PAJARO – Dump trucks stuffed with potato-sized rocks and half-ton boulders lined up along a strawberry field here Monday, all racing against time – and another oncoming storm – to help fill a destructive break in the Pajaro River.
Truck drivers made 120-mile round trips to quarries in Cupertino and Greenfield that normally shut down at 3:30 p.m. but promised to stay open into the night.
“My dispatcher told me, ‘You better pack a lunch,’” said Todd Mosley, waiting for his turn to empty his truck and help plug another section of what the day before was a 360-foot wide breach.
By midday Monday, boulders had filled in about 100 feet. The rest was an open spigot of muddy water, still flowing freely into the streets of the nearby Pajaro. It was too late to save the town from rising waters that have plagued it before. The quest now is to keep the river from doing even more damage.
State water department workers start repairing the failed Pajaro River levee in Pajaro, California on Monday, March 13, 2023. (California Department of Water Resources)
“We are working 24/7 until this problem is resolved,” said Shaunna Murray, a senior water resources engineer at the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.
John Foxworthy, a dam safety engineer with the agency, was on the levee when it burst late Friday night, and was back Monday. He knows what is at stake. But the worst has already happened – more than a thousand residents in this farmworker town were forced to flee their homes in the middle of the night Saturday when the water rushed in.
“We’re doing all we can to get those people back in their homes,” said Foxworthy as he trudged across the levee and watched the boulders pile up, inching closer to connect with the opposite side.
Holding back a river is never easy.
Alekz Londos, a Santa Cruz resident and disaster relief business owner, toured Pajaro, California and documented the damage wrought by flooding caused when the Pajaro River levee failed during an atmospheric river storm on Sunday, March 12, 2023. Pajaro residents evacuated in the tempest later commented on photos Londos posted of their homes on social networks. (Photo courtesy of Alekz Londos)
In the midst of berry fields in the fertile Pajaro Valley, the earthen levee and the dirt road leading to it are soft and narrow. So the Super-10 dump trucks that can carry up to 16 tons …read more
Source:: The Mercury News