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Letters: Whatever happened to flood and drought control of the Fresno River?

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

The Fresno River, as it currently stands (2021).


When I became Supervisor of District 3 Madera County, in 2012, the Fresno River was completely overgrown, the banks were in bad shape in several areas from the Santa Fe tracks to Road 23. A few years earlier, we almost lost the railroad bridge next to Gateway because of debris that piled up against the wood trusses. It took Union Pacific two days to repair and make the bridge safe, once again. The farmers, because of private land past Road 23, kept the Fresno River clean because they needed the water, if any ,to percolate into the underground to bring up the water table.

The tax paying property owners of Madera County pay a portion of their taxes for the Flood Control Measures for all creeks and rivers through Madera County, which had not been used in years for flood control. It took a year to prepare for cleaning of the Fresno River because impact studies and ridiculous demands the state required. By the end of 2013, we started the clean up of the Fresno River from Road 23 and went east all the way to the small dam next to the Santa Fe tracks past Tozer Road.

The Madera County Engineering, Planning, the Parks Maintenance group, MID, City of Madera, along with Caglia Environmental helped with his company’s expertise and did all the work to keep the cost down. By the time three years passed we had 90 percent of the bamboo sprayed and the riverbed completely cleaned out. We, as a team, met the goal of state flood control measure and the cleanup of over 4,000 tons of inputted trash that had been placed in the Fresno River over many years.

So, what happened to Madera County’s District 3 and 4 Supervisors? Why haven’t they kept the Fresno River safe in all aspects and use your flood control property taxes and state grants to do so? The pictures show what happens when County Supervisors and City Council members do not work together as a team to get crucial projects done. Our beautiful Fresno River was once a place that families could stroll the pathways to view nature, exercise and get the workload off the mind. We no longer can use the water flows of the river for percolation because of the debris and the vegetation that has taken over the riverbed.

Neglecting the Fresno River and creek beds is not the proper way of putting the Madera Citizens/Property owners’ hard-earned money to good use. What is that money being used for?

— Rick Farinelli



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