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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 111-UL4GF-00; Ventura County Watershed Protection District
PW ID# Project Worksheet 2570; Ventura River Channel
May 2, 2008
Governors Authorized Representative
Governors Office of Emergency Services
Response and Recovery Division
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, California 95655
Re: Second AppealVentura County Watershed Protection District, PA ID 111-UL4GF-00,Ventura River Channel
, FEMA-1577-DR-CA, Project Worksheet (PW) 2570
Dear Ms. Koch:
This letter is in response to your letter dated November 7, 2007, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Ventura County Watershed Protection District (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of funding for debris removal and realignment of the Ventura River in the vicinity of the Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge.
The storms and heavy rains from December 27, 2004, through January 11, 2005, caused excessive storm water runoff and debris flows into the Ventura River. The high flows eroded the river banks depositing debris at the Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge and along a 2,000-foot reach of the river.
The deposited debris amounted to approximately 46,000 cubic yards (CY) of rock, silt, and sediment. The high flows also caused a shift of the low-flow channel from the west side of the river to the east side, against the natural bank. The east bank of the river is along the base of a
near-vertical, 100-foot high bluff. Sixteen private residences are located at the top of the bluff.
The Applicant requested $229,407.87 in assistance from FEMA for the removal of debris and sediment and realignment of the low-flow channel back to the west bank. FEMA denied the Applicants request because the accumulated debris and the erosion to the east bank of the river did not pose an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, or improved property.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on June 2, 2006, and a supplement to the appeal on
July 3, 2006. The Applicant requested funding for debris removal and the realignment of the low- flow channel of the Ventura River back to the west bank. The basis of the Applicants appeal was that the debris at the vicinity of the Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge was an immediate threat to the safety of the bridge, and that the erosion caused by the shift of the low-flow channel to the east bank of the river caused an immediate threat to the private residences at the top of the bluff. The Applicant submitted a geotechnical report on May 2, 2007, in support of its appeal.
FEMA reviewed the report and determined the Applicant had not demonstrated that an immediate threat to life, safety, or improved property existed as result of the deposited debris or the erosion to the base of the bluff. The Deputy Regional Administrator denied the appeal on July 13, 2007, because the debris and erosion to the bluff did not pose an immediate threat to life, public health and safety, or improved property. In accordance with 44 CFR §206.221(c), Immediate threat means the threat of additional damage or destruction from an event which can reasonably be expected to occur within five years
The Applicant submitted a second appeal on September 21, 2007, reiterating the position presented in its first appeal. The second appeal included an Emergency Watershed Protection Damage Survey Report prepared by the U.S. Department of Agricultures Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The Applicant states that the NRCS recognized the flow of the river against the east bank resulted in bank erosion and the potential to destabilize the bank, threatening property loss.
We have reviewed all information submitted with the second appeal and have determined that the relocated low-flow channel presented an immediate threat to improved property. Therefore, the cost of measures ($229,408) that the Applicant took to reduce the threat is eligible for reimbursement under the Public Assistance Program. Accordingly, I am approving the appeal. By copy of this letter, I request the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to implement this determination.
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