Archive » January 10, 2008
By India Allen, Staff Writer
County efforts triumphant in abating winter rains
With the passing of the first round of winter rains, the county’s efforts to relieve the Santa Maria Levee and various watersheds burned by the Zaca Fire have proven successful.
“The credit goes to all the people in public works who worked long hours,” said Tom Fayram, deputy director for water resources.
Just two months ago the county was facing a crisis, with natural watersheds burned during the Zaca Fire and the Santa Maria Levee on the verge of failure, the prospect of winter storms was distressing for county officials and residents.
In an attempt to alleviate their concerns, the county’s Public Works Department, in conjunction with local agencies and the California Office of Emergency Services, reinforced the Santa Maria Levee as well as the Sisquoc, Cuyama and Cachuma watersheds. The work included rock stockpiling, the creation of new Santa Maria River pilot channels, placement of debris booms in Cachuma Lake and an increase in levee patrol.
Despite a lack of federal funding, the county completed the projects and hoped for the best.
The county reported that the various projects were successful. The pilot channels did their job of redirecting storm runoff away from the levee. The debris booms stopped the flow of ash and branches into Cachuma Lake, and water from the Gibraltar Reservoir rose 22 feet and spilled into Cachuma Lake, raising it by two feet.
The channels and all the projects worked very well, and county staff members are pleased with that, Fayram said.
The Board of Supervisors expressed its appreciation for, and admiration of, the work done by the various agencies.
“We have some exceptional staff that do [great] work in the face of disaster,” 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said. 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray concurred.
“I don’t know if people understand the impact that [these improvements] have made,” she said. “I truly thank the Public Works Department for its work.”