, Folder 35

United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. San Francisco District. Comprehensive survey of San Francisco Bay and tributaries, California: summary of appendices, exhibits and supplements July 1963

Scope and Contents

Survey examines several aspects of the feasibility of constructing salt water barriers. Includes: Chronological development of comprehensive San Francisco Bay survey. July 1963