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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 000-92185; Reclamation District #685
DSR ID# N/A; Tule River
Citation: Appeal Brief; Second Appeal; Reclamation District #685; FEMA-1155-DR-CA; PA 000-92185
Cross-Reference: Late December Storms of 1996; Legal Responsibility; Emergency Measures
Summary: Prior to the late storms of December 1996, the Tule River channel upstream from the District's boundaries was overgrown with brush and filled with debris that would restrict the movement of water during heavy flows, causing the water level to rise and threaten the levee system. Although the District's boundary is at the 4th Avenue Bridge and its area is downstream, it was obvious to the District that a heavy flow of water would be restricted at the bridge and would overflow the levee upstream. The District was concerned with the danger and sent a letter on June 10, 1994, to the landowners adjacent to the channel emphasizing the danger if the channel debris were not removed. In preparation, for the very heavy storm runoff of December 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced it would release a large amount of storm water from Success Dam into the Tule River within four or five days. Since the land owners adjacent to the channel were unable to remove the debris from the channel and time was of the essence, the District acted in an urgent manner to remove the debris before the storm water was released by USACE to prevent damage or overtopping of the levees caused by backed-up storm water. As a result, FEMA prepared DSR 76735 for $33,886 to reimburse the District. Upon review, the DSR was reduced to $0 because the District was not legally responsible for the work. In the first appeal, the District claimed that it was responsible to protect the residences and businesses in the surrounding area, and it acted appropriately by taking emergency action to eliminate or lessen storm damage to public and private property. The Regional Director denied the appeal because the area of work was outside the District's boundaries pursuant to 44 CFR 206.223(a)(3), and the work was not considered an emergency since the District was aware of the situation in 1994 and failed to correct the problem.
Issue: Is the District responsible to perform the work?
Findings: Yes. The applicant is responsible for performing work that eliminates or lessens immediate threats to its facilities and to other improved properties.
Rationale: 44 CFR 206.223(a)(3); 44 CFR 206.224(a); 44 CFR 206.225(a)(3)