The very nature of the Carmel Valley is changing in ways that impact the vitality and diversity of our natural habitats and the important social, economic, and spiritual benefits they provide to our community – historically, presently and in future generations. As stewards of these ecosystems, we have a responsibility to better understand, manage, and adapt to those changes if we are to safeguard what makes Carmel Valley special.

To meet that challenge, CVA has reimagined its Natural and Cultural Heritage Committee to highlight and strengthen the vital connections between people and their natural, healthy environment throughout the Carmel Valley, from ridge to ridge and from the headwaters to the sea. Come join us in the important work!

NEW COMMITTEE GOALS – working collaboratively with others, we aim to:

  • help protect, restore, and sustain Carmel Valley’s natural ecosystems and cultural heritage.
  • help understand and celebrate the social, spiritual, and economic benefits they provide to this and future generations of valley residents and visitors.
  • highlight and strengthen the crucial and increasingly threatened linkages between nature and people throughout the Carmel Valley -- past, present, and future.

NEW FOCUS AREAS  FOR COMMITTEE AND VOLUNTEER EFFORTS – using a variety of tools and strategies, we will focus on three essential themes shaping our natural and human environments.

1) Ecosystem Integrity - Help Conserve and Restore the Health of Carmel Valley’s Watershed (the ‘what’)

  • Natural Ecosystems – preserving, restoring, and protecting Carmel Valley’s native animals and plants, their biological communities and habitats, and the varied benefits they provide to CV ecosystems, residents, and visitors.
  • Carmel River Watershed – restoring natural flows, habitats, ecosystem processes and iconic/threatened species of the Carmel River and its tributaries (e.g. Steelhead Trout, Red Legged Frogs).
  • Resilience – enhancing species’ and ecosystems’ ability to persist and function in the face of climate change and other human pressures.
  • Connectivity – creating ecological corridors and protected areas for animal migration.
  • Land-Sea Linkages – highlight and enhance ecological connections between upland valley habitats and activities and the coastal ecosystems of Carmel Bay.

2) Our Valued Ecosystem Features Linked to Land Uses – Help Protect the Intangible Values of Carmel Valley’s Ecosystems (the ‘why’)

  • Iconic Viewsheds – preserving treasured valley and coastal views from degradation.
  • Natural Soundscapes – restoring the Valley’s traditional quietude and solace.
  • Dark Skies – protecting naturally starry skies from excessive nighttime lighting.
  • Sense of Place – highlighting our deep human connections to nature and history.

3) Our Cultural History Linked to Carmel Valley Ecosystems - Honoring Carmel Valley’s Cultures: Past and Present (the ‘who’)

  • Native Americans – showcasing the history and present of local indigenous peoples’ and their connections to the land and waters of Carmel Valley.
  • Hispanic Cultures – celebrating their past and current role in local history and culture.
  • Ranching and Farming – documenting its past and current footprints and roles.
  • Modern Development – trends in transforming lands and cultures in the valley.
  • Carmel Valley in Art and Literature – reflections of an evolving landscape.


If you care about the health and vitality of our shared natural ecosystems, and about how people in the Carmel Valley use, value, and conserve these treasured places, then come join us!  Help your community understand, celebrate, and protect what we value most about the Carmel Valley - now, in our past, and in our grandchildren’s future.   Our actions today sculpt our legacy tomorrow. 

Volunteer to help with CVA’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Committee as we blaze new trails to a bright and sustainable future in Carmel Valley.  We will find a role for you that matches your interests, skills, and time commitments.


Areas of Concern

Rana Ranch Water & Flooding Dark Skies
State Park Proposal Carmel River FREE Sudden Oak Death


Our Oaks at Risk:  Carmel Valley’s oak trees are critical component of our landscapes and ecosystems.  But, these treasured trees are at risk from an invasive pathogen: Sudden Oak Disease.  You can help fight this loss, while enjoying nature at the same time.   

How You Can Help:  CVA’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Committee urges our members and others to participate in an important citizen-science effort to understand and halt the spread of a deadly disease threatening our iconic oak trees: Sudden Oak Death.  You can participate in the annual survey of Carmel Valley’s forests simply by collecting leaf samples that will inform maps of the disease’s spread in our forests.  The process is straightforward, and you’ll be given all the training and materials you need.  This is a fun and useful project for everyone, including children and students.  

Here’s How to Participate:   
SOD Project Leader: Kerri Frangioso, (contact for questions)
When:  Noon Friday April 26th – Noon Tuesday April 30th
Where: SOD Blitz Station will be located at the entrance to the of Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Palo Corona Discovery Center, 4860 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel, CA, 93923.  Click here for the location on Google Maps
Training: a simple training module is online at:

Additional Info on Sudden Oak Disease and the 2024 SOD Blitz Citizen Science Opportunities:
The Disease: Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious exotic disease, is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in coastal forests of California, between Del Norte and Monterey Counties. The disease spreads during wet years on leaves of California bay laurels and tanoaks. Some management options are available (sanitation, chemical preventative treatments, bay removal), but they are most effective if implemented before oaks and tanoaks are infected.  The presence of SOD symptomatic bay leaves generally precedes oak infections.  Hence, timely detection of the disease on bay laurel leaves is key. SOD blitzes inform and educate the community about SOD, get local citizen scientists involved in detecting the disease on bay laurel leaves, and produce detailed local maps of disease distribution. The map can then be used to identify those areas where the infestation may be mild enough to justify proactive management. To see the results of the previous year’s sampling, including 2023, please
Additionally, the samples collected during the SOD blitzes allow for a broad genetic screening to detect a new and more aggressive variant of the disease which should be curtailed. Given the amount of rainfall in 2024, SOD is expected to be spreading and may have arrived or resurfaced at a site near you. If you want to be part of the solution, become a volunteer at one of the 2024 SOD Blitzes: schedule, locations, and other info at
Format of the 2024 SOD Blitz Event

  1. Online Training (1-hour) must be done online at before collecting the sampling materials at the SOD Blitz Station.
  2. Once at your local SOD Blitz Station you can pick up one or two collection packets. Each packet allows you to sample 10 trees. Do not take more packets unless you talked to the organizer.
  3. It is easier to participate if you have downloaded the free App “SODmap mobile” before you start the survey. The app will help determine the exact location of the trees you sample; however, it is not absolutely necessary if you can provide accurate location information of the sampling spot using other means (GPS handheld device, Google Earth, Google Maps, Avenza, etc.).
  4. The Monterey County SOD Blitz will start on Friday April 26th at 12 noon and end on Tuesday April 30th at 12 noon. You can pick up sample materials any time after 12 noon Friday April 26th, but all samples and any unused collection materials need to be returned before noon on Tuesday April 30th.
  5. You can sample private properties with the owner’s permission, alongside public roads and in parks or open spaces that are open to the public.
  6. Any questions? Visit

The Wildlands Conservancy
has Aquired Carmel Valley's
Rana Creek Ranch

The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC) has purchased the Rana Creek Ranch in Carmel Valley. The ranch is located in upper Carmel Valley between the Salinas Valley and the Santa Lucia Range with 12,422 contiguous acres ranging from 900 to 3,400 feet in altitude. The property features numerous springs, seasonal creeks, and wetlands in addition to extensive oak woodlands and native grasslands. The ranch supports populations of the federal and state-listed California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander. Rana and Agua Mala Creeks provide potential habitat for re-establishing federally protected South-Central California Coast steelhead in the upper Carmel River. The ranch also provides a key wildlife corridor between the Salinas Valley and Los Padres National Forest.

Numerous wells and developed springs throughout the property supply water to water tanks and cattle troughs. The ranch currently carries approximately 160 calf/cow pairs. The entire ranch is enrolled in an Agricultural Preserve/Williamson Act contract. The property offers over 16 miles of trails and roads suitable for hiking and horseback riding. Carmel Valley Road provides direct access to the ranch at its southwest boundary. TWC intends to develop access to the northeastern portion of the property directly

from the Salinas Valley via an easement through private property. Once developed, this will provide residents of the Salinas Valley, including many low-income communities, with much closer access to the property and its recreational amenities.

With the potential exception of constructing a ranger station, TWC has agreed to restrict future development. There is an existing 9,000-square-foot conference center and several outbuildings that will serve as the preserve’s headquarters and primary visitor access. There is an existing estate home, two guest homes, greenhouse/garden, manager’s residence, pond, and several small associated outbuildings. These facilities will be used as TWC staff housing for preserve operations, rented/leased for revenue generating activities, or a mix of both.

Stay tuned for more information as the situation develops.

Read The Coastal Concervancy Staff Recomentdation

Visit the Wildlife Conservancy Website

Email the Wildlife Conservancy

Dark Skies

April 19, 2022, at 7 PM Carmel Valley Association President C.S. Noel met with Meredith Nole at mid-valley shopping center to survey existing lighting systems along Carmel Valley Road, and a few side streets. Starting by Kasey’s our findings as follows:

KASEY’S shopping area:

Exterior lighting on Kasey’s building is all High Pressure Sodium ( HPS ) fixtures. Some fixtures are flood lights. most all fixtures face outward, allowing light for the gas & parking areas to illuminate the entire area. This is important for safety, and this area has spillover lighting and some medium “glare”. HPS is the second most energy efficient lighting (next to Low Pressure Sodium which is monochromatic ), yet LED lighting is much more energy efficient & cost effective as the same fixtures can be used by simply removing the ballasts and screwing in LED lamps (bulbs) for some fixtures and repositioning. Flood light fixtures can easily be changed out to more Dark Sky friendly, with aiming downward & not outward, yet safety & security of the gas station area is primary. This particular location, due to functionality, need very specific placement of any fixture changeout.


Colonial type fixtures on poles along the street areas, some have low wattage white color LED
lamps, and others have HPS. This fixture type has 360 degree light spread, and if decided, can easily have the fixtures changed to down lighting fixtures that can fit onto the existing poles. These fixtures are not glare, yet can become more Dark Sky friendly.


Existing new LED post top fixtures on poles. The LED arrays are in the top of fixtures allowing
good Illumination levels for see-ability for parking lot area, yet the light spills out the sides in 360 degrees.

Next door to the Post Office is a residential building, and light from the Post Office poles, reach the side windows of the residential building. Additionally, the residential building has wall packs and wall mounted fixtures, that are all facing outward, not downward. The residential building does have the option of changing the exterior fixtures to downlight fixtures.


This school did the exterior lighting right. All cut-off wall pack fixtures along the rear side area of the building, and all fixtures we saw. Congratulation to TULARCITOS ELEMENTARY!!


Along the ride west from Ford Road, no specific light fixtures produced any noticeable glare or spillover light. There were a couple of light fixtures noticeable, but not intrusive.


Each business needs see-ability for it’s location & a form of advertising, and everyone does the very best they know how to achieve their objective, yet the string lights surrounding the signage actually blocks out reading their sign when the lights are on. To have their sign easily readable. A thin linear LED fixture facing downward onto the sigh from the top of the sign, would wash the their sign with light, allowing all letters to be easily seen, without seeing any glaring light blinding out their sign.

Also, this location has run linear string lights far behind their shop. I will check to find out the hours these lights are kept on at night, to find out if the lights interfere with natural darkness for all & any living things in the area. Having light interfere with natural dark cycle is not healthy for any living animal – or person.


Major changes here, with additional string lights, patios, etc. which appear to indicate some type venues to occur there. This area, as well as next door at Hacienda Hay & Feed produced the most lit area on CVR. There are no direct residential areas where spillover lights occur, yet I’m inclined to think these light is this area, may be visible from some homes up hills, or other locations. NOTE: All LED lighting must be 2700 kelvin color temperature where ever possible, this is Carmel’s color of lighting. 3000 kelvin is the next closest, yet more white in color.

HERE'S A LINK to committe chair Charlie Wahle's article on the Carmel High School fiel lights

State Park Propoposal:

Carmel Lagoon

Although not within the Carmel Valley Master Plan, the proposal from State Parks for Odello West, River and Monastery Beaches, Pt Lobos Ranch, and Bay School will affect our valley's eco-system and traffic. The proposal includes reducing parking at Pt. Lobos and along Highway one, adding parking at Bay School, Pt. Lobos Ranch and Odello, and boating and bike rentals.

Link to the State Park Proposal, Traffic Study, and Map

The Carmel Valley Association strongly supports the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement Project (Carmel River FREE)


The project will restore habitat and help significantly reduce flood risks to over 300 homes and businesses in the lower Carmel River watershed, including housing on Rio Road and Mission Fields, and businesses in the Crossroads Shopping Center.

This project is one of the most extensive and important multi-benefit flood protection and riparian habitat restoration efforts on the Central Coast! Using a nature-based green infrastructure solution, it will reclaim the southern floodplain to direct water away from developed areas north of the river.

Read More about Carmel River Free on the Big Sur Land Trust Website

Water & Flooding

CVA continues to monitor proposals affecting our valley.

Read CVA's Water Policy
Adopted 2/15/12


Below are links to information concerning our river and water supply.

An Overview of the Carmel River Watershed from CSUMB


Water Wasted to the Sea?

From the Monterey County Weekly, a history of water on the Monterey Peninsula written by reporter Asaf Shalev:

With the future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply—and water utility—on the line,
we take a look back at how we got here.

History of the Carmel River
A working paper compiled by
the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy.

Carmel River
Stewardship Manual

A guide for people living in the
Carmel River Watershed.
Created by the
Resource Conservation District

History of the Carmel River
A working paper compiled by
the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy.

The Carmel River Watershed Conservancy
A nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Carmel River.

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD)
Water conservation design codes added to California Plumbing Code.
Additional water conservation information.

Things to Know If You Live Near
a Creek or the Carmel River

Carmel River Steelhead Association

Links to Articles on Dam Removal, Climate Change, Ubanization and Sediment


County Proposes a 8 Foot High Barrier
Along the North Side of Carmel Lagoon and River Beach

From the project Draft Environment Impact Report (DEIR):

Based on the comments received during the Notice of Preparation scoping periods, the following key topics and areas of controversy have been identified:

  • lack of support by State Parks and necessity for legislative action if proposed project component is placed on State Parks land
  • impacts to water quality 
  • technical feasibility of the proposed project components ·
  • aesthetic impacts 
  • flooding impacts on- and off-site 
  • cultural resources impacts 
  • wetland and other habitat impacts 
  • impacts to steelhead 
  • encroachment into State Parks property   
  • consistency with applicable planning policies and regulations 
  • hazardous materials 
  • public access.

CVA has concerns about the barrier's visual impact, its impacts on the wastewater plant, and its intrusion onto state park land.