To minimize risk of flooding to landowners along the Salinas River and improve riparian habitat for wildlife, the Salinas River Stream Maintenance Program (SMP) was developed as a collaboration between Monterey County Water Resources Agency, the Salinas River Channel Coalition (landowners), the Grower Shipper Association of Central California, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Collaborative, the RCDMC, and other local entities and contractors. The SMP employs a multi-benefit approach for stream maintenance that enhances conveyance capacity of the river corridor by mimicking the sandy-bottomed river’s natural, braided form in a manner that protects fish and wildlife habitat values of the river channel. A key approach of the SMP involves clearing vegetation (often invasive weeds like Arundo) to open and maintain secondary channels on the river floodplain. These channels are designed to convey high flows during and after large storm events, reducing the risk of flooding onto adjacent farmlands.
In 2014, a Demonstration Project was initiated on two stretches of river near Chualar and Gonzales (south of the City of Salinas) comprising a total of 11.5 river miles. In 2016, the SMP expanded to include most of the river's length in Monterey County. Participation in the program is voluntary, and the work is funded by the participants (typically landowners, growers, and municipalities).
The RCD helps the Monterey County Water Resources Agency administer the SMP. The RCD holds the Routine Maintenance Agreement permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and oversees the required biological monitoring for the program. More information about the Salinas River Stream Maintenance Program can be found on the Monterey County Water Resources Agency SMP project webpage.
Landowners interested in participating in the SMP can contact Shaunna Juarez, Associate Water Resources Engineer with the Monterey County Water Resources Agency at or (831) 755-4860. The deadline for submitting work plans for fall 2017 is May 5, 2017!