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Beach Repair

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter Appeal Analysis

Appeal Brief

DisasterFEMA-1577-DR
ApplicantCounty of Los Angeles
Appeal TypeSecond
PA ID#037-99037-00
PW ID#PW 2980
Date Signed2009-05-19T04:00:00
Citation:FEMA-1577-DR-CA, County of Los Angeles PW 2980

Cross
Reference: Facility Eligibility; Improved Beaches

Summary: Storm surge and wave action associated with the winter storms of
December 27, 2004, through January 11, 2005, (FEMA-1577-DR-CA), resulted in the erosion of near-shore and off-shore beach sand from Redondo Beach. The beach sustained damage along approximately 1,500 feet of its 8,000-foot length. The County of Los Angeles (Applicant) requested funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to restore the beach to its pre-disaster condition. FEMA determined that permanent restoration of the beach was ineligible because the facility did not meet the criteria for permanent restoration of a beach, established in Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.226(j), Restoration of Damaged Facilities, Beaches. The Applicant submitted its first appeal on November 9, 2005. The Applicant requested $2,284,910 to restore 31,000 cubic yards (CY) of sand at Redondo Beach. The Regional Director denied the appeal on August 14, 2006, because the beach did not meet the criteria established in
44 CFR §206.226(j)(2)(ii): “A maintenance program involving periodic renourishment of sand must have been established and adhered to by the applicant.” The Applicant’s second appeal, submitted on October 16, 2006, also failed to satisfy the requirements of the regulation.
Issues: Did the Applicant have an established and adhered to maintenance program involving periodic renourishment of sand at the time of the disaster?

Findings: No.

Rationale: Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.226(j)(2), Restoration of Damaged Facilities, Beaches.

Appeal Letter

May 19, 2009

Frank McCarton
Governor’s Authorized Representative
California Emergency Management Agency
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, California 95655

Re: Second Appeal–County of Los Angeles, PA ID 037-99037-00, Beach Repair,
FEMA-1577-DR-CA, Project Worksheet (PW) 2980

Dear Mr. McCarton:

This is in response to a letter from your office, dated December 13, 2006, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the County of Los Angeles (Applicant). The Applicant appealed the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of funding for repair and nourishment of Redondo Beach.

As explained further in the enclosed analysis, I have determined that the Regional Director’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance regulations and policy. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal.

Please inform the Applicant of my decision. My determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.

Sincerely,
/s/
James A. Walke
Acting Assistant Administrator
Disaster Assistance Directorate

Enclosure

cc: Karen Armes
Acting Regional Administrator
FEMA Region IX

Appeal Analysis

BACKGROUND

Storm surge and wave action associated with the winter storms of December 27, 2004, through January 11, 2005, (FEMA-1577-DR-CA), resulted in the erosion of near-shore and off-shore beach sand from Redondo Beach. The beach sustained damage along approximately 1,500 feet of its 8,000-foot length. The County of Los Angeles (Applicant) requested funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to restore the beach to its pre-disaster condition. FEMA determined that permanent restoration of the beach was ineligible because the Applicant failed to establish legal responsibility for the facility, the Applicant provided inconsistent documentation for the length of the facility, and the facility did not meet the criteria for permanent restoration of a beach, established in 44 CFR §206.226(j)(2), Restoration of Damaged Facilities, Beaches ,Improved beaches: “Work on an improved beach may be eligible under the following conditions: (i) The beach was constructed by the placement of sand (of proper grain size) to a designed elevation, width, and slope; and (ii) A maintenance program involving periodic renourishment of sand must have been established and adhered to by the applicant.”

First Appeal

The Applicant submitted its first appeal on November 9, 2005. The Applicant requested $2,284,910 to restore 31,000 cubic yards (CY) of sand at Redondo Beach. The Regional Director denied the appeal on August 14, 2006, because the beach did not meet the maintenance program criteria established in 44 CFR §206.226(j)(2)(ii), Restoration of Damaged Facilities, Beaches, Improved beaches.

Second Appeal

The Applicant submitted its second appeal on October 16, 2006. The Applicant maintained that it has satisfied the requirements of 44 CFR §206.226(j)(2)(ii), Restoration of Damaged Facilities, Beaches, Improved beaches. In order to support its claim, the Applicant submitted a copy of its Sand Renourishment Policy and charts that measure the width of the beach, north of Topaz Groin, from November 2002, through September 2006.
DISCUSSION

FEMA has reviewed the documentation that the Applicant provided in its first and second appeals with consideration to the following questions:

1. Is there an established and adhered to maintenance program to preserve the design?

The Applicant stated that it utilizes “opportunity nourishments” to maintain the beach because the annual erosion of sand is negligible. In order to support its claim that a maintenance plan is not needed, the Applicant provided two charts demonstrating the width of the beach each month from November 2002, through August 2006. The Applicant did not clarify whether these charts provide one measurement or an average of several measurements. In addition, the Applicant did not specify the location of the measurement(s). A footer at the bottom of the charts notes that the widths were taken from the Topaz Groin, but it does not indicate on which side of the groin that they were taken. This is a critical omission since the groin separates two project areas, each with distinct beach characteristics and it cannot be assumed that the measurements taken from one side of the groin are uniform or interchangeable with the other side.

The Applicant’s claim that a maintenance plan is not needed, or that “opportunity nourishments” constitute a maintenance plan, is not valid. Even areas of low annual erosion need a renourishment plan to account for periodic erosion from severe events. “Opportunity nourishments” are as-needed nourishments. The Applicant’s maintenance plan is to wait until the beach has eroded to an unimproved or critical condition before it nourishes the beach.
The Applicant also provided a copy of its Department of Beaches and Harbors’ Sand Renourishment Program policy, dated March 1, 2003, that addresses maintenance with the following statement:

“The Department will proactively pursue sources of sand for beach renourishment, and shall, prior to placement of sand on any beach, ensure the sand is tested for compatibility; and
The Department shall maintain a priority list of beaches needing renourishment, which priority list shall be reviewed and updated at least semi-annually, in March and September, with every effort made to place new sources of sand on the highest priority beaches

This policy is not a maintenance plan for beach nourishment; it merely describes how the Applicant will select beach nourishment projects when funds are available. The policy does not state that the beach will be renourished when an identified condition (beach width, volume of sand, etc.) is present.
2. What amount of sand was removed from the project area by the incident event?

The Applicant requested funding to replace sand eroded between stations 306+65 and 327 +00, demarcated on its beach width charts. The erosion volumes were calculated using USACE surveys from 2002, and 2005. Based on the documentation provided, the Applicant only monitors the beach width and has not done any cross sections or detailed surveys, and relies on USACE for data for Redondo Beach. The computed volumes are not valid because the period between surveys is too long. Based on the Applicant’s beach width charts, the beach had eroded some between 2002 and the declared disaster. That amount of erosion would need to be estimated and subtracted to yield the loss of sand from the disaster. This is not possible due large gaps between the Applicant’s renourishment projects. Additionally, the lack of detailed monitoring records also supports our finding that the Applicant does not have a maintenance plan.
CONCLUSION

FEMA has determined that the Applicant did not have a maintenance program, involving periodic renourishment of sand, in place at the time of the declared disaster. Therefore, the repair of Redondo Beach is not eligible for funding under the Public Assistance Program.
Last updated February 4, 2020