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Second Appeal Analysis
PA ID# 111-70042-00; City of Santa Paula
PW ID# Project Worksheets 3122 and 3123; Rock Weir Repair and Hazard Mitigation Proposal
As a result of the December 2004/January 2005 winter storms (1577-DR-CA, declared February 4, 2005, for severe storms, flooding, debris flows, and mudslides from December 27, 2004, through January 11, 2005), the Harvey Dam (concrete dam) and the fish ladder downstream of the dam were damaged. Large rocks carried down Santa Paula Creek during the event damaged the main dam structure and the plunge pool wall. Rock and sediment debris filled a portion of the fish ladder; a chain link security fence along the fish ladder was destroyed; grouted riprap was undermined at two locations just upstream of the fish ladder; three steel boxes (part of the fish ladder) were filled with debris and deformed; and the streambed just downstream of the plunge pool eroded, rendering the fish ladder unusable. The dam and the fish ladder are owned and maintained by the City of Santa Paula (Applicant).
On September 9, 2005, FEMA prepared Project Worksheets (PWs) 3122 and 3123 for the repairs to the dam and fish ladder, respectively. While the Applicant originally requested that one PW be prepared for the facility as a whole (the dam and the fish ladder), FEMA prepared two PWs because it was anticipated that approval for the funding for the fish ladder repairs would be delayed due to the environmental review process.
The scope of work for the dam repairs under PW 3122 included repair of the main dam structure and plunge pool. The Applicant submitted a cost estimate for the repairs totaling $393,383. The cost estimate included work considered as hazard mitigation; therefore, the Applicant submitted a Hazard Mitigation Proposal (HMP) with PW 3122 for the addition of a crest plate, to protect the crest of the dam from future damage, and the construction of a wing wall upstream of the dam, to protect the east bank from future erosion ($141,500). While FEMA found the proposal to be technically feasible, it was not eligible for funding, as it did not meet the cost-effective criteria outlined in FEMA Response and Recovery Directorate Policy 9526.1 (Hazard Mitigation Policy). Additionally, FEMA deducted costs included in the Applicants estimate that were associated with the administration of the grant and engineering and design services. FEMA included a line item for engineering and design services in the approved cost estimate based on the FEMA Cost Curves found in FEMAs Public Assistance Guide (FEMA 322). FEMA obligated PW 3122 on March 10, 2006, for $113,359, denying the funding for the HMP ($141,500).
The scope of work for the fish ladder repairs under PW 3123 included removing the debris, replacing the destroyed fence, replacing the washed-out grouted riprap, repairing the deformed fish ladder boxes, and installing six new steel fish ladder boxes to address the eroded stream bed. The Applicant submitted a cost estimate for a portion of the repairs totaling $74,288. The estimate did not include costs associated with the riprap repair, the repair of the deformed fish ladder boxes, or the installation of the six new fish ladder boxes; therefore, FEMA developed cost estimates for those elements of the scope of work. FEMA deducted costs included in the Applicants estimate that were associated with the administration of the grant and engineering and design services. FEMA included a line item for engineering and design services in the approved cost estimate based on the FEMA Cost Curves found in FEMAs Public Assistance Guide (FEMA 322). The Applicant also proposed the construction of a concrete weir system downstream of the fish ladder, which did not exist prior to the event, and the reinstallation of an inlet pipe that had been removed prior to the disaster. FEMA found these additional work items to be ineligible for funding, as the work was not required as a result of the disaster.
The Applicant submitted an HMP with PW 3123 for the construction of wing walls to protect the fish ladder from future damage. Again, FEMA found the proposal to be technically feasible, but not eligible for funding as it did not meet the cost-effective criteria outlined in the Hazard Mitigation Policy. FEMA obligated PW 3123 on March 10, 2006, for $105,804, denying funding for the HMP ($79,400). First Appeal
In a letter dated February 9, 2006, the Applicant appealed FEMAs denial of funding for the HMP ($141,500) under PW 3122 (addition of a crest plate to protect the crest of the dam from future damage and the construction of a wing wall upstream of the dam to protect the east bank from future erosion) and the repair to the rock weirs under PW 3123 ($235,710). The Applicant submitted a revised estimate for the HMP totaling $144,880. The Applicants appeal did not address the HMP under PW 3123, nor did it address the other costs and work that FEMA found ineligible.
In the appeal, the Applicant stated that FEMA found the installation of rock weirs ineligible; however, in the PW, the proposed weirs were described as concrete weirs. The Applicant asserted that while FEMA found that the weirs did not exist prior to the event; the rock weirs were constructed in 1999.
The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) forwarded the Applicants first appeal to the FEMA Regional Director by letter dated April 5, 2006. In the letter supporting the Applicants appeal, OES recommended combining PWs 3122 and 3123 into one PW as the dam and fish ladder are considered one facility. OES asserted that the proposed HMP would meet the cost effective criteria outlined in the Hazard Mitigation Policy if the rock weir repair was included in the eligible scope of work and PWs 3122 and 3123 were treated as one project.
In a letter dated September 21, 2006, FEMAs Regional Director denied the first appeal, because the cost of the mitigation measures exceeds 15 percent of the project cost and the Applicant did not show the HMP to be cost effective through a benefit-cost analysis. Further, FEMAs first appeal analysis states that the separation of the project into two PWs was necessary to facilitate approval of funding for the dam repairs, because the fish ladder repairs required compliance with the Endangered Species Act and would require additional time for the environmental review process. The separation was also appropriate for FEMAs evaluation of the eligibility of hazard mitigation; it allowed FEMA to evaluate the cost of each mitigation measure against the specific elements that the measure is designed to protect.
With regard to the weirs, FEMAs Regional Director conceded that the rock weirs were constructed some time after 1999; however, during the preparation of the PW, FEMA concluded that the weirs had been washed out by an event prior to the declared disaster. This conclusion was based on conversations between the FEMA Project Officer and the Applicants representatives. The Applicant did not submit information refuting this conclusion.Second Appeal
On December 13, 2006, the Applicant submitted a second appeal of FEMAs denial of funding for the replacement of the rock weirs and the HMP under PW 3122. The Applicant asserts that there have been no major flood events on Santa Paula Creek between the time the rock weirs were installed in 1999 and the declared event, and that this indicates that the rock weirs were in place until the declared event. With its appeal, the Applicant provided documentation from various environmental agencies discussing the importance of the replacement of the rock weirs. The Applicant reiterates its position that the facility (the dam and the fish ladder) functions as a contingent structure. Lastly, the Applicant states that it does not have any record of the conversation referenced in FEMAs first appeal analysis. The Applicant is requesting additional funding ($323,600) for the rock weir replacement and the07itted the Applicants second appeal and provided a Report of Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) for the proposed HMP. OES combined PWs 3122 and 3123 for the purposes of the analysis. The result of the analysis shows a benefit cost ratio of 1.99, which indicates that the HMP is cost effective.DISCUSSIONEligibility of Rock Weir Replacement
In accordance with 44 CFR § 206.223(a)(1), to be eligible for financial assistance, an item of work must be required as the result of the major disaster event. The FEMA Regional Director determined that the rock weirs had been washed out prior to the declared event; therefore, the replacement of the weirs is not required as the result of the declared event. While the Applicant asserts that there have been no major flood events on Santa Paula Creek between the time the rock weirs were installed in 1999 and the declared event, and that this indicates that the rock weirs were in place until the declared event, the Applicant has provided no documentation supporting this assertion.
The Applicant provided documentation from various environmental agencies, some of which references an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) plan that was developed for the fish ladder. This O&M plan requires that the fish ladder shall be inspected yearly for damage. It is reasonable to assume that the inspection of the rock weirs, as part of the fish ladder, would be included in the yearly inspections. The reports from these yearly O&M inspections would be appropriate back-up documentation to support the Applicants assertion.
The regulation at 44 CFR § 206.206(a) requires that an appeal contain documented justification supporting its position. As the Applicant did not provide documentation to support its position that the replacement of the rock weirs is required as the result of the declared event, the work remains ineligible for funding.Cost-Effectiveness of HMP
OES submitted a BCA in support of its claim that the Applicants HMP is cost effective. The result of the analysis is a benefit-cost ratio of 1.99, which indicates that the HMP is cost-effective; however, based on a review of the report, OES made many assumptions in its analysis without providing documentation to substantiate the assumptions made.
The unsubstantiated assumptions made for the input into the BCA and other errors in the BCA are summarized below.
Project Useful Life (Years):
OES used 100 years. The standard value for dams is 50, with 35-100 being an acceptable range; however, documentation is required to support the value chosen.
Additional Annual Maintenance Cost for Mitigation Project:
OES used $2,000/year. The report states that the maintenance costs need to be verified with the Applicant. No supporting documentation from the Applicant was provided.
Loss of Function:
The report states that the dam (diversion structure) provides agricultural water. Therefore, some analysis must be performed regarding the loss of function (i.e., providing agricultural water). The report states that there are 62 users. It is assumed that this refers to 62 users of the agricultural water. OES used $35/day as the value of the lost service. It may be a coincidence, but this is the value established in BCA guidance documents for the complete loss of potable water service
. Documentation is required to support the input of 62 users and $35/day for the value of the loss of agricultural water.
Damages Before Mitigation:
There is a typographical error in this section. OES used the Federal share of the amount obligated under PW 3122 ($85,019). The amount must be changed to $113,359. Further, OES included the damage to the rock weirs as prior damage and used a damage amount of $350,000. The cost estimate for the rock weir repair is $235,710, not $350,000. OES also uses 365 days in this section to indicate that there was a loss of function for 365 days; however, the report indicates that the Applicant was able to find an alternate source of water during the repair period. If this is the case, it is not clear what, if any, loss of function actually occurred. Again, documentation is required to support the values chosen.
Damages After Mitigation:
In this section, OES indicates that the HMP will provide a 100-year level of protection (i.e., the HMP will protect from future damages up to a 100-year storm event) and equates no loss of function with that damage. This is inconsistent with claiming a loss of function of 365 days when the same amount of damage occurred prior to mitigation.
OES combined PWs 3122 and 3123 for the purpose of the analysis. This approach is acceptable considering the fact that the dam and fish ladder can be considered as different components of the same facility; however, because no supporting documentation for the BCA was submitted with the appeal and unsubstantiated assumptions were made in the analysis, this point is moot.
This BCA cannot be used as a basis for approving funding for the HMP. After changing the Project Useful Life from 100 years to 50 years, correcting the errors discussed above, the loss of function from 365 days to 30 days, and including the loss of function in the Damages After Mitigation section, the Benefit-Cost ratio is reduced to 0.51, which indicates that the HMP is not cost-effective.CONCLUSION
For the reasons discussed above, the Applicants appeal for $323,600 for the rock weir replacement and the HMP proposed under PW 3123 is denied.