Flood prevention, safety upgrades underway at mouth of San Lorenzo River

A long-awaited construction project is underway at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River near the Santa Cruz Main Beach.The goal is to reduce urban flooding, improve public safety and protect habitat. Along the Santa Cruz trestle, there’s a measuring device and when the water level reaches more than five feet flooding begins along surrounding neighborhoods and here at the boardwalk.Sand began to collect at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River after the Santa Cruz Harbor was built in the 1960s.San Lorenzo water levels would rise and for years would flood nearby neighborhoods.”We would get standing water at the 100 block of Jessie Street, Pearl Street, Ocean Street, Bixby, Riverside, I mean that whole that’s my side of the river,” said J.D. Sotelo, a Lower Ocean Homeowner.The river water would also alter its course onto the Main beach, creating a giant lagoon of its own. It would not only cut-off beach access but when the San Lorenzo River hit the seven-foot level, the Boardwalk would get impacted.”We start to see flooding in our basements and we see that at the boardwalk not flooding that puts anyone in harm’s way but certainly impact property; can force us to close rides like, the Cave Train,” said Boardwalk spokesperson, Kris Reyes.The temporary solution was to bring in heavy equipment to open a gap to release the river water into Monterey Bay.A managed release was carefully supervised but there were times the public would release it on their own.”You cause this great body of water to quickly rush out into the ocean that will create an undertow, rip currents, big holes in the sand, collapse sand, all these different hazards.” said, Brendon Daly, Santa Cruz Fire Marine Safety Officer.And Tidewater Goby and endangered Coho Salmon would be stranded in the muck.The solution is to install two 700-foot-long culverts that’ll run from the trestle to the mouth of the San Lorenzo.An eight-inch pipe will rest along the bottom another will be placed higher along the river.”There’s a 24-inch pipe that will keep the lagoon at a five-foot level that’s high enough that we will get a nice full lagoon which will provide create habitat for the species just low enough that you don’t start to see flooding in surrounding areas.” said, Scott Ruble, with Santa Cruz Public Works A grant of more than $2 million from the California Wildlife Conservation Board and more than $650,000 from the city is funding the project.It is scheduled for completion this fall.

A long-awaited construction project is underway at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River near the Santa Cruz Main Beach.

The goal is to reduce urban flooding, improve public safety and protect habitat.

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Along the Santa Cruz trestle, there’s a measuring device and when the water level reaches more than five feet flooding begins along surrounding neighborhoods and here at the boardwalk.

Sand began to collect at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River after the Santa Cruz Harbor was built in the 1960s.

San Lorenzo water levels would rise and for years would flood nearby neighborhoods.

“We would get standing water at the 100 block of Jessie Street, Pearl Street, Ocean Street, Bixby, Riverside, I mean that whole that’s my side of the river,” said J.D. Sotelo, a Lower Ocean Homeowner.

The river water would also alter its course onto the Main beach, creating a giant lagoon of its own. It would not only cut-off beach access but when the San Lorenzo River hit the seven-foot level, the Boardwalk would get impacted.

“We start to see flooding in our basements and we see that at the boardwalk not flooding that puts anyone in harm’s way but certainly impact property; can force us to close rides like, the Cave Train,” said Boardwalk spokesperson, Kris Reyes.

The temporary solution was to bring in heavy equipment to open a gap to release the river water into Monterey Bay.

A managed release was carefully supervised but there were times the public would release it on their own.

“You cause this great body of water to quickly rush out into the ocean that will create an undertow, rip currents, big holes in the sand, collapse sand, all these different hazards.” said, Brendon Daly, Santa Cruz Fire Marine Safety Officer.

And Tidewater Goby and endangered Coho Salmon would be stranded in the muck.

The solution is to install two 700-foot-long culverts that’ll run from the trestle to the mouth of the San Lorenzo.

An eight-inch pipe will rest along the bottom another will be placed higher along the river.

“There’s a 24-inch pipe that will keep the lagoon at a five-foot level that’s high enough that we will get a nice full lagoon which will provide create habitat for the species just low enough that you don’t start to see flooding in surrounding areas.” said, Scott Ruble, with Santa Cruz Public Works

A grant of more than $2 million from the California Wildlife Conservation Board and more than $650,000 from the city is funding the project.

It is scheduled for completion this fall.

Contributed by local news sources

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