The mission of the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy (CRWC) is to preserve and eventually restore the Carmel River and watershed to its former health and beauty. We protect and help to restore populations of threatened species especially steelhead and California red-legged frogs. The Conservancy balances environmental protection and the diverse needs of the Community. This is accomplished by exemplifying integrity, inclusiveness, education and mutual respect.
Sharing information and spreading the joy of outdoor learning has long been part of the mission of CRWC. Our organization has been hosting class visits and field trips around the watershed for years, connecting curious minds to the wonders of our natural spaces. CRWC has proudly served historically disadvantaged communities in the central coast region.
Wildfire Prevention and outreach
After decades of fire suppression, build-up of combustible fuels, and increasing average heat due to climate change, wildfires are getting larger and more frequent in the Carmel Valley and Carmel River Watershed. CRWC works to increase wildfire mitigation and preparation efforts, spread awareness, and understand our local fire regime through research and planning.
Watershed health and restoration
CRWC history is rooted in restoring the Carmel River's watershed, which was named one of America's most endangered rivers in 1999. Since then, our work has restored riverine and riparian habitats of endangered species, helped to end over-pumping of the river, and advocated to decommission the San Clemente Dam. Our work continues with cutting edge research and science.
Protecting our watershed from harmful chemicals:
Other CRWC Accomplishments
- Produced the Carmel River Watershed Assessment and Action Plan and Supplemental Watershed Action Plan, providing a comprehensive guide for restoring key watershed resources, including the threatened steelhead population. Updated this Assessment and Action Plan September 2021.
- Completed a major assessment of the health of the Carmel River watershed resources including creeks, streams, and wildlife habitat.
- Led the initiative to establish the Spring Equinox as California Wildlife Day, which was passed unanimously as a concurrent resolution of the California State Legislative.
- Co-hosted the inaugural celebration of California Wildlife Day on March 24, 2018 at Garland Ranch Regional Park.
- Jointly sponsored (and now chair) the establishment of the Carmel River Task Force, a rare collaboration bringing resource agency managers and local restoration and conservation groups together to improve coordination of watershed resource management efforts.
- Led the initiative to prevent the spread of future wildfires into the watershed, by maintaining fuel breaks and using prescribed burns.
- Collaborated in the development and implementation of the Integrated Water Management Plan and supported grant proposals with water resource agencies for the Monterey Peninsula.
- Conducted public meetings on emerging issues related to the Carmel River, Lagoon, and San Clemente Dam Removal; sponsored public tours of the former San Clemente Dam site.
- Conducted dozens of watershed field trips with local school classes.
- Played a leading role in advocating for state and federal funding of priority needs for the Carmel River Watershed and arranging grants to address those needs.
- Worked jointly with the Carmel River Steelhead Association and other volunteers to restore critical habitat for steelhead and participated in fish rescues.
- Actively contributed to the county-wide efforts to develop a reliable, sustainable, and affordable water supply.
- Led an initiative to install pharmaceutical recycling drop boxes in Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Pacific Grove. For locations, click here.
- Led the process of securing a grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board to assess the feasibility of an Ecosystem Protective Barrier to solve the problems presented by the barrier beach at the Carmel River lagoon.
- Spearhead the development of a watershed health report card to increase public awareness, and potentially identify areas needing further restoration and indicators where more data is needed to fully assess our watershed health.