Hauling resumes to remove even more boulders from the Carpinteria debris basin

Work continues after the January disaster

Heavy equipment returns to Carpinteria's Santa Monica debris basin to dig out large boulders before the winter season.  (photo: John Palminteri/

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Crews are back in the hills behind Carpinteria hauling out large rocks where the winter debris flow dumped a massive amount of debris and boulders in the Santa Monica basin.

"There are huge rocks out there that literally have to be blasted into pieces to haul off," said Santa Barbara County Deputy Public Works Director Tom Fayram.

The  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) helped the county with funds to urgently get work started immediately after the January 9 disaster.  For weeks trucks full of rocks were rolling day and night through the area.

Sand and silt were deposited on Carpinteria beaches, other truckloads were sent to a site in Ventura County.

The debris basin and the forethought to build it 50 years ago,  has been a life saver.
"Santa Monica debris basin is by far the largest debris basin. It was build as part of the Carpinteria Valley watershed project which is a Federal Project," he said. "Had that basin not been there it would have been unfathonable what would have happened down stream." 

This new work is being coordinated by the county to make sure the debris basin is as empty as possible before the next rain. 

The county is going to ask FEMA for a reimbursement on the costs of this portion of the project.

In addition to removing the big boulders in the foothills of Carpinteria,  work is being done to clear out some of the silt in the drainages that head out into the Pacific Ocean.

A large crane is currently in the Salt Marsh at Sandyland Cove.

It's grabbing and removing debris and mud.

"Flows brought more sediment in and deposited it in the upper areas of Santa Monica creek  and the Franklin channel basically from the railroad tracks to the south so that is work that we are doing now," said Fayram.

Together the two projects  will help the next rainfall runoff go where it is supposed to be directed,  down the hills and out to the ocean instead of  charting a new course and threatening more properties.



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