Club files complaint about Garzas Creek diversions
The Ventana Chapter and the Carmel River Steelhead Association have filed a
formal complaint with The State Water Resources Control Board against Rancho San
Carlos Partnership for harming public trust resources in Garzas Creek, a major
tributary of the Carmel River. Rancho San Carlos is a sprawling luxury subdivision
and golf course in the Santa Lucia Mountain range, southwest of Carmel Valley.
Submitting testimony from hydrologists, fisheries experts and locals with knowledge
of the site, the Chapter and Carmel River Steelhead Association are calling on
the state to stop allowing Rancho San Carlos to divert water without a valid water
Garzas Creek is a vital link to protecting the steelhead population in the
Carmel River and is an important fishery which is already Federally-listed as
“threatened.” The State Water Resources Control Board has been allowing Rancho
San Carlos to divert water without a water right. The complaint points out the
harm to the river and asks that the diversions be stopped.
Members of Carmel River Steelhead Association have long engaged in projects
to reduce steelhead mortality rates and promote the conservation of spawning habitat,
and the Chapter has a longstanding interest in preserving the fishery and promoting
When applying for their development, Rancho San Carlos proclaimed to Monterey
County officials and the public that they had an independent water supply and
would not harm downstream resources, the environment or other users by their well
pumping or water management.
Past efforts to protect Garzas Creek have been unsuccessful. NOAA Fisheries,
a Federal Agency, has noted that the current management of the creek may be having
a significant impact on the listed steelhead population. NOAA Fisheries also expressed
concern about the impact of Rancho San Carlos’ interception of springs which otherwise
would flow to the creek.
For more information visit, www.carmelriverwatershed.org/Sierra_club_CRSA_garzas_protocol.html.