Monterey County

Big Sur Prepares For Big Mudslides

Monterey County Public Works Approved For Federal Grant To Start Project

Public Works Crews Prepare Big Sur for Major Rainstorm

BIG SUR, Calif. - Big Sur looked more like a construction site than the quiet woodsy corner of Monterey County we're accustomed to.

The charred hillsides are a reminder of the wildfire that destroyed 34 homes. The rain is coming and it's also a warning sign for mudslides that could wipe out what homes are left.

Monterey County Public works is trying to make sure that doesn't happen. It put in concrete walls, sandbags and wire fencing to divert the mud away from houses.

The county received approval for a federal grant Thursday morning to start a mudslide diversion construction project in Sycamore Canyon.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is a wing of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The reason the feds approved the grant was because the mudslides could affect the endangered wildlife in Sycamore Creek and Pfeiffer Lagoon.

The NRCS will pay for 75 percent, or $150,000, and the residents will pay the remaining 25 percent.

Krista Sabaska grew up in one of the Sycamore Canyon houses. She now lives in Salinas but still owns multiple houses in the area. It's property her parents handed down to her.

Sabaska says she's fearful the mudslides will wipe out her properties. Because the burned hillsides have no plants or bushes, the mud has nothing to stop it.

For Sabaska, the situation is a Catch-22.

"Everybody's wanting rain but we're wanting it in little small quantities so that it doesn't slide," she said.

Since the grant money has yet to arrive, the county will pay for the project until it is reimbursed.

All of the concrete walls were donated by agencies like State Parks and CalTrans. Otherwise, the county says, the cost could have been twice as much.


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