Storm Wars: The Rain Awakens


Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it was the fifth summer of one of the most severe droughts on record, and with the arrival of the El Niño rains, flood control stands front and center in the forward planning for many public agencies.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District announced in early January that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be taking new interim measures to improve flood protection on the Los Angeles River during El Niño events. The San Bernardino County Flood Control District has posted a list of resources for helping its residents to prepare for the rain and flooding. “El Niño storms are expected to be powerful this fall and winter. San Bernardino County residents must be prepared as storms can cause a variety of safety issues,” stated the County on its website. The National Weather Service has issued a video briefing for El Niño.

hinkley-road-crossingLocal jurisdictions and agency personnel have seen major rain events in California a few times. Since 2005, the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, Emergency Management Division, has recorded eight federally declared disasters due to winter storms, flooding, and landslides. According to the Alameda County website, the County operates under the “premise that a catastrophic weather front could impact Alameda County at any time and, therefore, consistently maintains elevated standards of preparation.”

Because of the known complexities inherent in dealing with storm-related disasters, many public jurisdictions were proactive in late 2015. Preparations in Orange County and other jurisdictions have included town hall meetings, weather workshops, and resource agency coordination meetings. ECORP holds an on-call contract with Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. In preparation for storm-related needs, the District contracted with ECORP to be on call at short notice for consultation, survey, and general environmental permitting needs.

Trash-Flood-Damage-Big-Tujunga-Wash-MitigationECORP has assisted Public Works clients for many years in storm-related permitting, survey work, and monitoring. In addition to the aforementioned contract with the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, ECORP holds an on-call contract with Metropolitan Water District for regulatory consultation and has assisted Metropolitan with several emergency projects. ECORP holds similar on-call contracts with Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, San Bernardino County Flood Control District, Orange County Public Works, Caltrans District 7, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. ECORP has conducted similar work for storm-related projects within those jurisdictions.

We can assist our clients in several ways by providing consultation services for their storm-related projects:
  • Emergency regulatory permitting for emergency repair of facilities
  • Biological consultation on strategic and biologically-friendly in-channel vegetation removal
  • Biological monitoring of stormwater
  • Avoidance of sensitive biological resources for operation and maintenance of existing facilities, such as pump houses
  • Environmental consultation for cleaning out silt basins, storm drains, and flood channels
  • Environmental (CEQA, biology, archaeology) for capital improvement projects to preserve or improve flood protection
If you would like to know more, please contact Scott Taylor, Southern California Biological Program Manager at (909) 307-0046, Peter Balfour, Northern California Principal Biologist at (916) 782-9100, or Kathy Kondor, Director of Marketing at (714) 648-0630.