Summary: On October 26, 1993, the Green Meadows Fire resulted in Presidentially declared disaster FEMA-1005-DR-CA. The fire destroyed vegetation over a 4 square-mile area of the South Branch Arroyo Conejo watershed creating a debris and flood threat to property located downstream of the burn area. Following the disaster, the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) had responsibility for providing emergency assistance to construct debris basins for the fire-related debris. SCS approved the construction of a debris basin in the watershed, but due to land rights complications the basin could not be constructed. The Ventura County Flood Control District (VCFCD) proposed a debris basin at an alternative site that would contain the debris from a 10-year storm. SCS denied funding for the project because it exceeded the scope of their emergency assistance program. FEMA approved a DSR to partially fund the VCFCD's proposed debris basin. FEMA determined that 63% of the volume of the proposed basin was needed to accommodate the debris resulting from a five-year storm and, therefore, approved funding for 63% of the estimated cost of construction. Upon completion of the project, the subgrantee's request for additional funding was denied. The subgrantee appealed this decision and the Regional Director denied funding for the entire project for the following reasons: 1) the subgrantee exceeded the time limit for completion of emergency work 2) SCS determined that the project was not a necessary emergency action 3) funding for an emergency protective measure was used for a permanent facility 4) the permanent basin was retrofitted for use as a temporary emergency measure. In the second appeal, it is argued that FEMA's decision to deny the entire project was beyond the regulatory time limit for appeal decisions, did not allow an opportunity for rebuttal and is a punitive measure for submitting the first appeal.
Is the debris basin eligible for public assistance funding?
Did the subgrantee exceed the regulatory time limit for completion of the project?
Does the SCS denial preclude the project from FEMA funding?
Is the subgrantee eligible for supplemental funding?
Yes, the debris basin was constructed to reduce a threat to public health and safety and improved property.
No, FEMA granted a time extension to the subgrantee which was not exceeded.
No, FEMA is responsible for providing emergency protective measures regardless of SCS's decision.
No, the basin was constructed as an improved project. Therefore, the funding is limited to the Federal estimate.