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  • Big Sur River Watershed

    Big Sur River Watershed

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Big Sur River Watershed

big sur watershedThe Big Sur River watershed is predominantly public land owned by U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and CA Dept of Parks and Recreation (Parks), with a large ranch, several private campgrounds, resorts, shops and small residences located in the lower watershed. Use of the watershed is primarily wilderness and recreation along with a small amount of forestry and livestock, all of which will remain as such for the foreseeable future.

The Big Sur River Watershed supports numerous state and federally listed species including the South-Central California Steelhead Distinct Population Segment (DPS), California red-legged frog, California condor, and numerous state listed plants and animals. The Big Sur River is the largest coastal stream south of the Carmel River in Monterey County. The Big Sur River watershed and the Big Sur area attract over three million tourists every year. As a result, tourism is a very important economic driver in the watershed. Impacts from its many visitors, past land management practices, and the 2008 Basin Complex and 2016 Soberanes Fires, have affected its environmental quality.


Watershed Planning

Although no water body in the watershed is currently listed as impaired, increasing use by visitors has led both federal and state agencies to recognize the need for an overall management plan to protect the watershed’s unique resources. To address that need, the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County partnered with the Garrapata Creek Watershed Council to work with the community to develop a watershed management plan for voluntary restoration projects to benefit steelhead trout, completed in December 2014. Several agencies, businesses and individuals who live or work in or draw water from the watershed, participated in the development and review of the plan.