Update on Lower Carmel River Project

  Flooding in the Crossroads area in 1995

Flooding in the Crossroads area in 1995

The Resource Management Agency (RMA) of Monterey County held a public meeting on March 26th to share progress and next steps with the environmental impact reports being prepared in support of the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement (CR FREE) Project.  The Project has two components: a Floodplain Restoration component removing levees and restoring the site’s ecological function as a floodplain, and a Causeway component to replace 360 feet of Highway One roadway with a new causeway that will allow the river to flow under Highway One into the south arm of the Carmel River Lagoon.
There are multiple benefits to be derived: reducing the threat of flooding  in the Mission Fields and Crossroads areas, taking pressure off the northern channel of the river, improving water quality in the Lagoon, restoring fish habitat, reducing costs for levee work, increasing public access to the Lagoon and beach, and preparing for the effects of climate change.
The RMA will serve as the lead agency for the California environmental report with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency taking the federal lead.  The current estimate of the total cost for this project is $29 million, with $14 million secured as of now.  The environmental reports are scheduled for the end of this year, with construction slated for the 2020-22 time period.