Dreaming the Salinas
Dreaming The Salinas is an innovative and collaborative region-based restoration and conservation initiative to reconcile nature and cultures along the 174-mile Salinas River corridor and the 4200 square mile watershed it serves. The premise is that dreaming the future can create the future, that by asking what success would look like and what are our dreams a transformative process can be launched resulting in envisioning do-able dreams and serve as a tool and template for place-based initiatives elsewhere. It is itself inspired by the Dreaming New Mexico campaign, a semi-finalist this year in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The workshops are designed to bring together community leaders, experts, stakeholders, farmers, military users, concerned citizens, environmental groups, fishermen, watershed communities, Native Americans, and Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, and to leverage the network and resources of the sustainability know-how of community partners and friends, to identify actions that can be taken to restore and conserve the Salinas watershed. As permaculturist Brock Dolman says, our watersheds are our lifeboats.
The Salinas River has been identified as one of the, if not THE most degraded major watersheds in California. The river runs from the mountains above Lake Santa Margarita in San Luis Obispo County and terminates in Monterey Bay at Seaside. Damming of its tributaries has resulted in a loss of water volume, causing an end to critical habitat for anadromous species in the River and its tributaries, and, combined with groundwater pumping near the River, is threatening the River’s Free Flow. The lack of water at the far end of the river has caused salt-water intrusion problem in Monterey County. Extensive sand and gravel mining far in excess of the River’s replenishment rate has diminished natural silt flows which has caused the river to carve out new borders, resulting in a loss of farmland. Siting of industrial uses along the River, like asphalt recycling plants, has had impacts on soil and water quality and the noise has impacted humans and wildlife. Human activity in the river has also affected its use by wildlife as a migration and habitat corridor for wildlife and recreation by humans.
Inspired by efforts (and some successes) to restore the San Joaquin River in Fresno, the Santa Clara River in Santa Clarita, and the Carmel River in Carmel Valley, we have conceived a pair of workshops to identify stakeholders, help assemble state-of-the-art science, access state of the art community and resource mapping, and to convene discussions where stakeholders can consider what actions are feasible to begin the restoration and conservation of the Salinas River.
Note: Dreaming New Mexico is a project of bioneers.org
Workshop 1: Dreaming the Salinas
Case Study: The Hind River Ranch
Workshop 2: Dreaming the Salinas