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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 041-99041-00; Marin County
PW ID# Project Worksheet 828; Slope Failure
June 2, 2008
Governors Authorized Representative
Governors Office of Emergency Services
Response and Recovery Division
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
Re: Second AppealMarin County, PA ID 041-99041-00, Slope Failure
FEMA-1646-DR-CA, Project Worksheet (PW) 828
Dear Mr. Jacks:
This is in response to your letter dated November 26, 2007, forwarding and supporting the Marin Countys (Applicant) appeal of the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of $417,707 for slope stabilization at the intersection of Idlewood Road and Crown Road.
Severe rainstorms from March 29, 2006, through April 16, 2006, resulted in significant storm water runoff from the uphill side of a slope in Marin County. Storm water drained across Idlewood Road and down the adjacent earthen embankment resulting in a slope failure that damaged the road surfaces of Idlewood Road and Crown Road. FEMA prepared PW 828 for $417,707, to repair the roadways and stabilize the failed slope. However, FEMA denied funding because it determined that the slope failure was not the result of the disaster but was due to a pre-existing slide plane found below the site during the geotechnical investigations. If a site is unstable, the Applicant is responsible for stabilizing the site. After the site is stabilized, the cost to restore the facility is eligible.
In its first appeal dated December 1, 2006, the Applicant provided a Cal Engineering & Geology (CE&G) draft report dated August 4, 2006; a Miller Pacific Engineering Group (MPEG) report dated August 25, 2006; and a CE&G report dated November 30, 2006. The Applicant argued that there had been no evidence of instability at this site in the prior four major disasters declared for Marin County as a result of severe rainstorms and mudslides. In addition, a 1982 landslide referenced in the CE&G report does not demonstrate that the site was unstable. In a letter dated June 21, 2007, the Deputy Regional Administrator denied the Applicants first appeal based on its analysis of the CE&G and MPEG reports which demonstrated that the cause of the 2006 slope failure was a pre-existing plane of weakness within the highly sheared shale and mélange and sandstone bedrock.
In its second appeal dated September 18, 2007, the Applicant provided an email dated September 18, 2007, from MPEG that stated that its borings and other site inspections were taken after
the 2006 slide event had occurred, and did not show evidence of active landslide topography. The Applicant reiterated its position that reference to slide activity from 1982 demonstrated stability for two decades rather than instability at the site.
The geotechnical investigations indicate the presence of colluvium, loose earth material that has accumulated at the base of the hill, which signifies marginally stable slopes that can become dynamic by disturbances such as road work or heavy storms. The MPEG field notes state that the conditions in borehole-5 are consistent with the inclinometer reading that showed that 28 feet below the surface a weak sliding plane existed within the rock. The presence of very hard rock at 26 feet below ground surface at borehole-1 suggests that the sliding plane coincided with the soil/rock interface at this location. The presence of colluvium and the weak sliding plane within the rock indicates that a deep-seated landslide had existed at the project site prior to the 2006 slide. The disaster re-triggered the movement of the already unstable slope resulting in the slope failure. The site was unstable prior to the 2006 disaster event.
I have reviewed all information submitted with the appeal, and have determined that the Deputy Regional Administrators decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance Program regulations and policies. Therefore, the Applicants second appeal is denied.
The Applicant may apply for Public Assistance funding for repairs to roads and other public facilities, once the slope has been stabilized by the Applicant. However, the Applicant did not submit documentation that demonstrates that the slope has been stabilized. If the Applicant can provide such documentation to the Region, a PW will be prepared to reimburse the Applicant for repair costs for non-Federal roads.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. My determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX