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?
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