State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today announced that he has introduced SB 1398, the Salinas River Environmental Stability Act, to will ease the clearing of the Salinas River channel. Since clearing practices consisting of removing non-native vegetation, sediment, and debris from the Salinas River was halted in 2008, it has become overgrown and inundated with sediment and vegetation, presenting the greatest flooding hazard the Salinas valley has seen in decades.
“Clearing the Salinas River will result in cleaner water and greater flood protection, ensuring a healthy, thriving ecosystem, environment and economy. The Salinas River Environmental Stability Act provides a streamlined process that will allow for work to begin while ensuring environmental goals are met.” said Cannella. “The inability to clear the river of sediment and non-native plants, such as Arundo, over the past 5 years has greatly disrupted the flow of the river.”
The Salinas River provides the Salinas Valley with a vital water source for both farm and urban uses. The Salinas River Environmental Stability Act seeks to streamline the regulatory process to allow clearing to occur more efficiently. In 2009, similar legislation was signed into law streamlining the regulatory process for an NFL stadium in Los Angeles. In 2013, SB 743 was also signed into law allowing a new arena for the Sacramento Kings to receive the same streamlined process.
“The Salinas River is unique in the State of California as much of the land is privately held. Regulation has prohibited those landowners from clearing riverbeds, which could adversely affect not just the adjacent land, but the surrounding communities and the Monterey Bay,” said Cannella. “We cannot risk repeating the same damage caused by the devastating 1995 flood which ruined almost a quarter of the Salinas Valley projected crop value, caused permanent loss of more than a thousand acres of farmland, and damaged both homes and businesses.”