About the Salinas River

Salinas River

Salinas River – The "Upside Down River"

From its headwaters in the Garcia Mountains near Santa Margarita in San Luis Obispo County, CA, the Salinas River flows northwestward through the Salinas Valley known as the “Salad Bowl of the World” and empties into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Monterey County. Because it flows north instead of west or south and has one of the largest subsurface flows in the nation, the Salinas River is called the “Upside Down River.”

Many Central Coast towns and cities rely on the Salinas River for water as do farms, ranches, vineyards, two military bases, and terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. The Salinas River is one of the largest recharge sources for the troubled Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

Some of the issues facing the Salinas River are:

  • Drought
  • Population growth
  • Erosion
  • Pollution
  • Invasive species
  • Groundwater depletion
  • Degradation or loss of wildlife habitat

Although there have been successful restoration projects along the river, there currently is no joint San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County Salinas River watershed management plan.

Working Group

Read about a newly formed working group whose mission is to engage diverse stakeholders in developing a comprehensive management plan for the Salinas River watershed.