Access keys:

First Tour - San Benito Part One

175x130 image

To view these pictures, just scroll down the smaller images below, and click on any of them to see an enlarged version of the picture.

(Map) The actual source of the San Benito River is further south off the bottom of this picture. This tour concerns itself only with the downstream portion of the river from approximately Tres Pinos through Hollister and on to where it joins the Pajaro near the exit of Soap Lake and Highway 101.
Here we are looking back (downstream) as we transition from the Lower Reaches of the Pajaro to the San Benito River itself. In the mid-upper part of the picture you can see Soda Lake and the large quarry to the left (south) of it.

Soda Lake is an old meander of the Pajaro (near Chittenden) and is now being filled with spoils from the Logan Quarry.
Very soon after crossing Highway 101 on our way to Hollister there appears to be a quarrying operation very close to the bed of the river. (Here we are looking upstream towards Hollister). Anzar High School in lower right foreground.

Looking further upstream, the extent of the natural flood borders of the river are very apparent, and following these lines it can be clearly seen how this operation is sitting right in the course of the river.
A closer look...
This view is southwest on the lowermost San Benito River. Active instream mining spoils disposal is occurring on berms that are elevated above the top of the riverbank. Anzar High School is on the left (green roofs) and Highway 101 can be seen in the background. Orchard and industrial areas are in what would be active floodplain but are protected by berms of mine spoils. Note heavy equipment on seasonal road that crosses the live channel, and upon which material is hauled to the processing plant from the top of Lomeras Muertas mountain, where it is being mined by mountain-top-removal.
Old in-stream mining pits are seen in the distance beyond the instream haul road.
This shows the Instream Haul Road on a berm that restricts flood storage near San Juan Bautista (background)
Old instream quarrying site with instream levees and haul road in the San Benito channel north of San Juan Bautista (which can be seen in the background)
Lucy Brown Road and instream quarry, now closed. This view is looking south.
Lower (foreground) and upper (background) Hollister sewage treatment plants in the riverbed and floodplain. The bridge is Highway 156. This view is looking southeast.
Examples of abandoned floodplains on right (north) and left(south) sides of the San Benito River at Pacific Sod Farm. Mitchell Rd is in the foreground and this view is looking west. The river is incised about 5 feet here below its historic balanced grade so that it can seldom or never reach its natural floodplains.
Looking downstream (west) at the Bixby Rd Pacific Sod Farm. This is sited in an old meander that is now isolated by dikes.

San Juan Bautista and Watsonville can be seen in the distance.
Union Road Bridge - viewed upstream toward the Hospital Road seasonal crossing.

The river cut laterally as much as 200 feet west (right) in 1998 as it tried to reclaim flood storage in the area where it is now incised (12-15 feet deeper than pre-mining).
Examples of landslides carrying sediment into the upper San Benito River just downstream from the junction with Tres Pinos Creek. This view is toward the southwest.