11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito

11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito title=
11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito
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Source: The Partnership for Resilient Communities

All of the emergency authorizations for a Santa Barbara non-profit group to proceed with constructing 11 debris flow protection nets in the canyons above Montecito have been granted [Friday] by four federal, state and local agencies, The Partnership for Resilient Communities announced.

With these authorizations in hand, The Partnership is ordering its first series of GeoBrugg debris nets and is mobilizing for construction in early January as it raises final construction funds and signs landowner agreements.

“We thank the County of Santa Barbara, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the California Water Quality Control Board for their commitment to the environment and to the public’s safety,” said Pat McElroy, The Partnership’s Executive Director.  “We’re proceeding with nets in three of the highest risk canyons.”

The community was hit by boulders and mud in the early morning of January 9 in a disaster that resulted in the loss of 23 lives, billions in property damage, and closed the 101 Freeway for several weeks.  The consensus of public safety and debris flow experts is that Montecito’s steep canyons after the Thomas Fire remain at high risk for debris flows after another intense rain, particularly in this El Nino year.            

“The Partnership has stepped up for our community and filled a critical gap.” said Mona Miyasato, Santa Barbara County CEO.  “They have sought temporary solutions working with the County and other state agencies for added measures of safety for the community.” 

The County received over 50 letters of support from leading community stakeholders during a two-week public comment period.  The project was substantially improved after input from creeks and trails advocates and the regulatory agencies.

 “This Partnership is a marquee example of shared trust, cooperation, and innovative thinking from the private sector, government, philanthropy and community leadership,” added McElroy. “This Public Private Partnership is a win-win for our region’s safety and enhances our   shared culture of preparedness and resiliency going forward.”   

Fundraising is critical and ongoing, with individual support needed at all levels. The Partnership has raised approximately $2 million.  With these regulatory authorizations, and using matching funds pledged by generous donors, The Partnership is optimistic that it will close out its $7 million capital campaign to build the maximum number of nets. For more information or to donate, please visit partnershipsb.org

The Partnership’s installation contractor and geotechnical engineer, Access Limited Construction and KANE GeoTech, Inc., respectively, are staging once the landowner authorizations and funding is completed.  Storrer Environmental Services and Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services will continue to provide critical monitoring and permitting support.    

TPRC also announced today that they are moving forward in discussions with FEMA for $4.44 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Funding for a second phase of protective debris flow nets in 2019. The Partnership is also committed to exploring improved monitoring and warning systems and hillside native re-vegetation solutions in the coming year.  

About the TPRC

The Partnership for Resilient Communities (TPRC) was formed by county residents shortly after the 1/9 Debris Flow as a 501(c)(3) non-profit community organization focusing on recovery, safety and resiliency efforts, including most critically on debris flows.

The non-profit organization’s mission has been to focus on helping the County select and implement the most appropriate approaches for disaster prevention and solutions that immediately address and reduce hillside risk.

For more information: www.partnershipsb.org  

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EastBeach Dec 24, 2018 02:47 PM
11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito

I don't have an informed opinion on the ring net issue and don't have the right kind of engineering background to make any assessments. However, I did find some basic information others might be interested in. A map of proposed ring net sites is here .......... https://partnershipsb.org/net-project. One each for the west & east forks of Cold Spring, two for Hot Springs, seven for Buena Vista, and two for Romero. Geobrugg is a Swiss-based multi-national corporation and has a bunch of US-related brochure downloads but the one that gave me the biggest picture on their ring nets and nice photos of the ring net's components was this Myanmar-oriented link ........ http://www.euroculture.my/PDF/10.Geobrugg-AG_Debris-Flow_en.pdf

PitMix Dec 24, 2018 10:39 AM
11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito

Imagine this- the nets fill up, and then give way and the load of boulders and mud that have built up behind them comes crashing down on the homeowners below. And the non-profit doesn't have immunity from lawsuits like the County does. Could get really ugly for them. Best things is that we don't get any more intense rains for the next few years and the nets don't get tested.

Eggs Ackley Dec 24, 2018 12:02 PM
11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito

This strategy may be effective or it may create a far worse outcome. It's truly a giant gamble to entrust your life to this strategy. I think @PITMIX nailed it. I would not want to be downstream from one of these installations during a storm event. Could actually cause far more damage than without. I've seen slides block drainages and impound water which then creates much greater potential to wreak havoc when runoff inevitably crests and the resultant flash flood delivers debris flows in much greater volumes and intensities than would have otherwise occurred. I caution all to not trust your safety and that of your family to this experiment. Act accordingly as though the nets were not emplaced.

SantaBarbaraObserver Dec 23, 2018 09:21 AM
11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito

Nice work TPRC! This is a real and effective solution to solve a very pressing problem. All done in a matter of months. Nothing like the can-kicking, consultant hiring, do-nothing outcomes from our local wet-noodle representatives.

Z Dec 24, 2018 10:55 AM
11 Debris Flow Nets to be Installed in Montecito

"real and effective solution" - sez who? Untested and hand-wave engineered. Might as well fill in the arroyos so debris flows are spread out for everyone below to get some.

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