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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 099-91005; West Stanislaus Irrigation District
DSR ID# 71491,37804,01895; Irrigation Canal Intake Gates
November 2, 1999
Mr. D.A. Christian
Governor's Authorized Representative
Governor's Office of Emergency Services
Post Office Box 419023
Rancho Cordova, California 95741
RE: Second Appeal - West Stanislaus Irrigation District, PA ID 099-91005
FEMA-1046-DR-CA, DSRs 71491.
Dear Mr. Christian:
This is in response to your March 29, 1999, letter forwarding the referenced second appeal from the West Stanislaus Irrigation District (WSID). WSID is appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) December 15, 1998, denial of its request for a new Damage Survey Report (DSR). WSID complained that the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had been prepared to commence the permanent repairs to its irrigation water intake facility in 1996, but put the project on hold because the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) started negotiations to purchase the surrounding reclamation districts. Since then, WSID has not been able to have its intake structure restored because of the interaction between the two federal agencies. WSID is, therefore, reiterating its request for a DSR for permanent repairs.
In the aftermath of the early 1995 winter storms and floods, FEMA approved Category B DSR 37804 on August 17, 1995, for $115,219 to repair the applicant's water intake structure that had washed away. Water flowed through the intake structure from the San Joachin River into WSID's irrigation canal. It was determined that the levees through which WSID obtained water to fill its canal were flood control works under the jurisdiction of USACE. Therefore, FEMA was not responsible for the permanent repairs. WSID requested FEMA to prepare a DSR for the permanent restoration of the intake structure in its November 1, 1996, letter that you forwarded on April 30, 1997. WSID stated that the earlier repairs were temporary emergency repairs and did not allow proper control of the water. In a November 4, 1997, letter FEMA's Disaster Recovery Manager denied the request because the facility was a flood control facility under the jurisdiction of USACE.
You forwarded the applicant's first appeal of the decision in your January 7, 1998, letter indicating that you did not support the appeal. FEMA at that time performed another inspection and determined that the repairs were indeed temporary and that the facilities had been damaged again in the January 1997 heavy rains. It was also determined that the irrigation facilities did belong to WSID and were not the responsibility of USACE. The facilities were, therefore, eligible for disaster assistance. However, because the applicant was in no position to begin work to repair the damaged facilities before March 12, 1999, the latest time extension your office could grant, FEMA would not grant its request for a new DSR. USACE and FWS were still negotiating the transfer of the surrounding reclamation districts.
My staff has made several telephone calls to USACE and FWS personnel in California and in Washington, DC, to determine the status of the project and has just received information regarding the proposed resolution. USACE is in the process of designing the structure to restore the applicant's facility. The structure envisaged is a gated intake that would provide protection to WSID's pumps from being inundated in the event of a flood. USACE is consulting with FWS to determine if construction could proceed through the winter months. USACE projects that the construction of the flood control works will be complete by March 2000, if FWS does not place any restrictions on the work. I have been assured that the applicant is and will continue to be informed of the progress.
Under the circumstances, FEMA must deny the applicant's appeal. USACE has taken responsibility for the restoration and will actually complete the work. Please inform WSID of my determination. In accordance with the appeal procedure governing appeal decisions made on or after May 8, 1998, my decision constitutes the final decision on this matter. The current appeal procedure was published as a final rule in the Federal Register on April 8, 1998. It amends 44 CFR 206.206.
Lacy E. Suiter
Executive Associate Director
Response and Recovery Directorate
cc: Martha Z. Whetstone
FEMA Region IX