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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 041-99041-01; Marin County
PW ID# 321; Road Shoulder Damage by Slope Failure
October 6, 2009
Governors Authorized Representative
California Emergency Management Agency
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
Re: Second AppealMarin County, PA ID 041-99041-01,Road Shoulder Damage by Slope Failure
Project Worksheet (PW) 321
Dear Mr. McCarton:
This is in response to the letter from your office dated September 15, 2008, which transmitted the referenced second appeal for Marin County (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of $110,650 in funding for repair of the road shoulder and embankment on San Geronimo Valley Drive.BACKGROUND
Rainstorms from March 29, 2006 through April 16, 2006, caused erosion and slope failure below San Geronimo Valley Drive in Woodacre, California, resulting in damage to a four-foot wide by 20-foot-long section of unpaved shoulder.
The damage occurred
at mile marker 0.76, and approximately 50 feet above Sand Geronimo Creek. The Applicant requested assistance from the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for costs associated with repair of the road shoulder and embankment. Specifically, the Applicant requested replacement of the damaged section of the shoulder and installation of a cast-in-drilled hole (CIDH) retaining wall to stabilize the slope.
On July 27, 2006, FEMA conducted a site inspection. FEMAs Landslide Site Assessment Report, dated August 31, 2006, concluded that the slope failure occurred as a result of the disaster. The report stated that the failure affected the integral ground supporting the roadway along the 20-foot section of the road and recommended that a limited geotechnical investigation be performed to assist in developing a cost effective repair to the site. On October 10, 2006, FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 321 for $110,650 for costs associated with a limited geotechnical investigation and construction of a 30 foot-long CIDH wall, random backfill, and re-grade material to restore the shoulder. During final project review, the costs were determined to be ineligible because the CIDH retaining wall constituted an improved project over the pre-disaster design of the facility. First Appeal
The California Governors Office of Emergency Services (OES) forwarded the Applicants first appeal to FEMA on January 18, 2007. The Applicant asserted that the construction of the CIDH retaining wall did not constitute an improved project and was the most practical and cost-effective means of embankment repair. FEMA requested a site visit and additional information on repair alternatives in a response letter to OES, dated March 27, 2007. FEMA and OES performed the requested site visit on May 11, 2007. The site visit report, dated May 23, 2007, documented inconsistencies with the dimensions provided by the Landslide Site Assessment Report and initial PW, which were based on site visits performed in July 2006. The report concluded that the damage to the slope existed prior to the declared event, and although the incident may have resulted in additional erosion, it was not the primary cause of the damage.
FEMA denied the Applicants appeal in a letter to OES, dated July 03, 2007, stating that the damages were not disaster related. Second Appeal
The Applicant submitted its second appeal to OES on September 17, 2007. OES forwarded the appeal to FEMA on November 16, 2007. The original transmittal was not received, and the second appeal was retransmitted to FEMA in a letter dated September 15, 2008.
The Applicant asserts that the wrong site was visited during the second site visit on May 11, 2007. The Applicants appeal includes a preliminary geotechnical evaluation from Miller Pacific Engineering Group (MPEG), dated September 17, 2007, that provides observations and preliminary conclusions made during a site visit performed on September 14, 2007. The MPEG evaluation describes the damaged area as being essentially bare of vegetation and states that the slide does not appear to be a pre-existing feature. In addition, the MPEG letter states that while they considered multiple repair options including rip-rap and various types of retaining walls, the CIDH retaining wall would be the most cost-effective repair. The evaluation recommends that details of the repair be based on a subsurface investigation including test borings. The Applicants second appeal requests that FEMA fund the geotechnical investigation and scope of work for the CIDH wall as established in PW 321 for $110,650.DISCUSSION
The Applicant provided sufficient documentation to demonstrate that FEMA and OES visited the incorrect site on May 11, 2007, and the slope failure and damages to the shoulder at the correct site were disaster related. This documentation includes FEMAs Landslide Site Assessment Report dated August 31, 2006, the Marin County Department of Public Works memorandum dated November 20, 2006; and the engineering firms preliminary geotechnical evaluation dated September 17, 2007. CONCLUSION
Based on the information provided, I have determined that costs associated with repair of the four-foot-wide by 20-foot-long damaged section of the roadway shoulder and associated integral ground are eligible. Due to the slope conditions at the site, I have determined that the CIDH wall is the most practical method of repair. Therefore, the scope of work and associated costs described in PW 321 should be re-obligated contingent upon the completion of FEMAs environmental review. The Applicant should not start construction until FEMA reviews the approved scope of work and the project is cleared for compliance with all applicable federal environmental laws and regulations. If the Applicant fails to obtain and comply with all appropriate federal, state, and local environmental laws, regulations, and/or permits prior to the start of construction, federal funding could be jeopardized.
By copy of this letter, I request that the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to implement this decision. Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX