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Tule River

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter

Appeal Brief

DisasterFEMA-1155-DR
ApplicantReclamation District #685
Appeal TypeSecond
PA ID#000-92185
PW ID#N/A
Date Signed1999-02-08T05:00:00
Citation: Appeal Brief; Second Appeal; Reclamation District #685; FEMA-1155-DR-CA; PA 000-92185

Cross-Reference: Late December Storms of 1996; Legal Responsibility; Emergency Measures

Summary: Prior to the late storms of December 1996, the Tule River channel upstream from the District's boundaries was overgrown with brush and filled with debris that would restrict the movement of water during heavy flows, causing the water level to rise and threaten the levee system. Although the District's boundary is at the 4th Avenue Bridge and its area is downstream, it was obvious to the District that a heavy flow of water would be restricted at the bridge and would overflow the levee upstream. The District was concerned with the danger and sent a letter on June 10, 1994, to the landowners adjacent to the channel emphasizing the danger if the channel debris were not removed. In preparation, for the very heavy storm runoff of December 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced it would release a large amount of storm water from Success Dam into the Tule River within four or five days. Since the land owners adjacent to the channel were unable to remove the debris from the channel and time was of the essence, the District acted in an urgent manner to remove the debris before the storm water was released by USACE to prevent damage or overtopping of the levees caused by backed-up storm water. As a result, FEMA prepared DSR 76735 for $33,886 to reimburse the District. Upon review, the DSR was reduced to $0 because the District was not legally responsible for the work. In the first appeal, the District claimed that it was responsible to protect the residences and businesses in the surrounding area, and it acted appropriately by taking emergency action to eliminate or lessen storm damage to public and private property. The Regional Director denied the appeal because the area of work was outside the District's boundaries pursuant to 44 CFR 206.223(a)(3), and the work was not considered an emergency since the District was aware of the situation in 1994 and failed to correct the problem.

Issue: Is the District responsible to perform the work?

Findings: Yes. The applicant is responsible for performing work that eliminates or lessens immediate threats to its facilities and to other improved properties.

Rationale: 44 CFR 206.223(a)(3); 44 CFR 206.224(a); 44 CFR 206.225(a)(3)

Appeal Letter

February 8, 1999

Mr. D.A. Christian
Governor's Authorized Representative
Office of Emergency Services
Disaster Assistance Program Branch
Post Office Box 419023
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-92023

Dear Mr. Christian:

This is in response to your May 7, 1998, letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). With your letter, you transmitted a second appeal of Damage Survey Report (DSR) 76735 on behalf of the Reclamation District #685 under FEMA-1155-DR-CA. The District is requesting $33,886 for removing debris from the Tule River to prevent damage or overtopping of levees caused by backed-up storm water upstream of 4th Avenue.

Prior to the late storms of 1996, the Tule River channel upstream from the District's boundaries was overgrown with brush and filled with debris. Although the District's boundary is at the 4th Avenue Bridge and its area is downstream, it was obvious to the District that during heavy flows this debris would restrict the movement of water at the bridge, causing the water level to rise and threaten the levee system. If the upstream levees were breached, the floodwaters would wash out the bridge abutments and the county road as well as cause extensive damage to the property of local residents. The District was concerned with the danger and sent a letter on June 10, 1994, to the landowners adjacent to the channel emphasizing the danger if the channel debris were not removed.

In preparation for the heavy storm runoff of December 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced it would release a large amount of storm water from Success Dam into the Tule River within four or five days. Since the landowners adjacent to the channel were unable to remove the debris from the channel and time was of the essence, the District acted in an urgent manner to remove the debris before the storm water was released by USACE. FEMA prepared DSR 76735 for $33,886 to reimburse the District for the emergency work; but upon review, reduced the DSR to $0 because the responsibility of the work performed on the Tule River was that of private landowners, and not the District. In the first appeal, the District claimed that it was responsible to protect the residences and businesses in the surrounding area, and it acted appropriately by taking emergency action to eliminate or lessen storm damage to public and private property. The Regional Director denied the appeal because the area of work was outside the District's boundaries pursuant to 44 CFR 206.223(a)(3), and the work was not considered an emergency since the District had been aware of the situation since 1994 and failed to correct the problem.

After a thorough review of the documentation submitted, I have determined that the District was responsible to provide flood protection to the properties within the District. Emergency work to clear the debris from the channel upstream from the 4th Avenue boundary was essential to the provision of this protection. Pursuant to 44 CFR 206.224 and 206.225, this work is eligible for reimbursement. By copy of this letter, I am requesting the Regional Director prepare a DSR to reinstate the eligible costs of $33,886. Please inform the applicant of this decision.

Sincerely,

/S/

Lacy E. Suiter
Executive Associate Director
Response and Recovery Directorate

cc: Martha Z. Whetstone
Regional Director
FEMA Region IX
Last updated Feb 4, 2020