County Board of Supervisors Approves Carmel River FREE Project!

The unanimous vote by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, June 15 to approve the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement Project (Carmel River FREE) was a pivotal moment in the planning process. Their approval will now enable final project design to proceed.

Big Sur Land Trust, as a co-sponsor of the Carmel River FREE Project with the County, would like to thank County staff for their hard work on this project. We would also like to send our sincerest gratitude to District 5 Supervisor Mary Adams, for championing the project along with Supervisors Luis Alejo, John M. Phillips, Chris Lopez, and Wendy Root Askew.

We are also grateful to all the people who wrote letters of support including Congressman Jimmy Panetta and California State Senator John Laird. Many thanks to those who spoke in favor of the project at the meeting:

  • Trish Chapman (State Coastal Conservancy)
  • Martha Diehl
  • Lorin Letendre (President, Carmel River Watershed Conservancy)
  • Kathleen Lee (Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District Board Member)
  • Larry Levine (Chair, County Service Area (CSA) 50, Citizens Advisory Committee)
  • Donna Meyers (former Director of Conservation, Big Sur Land Trust)
  • Tom Reeves (Trustee, Big Sur Land Trust)
  • Margaret Robbins
  • Michael Waxer (Eastwood Group)

We want to also acknowledge the generosity of Margaret and Clint Eastwood for making this project possible by donating 128 acres at Odello East to Big Sur Land Trust.

Carmel River FREE is a green infrastructure project that uses nature-based solutions that will offer significant public benefits, from critical flood risk reduction to expanded public access and recreation. Project ground-breaking is estimated to start in late 2024 once funding and project permits have been secured. Construction will take approximately 18 months. Learn more about the project here.

I want to say a final thank you to all of our generous donors who continue to support our shared vision for healthy lands, healthy people, and health communities throughout Monterey County!


Jeannette Tuitele-Lewis
President/CEO, Big Sur Land Trust

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