Another peaceful day painting the restoration of the Carmel River. In years to come this area will fill in with vegetation all around the river providing new habitat for the birds, bees, fish, frogs, fox and mountain lion and so many more who depend on its flow.
About six months ago I participated in a show organized by Elizabeth Murray titled Beauty Before Me, Beauty All Around Me. It featured painters, photographers, and a multi-media artist whose work reflects the beauty of Monterey County. We all share the values of wanting to preserve this beauty because we know how important and integral the natural world is to our lives as human beings. It is the wild outside that we respond to as people. And it is the wild creativity we are born with that responds to the wild outside. And from that connection, we work to raise awareness of preserving that beauty and health of the land and rivers for all, two-footed, four-footed, plants and all animals in between!
Elizabeth Interviewed me at the event... In due time I will load more of the interviews she did of the participants of the show and others who were at the event. Share in the conversation about conservation! How do you connect with the land and rivers, with the natural world?
Finally, I have had the opportunity to get back to the Carmel River Restoration site where the San Clemente Dam used to be. What a difference to be there today as compared to last year at this time. Last year the site was filled with the sounds of heavy machinery, now melodies of various birds and bees and water flowing through the new course of the Carmel River. Ducks and geese calling it home again. A river recreated by hundreds of people with the understanding of how rivers flow. Quite amazing to see how it has turned out! Approximately 95,000 plants were grown from native stock from a five mile radius of the project site. Over 6000 boulders were brought in to create the 56 step pools. These step pools allow the Carmel River steelhead to make their way up the river, now unimpeded all the way to the Los Padres Dam. First time in 94 years! This year, approximately 300 steelhead made their way up the river. Another sign of hope given the last few years of drought and trying times for the fish. Hopefully there will be a good rain season next year too!
One lesson from this whole project, dams may seem like a good idea to some at the time of implementation, but the environmental and financial costs down the road are high. This project can serve as a constructive tool for communities in other places around the world. Learning to live within our means...is it possible?
This is one of the 41,000 oak trees on the 550 acres slated for the Monterey Downs Development, unless it can be stopped. This painting was painted onsite over the course of five visits to the land.
What do you love enough to take action to save?
Purchase of this painting, and other pantings of this series, supports the ongoing need to raise awareness about this beautiful land, home to animals of special concern and rare maritime chaparral habitat.
Here is an inspirational story by Patrice Vecchione on one of her forays into the land at Western Fort Ord... land that is slated for a mega development unless it can be stopped...(click on the green text!)
This land is what the Expressions show at Sweet Elena's in Sand City is all about. It features paintings and photographs by Christine Watten, Tim Hill and Paola Berthoin. The opening reception is Saturday, February 13 from 3-5 pm. Readings by Patrice and the artists. Come for the community spirit to save this place and come for the delectable treats that Sweet Elena's creates! Bring your friends!
The Carmel River is now free to flow in its new course past where the San Clemente Dam once stood. The river has not flowed unimpeded in this location for 94 years. An incredible milestone in the annals of history and ecological restoration! Here is a link to a KSBW TV feature story. I look forward to going up there in a few days!
I had started this painting about a month ago. Having come back to the site much later than anticipated, it was necessary to paint out part of the painting with the changes that had taken place in that month. The logs that are placed upright in the ground will act as barriers to collect woody debris coming down the river in high flows. It will also aid in creating new habitats along the river banks and river itself.
The workman are nearing completion of the fifty six weirs/step pools construction on that day, November 7. Quite a feat of human engineering and creativity. It was interesting talking with some of them...they are quite proud of their work..and well they should be!
The view above is the dam in November 2014.
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