Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Carmel Valley project broke new ground, built collaboration and cooperation

James Herrera - Monterey Herald
Panorama photo of the former site of the San Clemente Dam with the rerouted Carmel River, steelhead trout habitat and temporary footbridge during the project celebration on Monday, June 6, 2016.

Now that the largest dam removal in California history is complete, and the rerouting of the Carmel River and restoration of wildlife habitat is ongoing -- it is a definite feather in Granite Construction Company's hat.

Granite broke new ground and set the bar in both dam deconstruction and river restoration. The work took three seasons – in six-month blocks with 100 workers a day – to get to this point.

Restoration work continues with native vegetation being planted along the river’s banks and the Old Carmel River Dam, built down-river in the late 1800s, to be removed along with the artificial Sleepy Hollow crossing.

When the project is complete, 920 acres of the site and surrounding area will be donated to the Bureau of Land Management and, working with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, will eventually open the area to public access.

Besides the core project partnership of California American Water, California State Coastal Conservancy and National Marine Fisheries Service -- these other project funders made the San Clemente Dam Removal and Carmel River Reroute Project possible.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife which contributed $7 million to the project and participated on the technical advisory committee for the restoration components of the project.

The California Natural Resources Agency which contributed $4 million and assisted other state agencies in finding solutions to procedural obstacles to funding this project.

  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contributed $904,000 and oversaw restoration components related to the California Red-Legged Frogs.

The Wildlife Conservation Board contributed $8 million.

The Nature Conservancy contributed $1 million.

The Resources Legacy Fund Foundation contributed $433,756 through a grant from the Packard Foundation.

The Conservancy contributed $9.2 million to the project and led the effort to raise an additional $25 million. While the Fisheries Service contributed $1.6 million and oversaw the fish passage restoration portions of the project while assisting with getting the permits required for the project.

California American Water contributed $49 million for which the average water customer on the Monterey Peninsula will pay $2.94 per month over 20 years, according to Cal Am.

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