PAJARO – Governor Gavin Newsom today traveled to the town of Pajaro, meeting with state and local leaders and first responders working to support residents and repair a levee break that flooded the community late last week.
State personnel and resources on the ground in Monterey County to support flood fighting efforts include three CalOES Swiftwater Rescue Teams, eight Cal Guard high-water vehicles, three CAL FIRE Damage Assessment Teams, a heavy lift helicopter, and additional crews from Cal Guard, CAL FIRE, the California Conservation Corps and the Department of Water Resources.
“Here in Pajaro and across the state, Californians have shown time and time again their unmatched strength and drive to support one another during times of crisis,” said Governor Newsom. “The state will continue to work with local and federal partners to ensure this community gets the support it needs to recover and protect against flood risks.”
In December 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorized a rebuild and enhancement of the flood risk reduction facilities on the Pajaro River and Salsipuedes Creek, as well as improvements to the levee system. In 2021 and 2022, Governor Newsom signed legislation by Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) to advance funds for the Pajaro River Flood Risk Management Project and cover up to 100 percent of the non-federal costs, reducing the financial burden on the community. To date, the state has provided $15 million in funding for this project through its local levee assistance program and other support.
State agencies are coordinating with local partners and non-profits to shelter and support displaced residents in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, regardless of immigration status. These efforts include working with food banks to address unmet needs, distributing information on disaster assistance for immigrants, facilitating interpreter services for outreach to Indigenous communities, and ongoing efforts to drive resources through community organizations that are mobilizing to provide assistance.
While in Pajaro, the Governor highlighted economic relief for farm and food workers, regardless of immigration status and storm damage. The U.S. Department of Agriculture grants support cash assistance to address economic inequities faced by farmworkers.
At Governor Newsom’s request, last week President Biden issued a Presidential Emergency Declaration authorizing federal assistance to support state and local storm response efforts. With storms forecasted to continue through mid-March, the Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency in 43 counties and the state continues to mobilize personnel and resources to impacted communities across California.