County to Conduct Carpinteria Salt Marsh Dredging
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Due to the increased flooding risk to adjacent properties and the City of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County will conduct an emergency dredging operation at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Final plans and surveys are underway, with operations expected to begin in mid-March. Operations will continue as needed until the amount of sediment in the marsh is no longer a flood risk to the community. Further information will be provided as it develops.
The County proposes to use a hydraulic dredge vessel to remove sediment from the drainage channels in the marsh. The hydraulic dredge vessel exports water and sediment through a discharge pipe into the surf zone at a designated location near the mouth of the Salt Marsh. The dredge may operate up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week to expedite the operation. The marsh was dredged in a similar fashion previously following the 1/9/18 Debris Flow.
After the creek flows receded following the extreme rains from January, the Carpinteria Salt Marsh revealed an extreme amount of sedimentation. This sedimentation obstructs Santa Monica Creek and Franklin Creeks. When these channels are obstructed, the community is at increased risk for flooding throughout the City of Carpinteria. Obstructed channels also interrupt the tidal cycle in the
marsh, which reduces habitat for fish and wildlife that rely on open water channels for habitat and foraging.
On Monday, January 9, 2023, Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency due to the January 2023 storm impacts. Dredging operations are conducted through emergency permits from state and federal agencies. Flood Control staff will take sediment samples and ocean water samples during operations. Weekly reports with information on sampling results are sent to regulatory agencies. Sampling results will also be posted at https://www.countyofsb.org/emergencybeachops.
For more information on the County’s response to the local emergency, visit readysbc.org.