Two Gabilan Conservation Camp hand crews recently saved homes, schools and businesses from being flooded.
During torrential storms, they diverted a flow of debris and fragmented rock away from the Monterey County town of Chualar.
On Jan. 27, the crews filled 4,000 sand bags and built four earthen berm barricades.
The soil-constructed barriers helped protect the town. The crews and staff worked in rainy/muddy conditions for over 14 hours.
Monterey County District 3 Supervisor Chris Lopez also joined the effort in the race against time and Mother Nature.
He helped with the sandbagging effort. He also assisted in the operation of the heavy equipment during the emergency preparation.
The next day, both crews returned to battle the mud and the rain once again. The crews filled an additional 3,000 sand bags, stacked onto 40 wooden pallets.
The crews loaded the pallets onto trucks and staged along River Road, which had flooded as a result of the rains over the previous day.
The hours dedicated by the crews not only helped protect the city, but allowed local residents to protect their own properties.
Once the sandbags were in place along vulnerable areas, remaining sandbags were provided to local residents to build their defensive walls on their property.
“We are all proud of the work these hand crews perform on a daily basis,” said Lt. M. Nilsson, Gabilan Camp Commander. “CDCR, CAL FIRE and the incarcerated crews strive to put their best efforts forward for the residents of Monterey and San Benito Counties.”