Draft BAER report released

A draft of the BAER report was released a few days ago. You can find the entire report here:

Click to access 090508_2520_3a_basin2500-8_redacted.pdf

Here are a few highlights:

“The potential for increased stream flows leading to flooding and debris flows is high to very high, particularly above some of the slopes above Highway 1 and structures near Big Sur and the Tassajara Zen Center. ”

“Given the predicted effects of the fire, all of the high value resources listed above are at serious risk for severe consequences should a storm of any significance rain on the burned area within the next three years. Impacts would occur from a combination of increases in flood flows, sediment yield, landslides and debris flows.”

“The hillslopes are generally too steep for soil treatments such as hydromulching to be effective.”

“Recommended treatments to help protect human life and safety include participating in the
establishment of an early alert system, storm patrols, and working with local agencies to help at-risk
communities be prepared in the event of a storm.”

“Additionally, the potential loss of access along Highway 1 may occur from flooding and debris flows from Pheneger Creek in the north down to Rat Creek in the south.”

“…there are no land treatments (hillslope treatments) which could be effectively implemented to provide soil cover and minimize or reduce the threat.”

“The trail system in the burned area should be closed until after the first winter following the fire. Conditions following the first winter should be evaluated to judge if additional time is needed to
provide for user safety or for protection of the trails at risk.”

“he BAER team recommends that the Los Padres National Forest area within the burned perimeter be closed to public access from the present time until it is determined by the Monterey District and Supervisors Office staff that conditions are safe enough to open this area. Hazards include trees and limbs falling, flooding, washout of trails, and dry ravel covering trails. Areas where the public may access hazardous areas from outside of this closure should also be analysed and, if necessary, posted with warning or closure signs.”

(Paraphrased) Trail inspectors will work through out the winter, assessing and correcting damage and while there, will be looking for signs of illegal entry and contacting law enforcement re same.

2 thoughts on “Draft BAER report released

  1. Hi Kate,

    Interesting reading. I’ve been spending some time w/a friend-colleague who studies mass wasting and erosion hazards w/his classes. It’ll be interesting to find out what he and his class learn as they look at the burn area.

    Do you know where on the north end hwy 1 is most likely to go out this winter? Is that area by Fernwood a real hazard? I don’t recall ever seeing the north end really bad, even in rainy winters, but, then again, I’ve never seen what happens when there’s no vegetation in the watersheds.

    Hope you’re having a fine day,


  2. Kate,
    …Here I am with my students of my Environmental Science class at Pacific Valley School. I have just shown them your BAER report summary. We are in process of doing a REAL-LIFE research assignment based on the observations of the potential of erosion and devastating landslides in Big Sur. These young, smart, fresh minds are taking a look at the situation as investigating scientists and are going to offer their conclusions on how the situation can be MITIGATED. I was a little disappointed at the “hopeless” tone of the BAER Report…here the experts had little new “outside the box” thinking, other than the organization of a patrol/early warning system. So when us adults and bureaucrats cannot get a solution…maybe our teenagers can!!! We all know that the problem cannot be totally solved/ prevented…but the key here is MITIGATION. So when this “community-service learning” assignment is complete, we will offer our reports to the appropriate officials.

    Kate, do you have some of the names and e-mail addresses of those who would be the right ones to receive our student reports when they are ready. The reports are being done on poster board as exhibition quality presentations. So, maybe the USFS, or some other agency might want to display them.

    -David Allan

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