Patrice Vecchione, noted writer and author of Step into Nature, and I took a walk in the Carmel River about a month ago...and from that outing she has written a beautiful article...you can read it here. How can you live your life thinking like a watershed?
It's been a long while since I have been up at the former dam site. After all the rain we have had, the river has certainly rearranged the boulders that were so carefully engineered in place last year! The intense flow of water during the heavy rains in February washed a lot of soil away to expose the base rock. The flow, at its height, was 7,000 cubic feet per second! In other words, visualize 7000 basketballs passing by at a certain point in one second!! and then another 7000 the next second etc...
I plan to get out and paint there soon!
In May, I will be part of a team of docents for the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy that will take the public to the restoration site to learn about the project and see how the restoration is progressing. The tours will be listed in the MPRPD Let's Go Outdoors program guide coming out soon.
The proposed Eastside Parkway was being planned to go through this land (painting above) and cut down approximately 11,000 oaks and associated habitat. Thanks to Keep Fort Ord Wild/Michael Salerno and Molly Erickson, lawyer, a decision by Judge Lydia Villarreal has determined that "FORA and the county lent "political and financial assistance" to a specific route for a proposed roadway in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). " (excerpt from Monterey County Weekly) You can read the whole article here.
Hopefully the County will see that this decision is correct and that this habitat will be preserved forever.
Carmel River raging...
Check this link out for the San Clemento Rancho facebook page showing videos of the Carmel River raging through the restoration site of where the San Clemente Dam used to be. Time will tell how all the restoration of step pools and native plantings are holding up under such an intense flow...
History has been made for the Carmel River and California now that the San Clemente Dam
The image above is a steelhead trout made by Richard Schrader, master blacksmith, and Paola Berthoin from the rebar that was sealed away in dam for ninety-four years. Never has such a sculpture been made like this!
When the dam was coming down, the idea to collect rebar from it to make a commemorative sculpture came to me. With the help of Granite Construction employees, we collected three truck loads of rebar. The metal awaits in my driveway to be forged into an art piece to then be installed at a Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District
parkland in the Carmel River watershed. Through this commemorative sculpture, the public can come to learn about this multi-faceted, monumental project—the largest dam removal in the state of California.
In order for this large sculpture to come into being, I am raising $12,000 for the labor, additional materials as necessary, and an educational sign to accompany the sculpture. The small sculpture above took thirty plus hours of our time alone.
With your generosity, we look forward to creating this historic sculpture to be unveiled in the Fall of 2017! Also, you can make your suggestions of what the rebar can be turned into by making a suggestion when sending in your donation. See suggestions below. Donors will be recognized on the sign that accompanies the sculpture.
Your donation can be made to the Carmel Valley Forum. Please return it to Paola Berthoin, 25440 Telaraña Way, Carmel, CA 93923. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 624-9467 or through this website contact page.
The Carmel Valley Forum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization EIN # EIN # 01-0696867. They are acting as the fiscal sponsor for the project.
Art is not alone for the 'talented', nor is it a luxury for humanity." Pedros J. de Lemos
It would be inspirational and educational to see this rebar from the San Clemente Dam turned into....
☐ A fish
☐ A bird with fish
☐ A mobile of different animals of the watershed
☐ A bench in the form of a fish
☐ Or something else?
Donations at whatever level works for you!
☐ Other ____________
UPDATE to this post
The Monterey Downs project is dead. The developer could not follow through when it came to indemnify the city of Seaside. The developer was not willing to put any more money towards the proposal.
The land could still be developed and a parkway road is planned for part of the land which would take down 11,000 oaks and associated habitat. That decision has yet to be finalized by the Fort Ord Reuse Authority. Landwatch Monterey County is involved in future steps regarding this land. Go to their website to learn more.
This photo montage received an Honorable Mention in the Seaside City Hall/ Avery Gallery art show. This land is the land in question regarding the Monterey Downs Development. It would all be bulldozed. This is an historic landscape of over 500 acres that we cannot lose! The Seaside City Council will be taking the vote on November 10 on whether or not to take the next step to approve this monstrous and devastating project.
Here is the long poem that is on the banner:
This is Oak Community
Ant to bobcat
Fairy shrimp to mountain lion
Manzanita to many-limbed oak,
twisting to the sky, turning to sun,
stretching with the wind.
Mule deer browsing, lichen swaying,
enriching gentle coastal land.
This is Oak Community.
flitting, singing, calling birds.
Yellow, gold, red,
Fuchsia, white and black.
Towhee, sparrow, warbler, vireo,
Coyote, badger, co-operative hunters
Ground squirrel, Western fence lizard,
Coast horned lizard.
Pacific tree frog, California legless lizard.
Blending with their surroundings,
many residing in the cool earth.
Monterey dusky-footed woodrat,
home and village creator extraordinaire.
Monterey ornate shrew, 1200 heart beats a minute--
Big-eared Townsend’s bat, pallid bat,
dining on multitudes of insects in the night sky.
Relationships, delicate as
the spider webs bushtits use
to build their nests.
This is Oak Community.
Sweetness of manzanita, nectar of honeysuckle,
Lupin and ceanothus, perfumed pungency.
West coast lady, fiery skipper, red admiral and monarch.
Honey bee, bumble bee, native bee, swallowtail.
Shooting star, buttercup, tidy tip,
poppies and pollen dust.
Scent of black sage, Eastwood’s golden fleece.
Lingering autumn, garnet red leaves of three.
Winter rains, decomposing plant matter,
Mychorrhizal partnership, Kingdom Fungi!
This is Oak Community.
Tender toes traversing
spiky leaves and soft soil.
Acorns setting roots, red shoots pushing through.
California Tiger salamander, now reaching vernal pond,
Eggs like pearls, cycle of life,
As the red-shouldered hawk and white-tailed kite
spirals around you,
is Oak Community.
Paola Berthoin, 2016
This steelhead trout was made from 94-year-old rebar extracted from inside the San Clemente Dam cement when it was taken down last summer. Richard Schrader, master blacksmith, and I made it over the course of four days.
When I asked if I could try my hand at creating a simple fish...Richard said yes...but I had no idea what that actually would mean! While I did not get photos of the beginning of the forming of the steelhead from the rebar, there are photos from the last two days...I helped form the fish and did the tooling of the scales and the tail marks and one of the fins..and then worked with Richard in the rest of the formation as he hammered and cut metal effortlessly!..Made it look like it was as easy to manipulate as butter!
This sculpture is a precursor to a much larger piece* we will be making from rebar from the dam. See photo below. It will be installed in Carmel Valley next year. Stay tuned!
(* yet to be determined what it will be)
Finished work. Fish is set on a rusted metal piece from the San Clemente Dam.
© Paola Berthoin and Richard Schrader, 2016
See the gallery of photos to see some of the process to make the sculpture. Put your cursor over the image to activate.
Toni Henderson, graphic designer of the Art Dept, A Graphic Design Studio, created this fun little book and story, BIG Dam FISH Story, highlighting this one-of-a-kind collaborative creation.
Here are a few photos from a prototype fish Richard worked on before we began the smaller fish. This rebar, also from the dam, is a good 3/4" thick as compared to the piece used for the smaller fish which is about 1/2". Participating in this process gave me a good idea what it takes to shape steel...not easy!
This painting shows the project now finished, no dam! and the river flowing through. It is so quiet compared to a year ago when all the construction was going on.
This is a large painting, 30" x 48". A challenge to execute with all the boulders in the river that make up the step pools. Honoring the work of all those who did the construction of this new river section, I wanted to paint it as accurately as possible! I went out four times to develop this painting to the last image below. Getting to the site is a pilgrimage of sorts, each time having accessed the site through the San Clemente Rancho, an hour from my home, part of it on a narrow dirt road in the steep, hilly Carmel Valley back country.
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.
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