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Arroyo Seco River

The Arroyo Seco River is the only major tributary of the Salinas River that remains undammed. The river flows east from the crest of the Santa Lucia Mountains, then north along a major fault line, and then east again into the Salinas Valley near the town of Greenfield in Monterey County. Approximately 19 miles of the river are located on public lands in the Los Padres National Forest.

The Forest Service completed a Wild & Scenic study of the Arroyo Seco River in 2005. The agency concluded that the river was eligible for federal protection and recommended that Congress designate more than 19 miles of the river from its source to the Los Padres National Forest boundary.

Outstanding Values:

Scenery & Recreation – The river flows through a series of deep rocky gorges that provide a rugged and scenic setting for a variety of outdoor recreation pursuits, including camping, hiking, backpacking, swimming, and whitewater kayaking. About 70% of the 50,000 people who visit the Arroyo Seco River every year are Monterey County residents.

Fish – The Arroyo Seco River supports the most persistent remnants of the threatened Central Coast steelhead that spawn in the Salinas River watershed. It is also an important middle link for salmon migrating from the Salinas River to Tassajara Creek and other tributaries.

Wildlife – The river’s riparian habitat provides foraging and nesting sites for the California spotted owl, and its pools are home to the Southwestern pond turtle (both are listed sensitive species).

Geology – The river cuts through a complex geological cross section of the Coast Range ideal for research into important tectonic and seismic processes.

Ventana Wild Rivers Campaign Hannah Schoenthal-Muse, Organizer Friends of the River 99 Pacific St., Suite 555A, Monterey, CA 93940 831/535-8304 • hannah@friendsoftheriver.org

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