Supervisor Michael Antonovich is calling his fellow Los Angeles County board members to declare a state of emergency in Bouquet Canyon.
Los Angeles County may declare a state of emergency in Bouquet Canyon if county Supervisors pass a motion by Supervisor Michael Antonovich at Tuesday’s board meeting.
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Dry wells and a lack of water in Bouquet Canyon stem from silt buildup in Bouquet Creek since the Bouquet Fire in May 2002. Several fires over the last 10 years, in addition to repeated flooding and plant growth have exacerbated the problem.
For 50 years, county resources cleaned out the culverts near the dam, which prevented the hazardous situation, but changes made about 10 years ago made that no longer possible, said Edel Vizcarra, Antonovich’s planning and public works deputy, in a previous interview.
“You have all these rules that make it difficult to do anything,” Vizcarra said, explaining that county officials had to work with multiple agencies to address the urgent need of residents.
Antonovich’s motion asks the board to authorize Chairman Don Knabe to sign the resolution and forward a copy to the state Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, requesting that “a Governor’s Proclamation be provided under the California Disaster Assistance Act, and State agencies waive regulations as necessary to remedy and immediately restore the flood carrying capacity of Bouquet Canyon Creek; and forward a copy of the proclamation to all appropriate Federal agencies requesting similar action.”
The proclamation itself mentions the 150 properties in Bouquet Canyon adversely affected by dry wells and lack of water.
“…the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors finds that beginning February 4, 2014 conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons, public and private property exist as a result of the reduced flood carrying capacity of Bouquet Canyon Creek, which, during storm events, has resulted in conditions that are beyond the control of local resources…” the proclamation reads.
An emergency declaration would give the U.S. Forest Service some justification for expediting county requests.
But, because county officials can only operate on the federal land with the use of permits, federal officials can also mandate mitigation measures that county officials would have to follow in order to clean the sediment out of the area, Vizcarra said.
The cleaning project also is expected to cost millions of dollars, he said, not including mitigation measures that county officials would have to follow if the USFS gives the county permission to operate in the area.
Antonovich’s full motion is available here. The county Board of Supervisors will meet on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Los Angeles. Click here to live stream the meeting.
SCV News and Perry Smith of KHTS AM-1220 contributed to this report.
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Source: Santa Clarita News