Friday January 20, 2023

Monterey County Now

As parts of the Carmel Valley flooded last week, it highlighted the stark risks of living in a floodplain, and for some residents, perhaps, was a reminder that they indeed live in a floodplain. But for residents and businesses in lower Carmel Valley, there is hope that in the future those risks will be less.

Since 2010, Big Sur Land Trust has been working on a “green infrastructure” project called Carmel River FREE (Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement) that would restore a former agricultural field in a natural floodplain that would give the river another path to the sea when its flows get high. The 128-acre property, known as Odello East, was donated to BSLT by Clint and Margaret Eastwood. It is located south of the river and just east of Highway 1.

“With these atmospheric rivers we’ve all been experiencing, it’s a very vivid reminder, and a painful reminder, of the need for a green infrastructure project like this,” says Rachel Saunders, BSLT’s director of conservation. “We hope all the agencies get a renewed sense of urgency to get this project to happen.”

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