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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 111-UL4GF-00; Ventura County Watershed Protection District
PW ID# Project Worksheet 2819; Wason Barranca and Harmon Barranca Channels
June 18, 2008
Acting Governors Authorized Representative
Governors Office of Emergency Services
Response and Recovery Division
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
Re: Second Appeal−Ventura County Watershed Protection District, PA ID 111-UL4GF-00Wason Barranca and Harmon Barranca Channels
Project Worksheet (PW) 2819
Dear Mr. McCarton:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated May 10, 2007, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of funding for repairs to the Wason Barranca and Harmon Barranca Channels.
The storms and heavy rains of December 27, 2004, through January 11, 2005, caused excessive storm water runoff and mud flows into the Wason Barranca and Harmon Barranca Channels. The Applicant requested reimbursement of $17,185 for the Wason Channel to repair embankment erosion and scouring. The Applicant also requested reimbursement of $1,000,000 for the Harmon Channel to repair landslides, an access road, chain link fence and gate, drainage outlets, access road slopes, and rock slope protection. FEMA denied the requests because the facilities met the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACEs) definition of a flood control work (FCW), and permanent repairs to the facility are not eligible for Public Assistance reimbursement.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal for Wason Barranca Channel on November 3, 2005, and for Harmon Barranca Channel on November 16, 2005. The Applicant claimed that the costs were eligible because the facilities were not active in the USACE Rehabilitation and Inspection Program (RIP) and as such, were not under the specific authority of the USACE. The Applicant stated that because it had sole responsibility for maintenance, the repairs should be eligible for reimbursement under the FEMA Public Assistance Program. The California Governors Office of Emergency Services (OES) asserted that FEMA could waive its respective administrative conditions on reimbursement for facilities under the authority of another Federal agency.
The Deputy Regional Director denied the first appeal on December 8, 2006, because the facilities met the definition of an FCW. In accordance with FEMA Response and Recovery Policy 9524.3, Policy for Rehabilitation for Levees and Other Flood Control Works,
for FCWs resides with USACE and Public Assistance reimbursement for FCWs is limited to emergency work necessary to reduce an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, or improved property. The Deputy Regional Director also explained that FEMA was unable to waive the administrative conditions on reimbursement for facilities under the authority of USACE.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on March 7, 2007, reiterating the arguments presented in its first appeal and amending the cost estimate for the Harmon Barranca Channel. In its second appeal, the Applicant claims that the permanent repairs were necessary as an emergency protective measure to safeguard residential and commercial properties and major transportation arteries in the City of Buenaventura, California. The Applicant also disputes the FEMA and USACE designation of the facility as a FCW because it is located in a Zone B floodplain.
In accordance with FEMA Response and Recovery Policy 9524.3, Rehabilitation Assistance for Levees and Other Flood Control Works
, authority for FCWs resides with USACE and Public Assistance reimbursement for FCWs is limited to emergency work necessary to reduce an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, or improved property. The Applicant did not provide documentation to demonstrate that the repair work was necessary to reduce an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, or improved property. The repairs restored the facilities to pre-disaster function and capacity. The work would, therefore, be considered Category D (permanent work). The location of a facility in a Zone B floodplain is not a consideration in determining the FCW designation.
The Applicant is requesting a change in the category of work from Category D (permanent work) to Category B (emergency protective measures). The change would not result in a different determination or eligibility; therefore, it is not necessary.
We have reviewed all information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Deputy Regional Directors decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance Program regulations and polices.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This 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