Summary: During the El Ni?o storms of early 1998, floodwaters caused a landslide, which washed out a 160-foot long and 18-foot wide section of Cragmont Avenue and undermined the ground beneath the road. Following an inspection of the damages, FEMA prepared and obligated Damage Survey Report 01066 for $94,229 to repair the road. FEMA also prepared DSR 01068 for $303,771 to fund the construction of a soldier beam and lagging retaining wall to hold the ground below the road surface in place. However, following a review of DSR 01068, FEMA determined that the retaining wall was not eligible for funding and obligated $0 for the DSR. FEMA determined that the retaining wall was intended to stabilize the headscarp of a local landslide. The regional staff based its decision on FEMA's Landslide Policy Relating to Public Facilities (November 30, 1995), which states that no funding will be provided to stabilize areas of previous or known instability, but will fund eligible repairs when the applicant has completed site stabilization at its own expense. On April 6, 1999, the applicant submitted a first appeal, which stated that the retaining wall was only intended to hold the replaced ground atop the stable land and does not impart any stabilization effects to the landslide down slope of the road. The Regional Director denied the appeal based on the determination that the retaining wall was required to stabilize the site. The Regional Director cited the applicant's geotechnical report, which stated that the natural bed rock underlying the road is weak as a result of fracturing and shearing because of its proximity to a Hayward fault lineament. In its second appeal, the applicant asserts that the site is generally stable and the retaining wall is intended to provide lateral support to the road and to hold the replaced fill in place. The applicant has provided documentation from its geotechnical consultant to support its case.
Issues: Is the retaining wall eligible for funding?
Findings: Yes. Due to the steep slope and location of private property just down slope of the damaged road section, a retaining wall was required to provide the lateral support necessary to restore the road to its pre-disaster condition. The retaining wall is a cost-effective solution. Furthermore, FEMA has concluded that the site was stable and the retaining wall was not a stabilization measure. Prior to reimbursement, the applicant must provide documentation of the actual project costs and eligible work performed.
Rationale: Section 406 of the Stafford Act; FEMA's Landslide Policy Relating to Public Facilities, R&R Policy No. 4511.300, dated November 30, 1995