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Emergency dredging of Carpinteria Salt Marsh begins

Posted on April 3, 2023

Santa Barbara County will begin an emergency dredging operation at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh on April 3, due to an increased risk of flooding caused by several recent large storms creating blockages in local waterways. 

Dredging operations will continue until June. During that time, the area of Carpinteria State Beach within 400 feet of the marsh mouth will be closed to public access. Some trails in the marsh will also be closed intermittently.

“After the creek flows receded following the extreme rains from January… the Carpinteria Salt Marsh revealed an extreme amount of sedimentation,” Santa Barbara County Public Information Officer Lael Wageneck said in a press release Wednesday, adding that the sediment is obstructing the Santa Monica and Franklin creeks. 

“When these channels are obstructed, the community is at increased risk for flooding throughout the city of Carpinteria,” Wageneck said. “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.”

Hydraulic dredge vessels will be used by the county to remove sediment from the drainage channels in the marsh, by exporting water and sediment through a discharge pipe and depositing it at a designated location near the mouth of the Salt Marsh. To expedite the process, the operation will run for up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Santa Barbara County Flood Control District is working with the Santa Barbara Land Trust, UC Santa Barbara, the city of Carpinteria and the community to ensure the safety of the community and wildlife, and minimize disruptions. 


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