Cloud Seeding Program off Big Sur Coast

XT has posted an article here: Cloud Seeding Article

about a cloud seeding program being proposed by the Monterey County Water Resources Agency. I have confirmed his story independently. The earliest the seeding would begin would be the end of January. Seeding, while controversial, has the potential to increase rainfall by 20%.

These are the concerns I have voiced so far:

Obviously, I have some serious concerns about this as we on the South Coast, seem to be directly in the path. Of course, the road up Chalk Peak has always been fragile, to say the least, and after the Chalk Fire last year, only a lot of faith and hope has held it up. Chalk Peak is the only way in or out for at least 12-15 people. Plaskett Ridge Rd. is in dire need of repair. It hasn’t been graded since 2000, and the storm of October 13th took a horrible road and turned it into a nightmare. The Hermitage is also in jeopardy, although I know they have been working hard to shore things up, so-to-speak. At Limekiln State Park, the damage from the Chalk Fire has not even been repaired, yet. Mud flows and debris flows could permanently close that park with the current fiscal situation in the State.

Additionally, there are at least three Cal-Trans projects down here currently going on that could be significantly impacted, if not stopped altogether by any decision to seed the clouds, and I think the appropriate Cal-Trans staff should be consulted, as well. XT reports that no EIA or EIR is being prepared, simply a negative mitigations report, which should have to take into consideration the horizontal drain project 1 mile north of Ragged Point; the rockshed at Rain Rocks; the bridge at Pitkins Curve; and the Gambo Tieback project just south of Packard Beach, as well as the damaged hillsides from the Chalk and Basin Fires.

The water situation in the Salinas Valley Ag community is reaching critical stages, Lake San Antonio is at 33% capacity. Lake Nacimiento is at 13%. I know their concerns, and why they would want both Lake San Antonio and Nacimiento to be at their fullest levels by the end of the season, but at what costs?

Frankly, this is a frightening possibility for the South Coast, particularly for those in or near the footprint of the 2008 Chalk Fire, and for the entire Big Sur Coast that sits in the footprint of the Basin Complex Fire.

From XT: “A hearing, at which the MCWRA Board will be asked to certify a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, rather than a full Environmental Impact Report, will be held on December 21 at 1:00pm at 893 Blanco Circle, in Salinas.”

~ by bigsurkate on December 4, 2009.

4 Responses to “Cloud Seeding Program off Big Sur Coast”

  1. I think your concerns are very well taken. The MCWRA seems to be working at cross purposes with Cal-Trans and Big Sur residents. I think they should, at the least, have rules in place that require them to suspend seeding when significant rainfall is already predicted or when ground saturation levels are high. On the bright side, there are a lot of experts that doubt that seeding even works – in which case it’s just another waste of our tax dollars.

    I haven’t read the environmental documents, but it seems incredible that they would try to move a project with potentially catastrophic impacts through on a Mitigated Negative Dec. I wonder what the “mitigation” is that’s supposed to reduce these potential impacts to a less than significant level? If people demand a real EIR, I suspect they will get one.

    There’s no doubt that the Salinas Valley needs the water but, as you say, at what cost?

  2. Even a development project on the ground must produce a Draft Environmental Impact Report before obtaining consideration for a possible permit to build.

    Separately, how are we to know that by producing heavier rain at the coast range, won’t affect precipitation as storms move inland? I’m thinking draining the clouds at the coast lessens precipitation inland, affecting snow patterns in the southern Sierras . . . shall I continue?

  3. Let it pour! Big Sur should be able to withstand 100″ a season! I do think we are wandering around this planets surface without a clue as to what we are doing to the planet and to our humanity. This fact is something our generations and hopefully more to come must contend with, evolve and grow more respecting of what we have done and how we will change our destructive nature.

  4. Kevin … “should” be able to handle 100 inches? I’ve only kept track for the past 15 years down here on the South Coast, and we cannot handle that much. We haven’t had that much in the past 15 years, although we did have one year of 90 some odd inches (will have to find all my calendars to be more exact) and that may be the year, 1995, when the Carmel River Bridge went out, the Stoney Valley Bridge went out, and Highway One washed out south somewhere near Soda Springs, if I recall correctly, and I could not get a bunch of high schoolers home from a field trip! I want rain as much as the next person, but not an excess of it, and certainly not until we have had the opportunity to heal from the Basin Complex and the Chalk Fires, which the BAER report put at 5 years. Otherwise, thanks for your comment!

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