May 31, 2012 - The Arroyo Seco Foundation (ASF) has issued a hard-hitting critique of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District's Draft Sediment Management Strategic Plan and called for a ninety day extension of the review period. The Draft Strategic Plan is the big plan, developed over the last year, for Los Angeles County's fourteen dams and 162 debris basins that are rapidly filling up with sediment and debris. After the 2009 Station Fire and the bitterly-opposed destruction of the oak woodlands in Santa Anita Canyon in Arcadia, the County Flood Control District responded by initiating a public process to develop a strategic plan that will guide their flood and sediment program for the next twenty years and build broader acceptance for their program and goals. But, according to Arroyo Seco Foundation Managing Director Tim Brick, who served on the County's Long Term Sediment Management Working Group that provided input into the plan, the draft plan is neither strategic nor sustainable. "This needs to be a plan for next century if it is truly going to be strategic and sustainable, and the County needs to stop treating sediment as a waste product."
The County Flood Control District and the parent Department of Public Works are faced with the formidable task of dealing with more than 60 million cubic yards of sand and sediment that are flowing into their flood facilities. The cost of trucking the material out of the basins is likely to run over $2-3 billion in the next twenty years, and sites to put it are rapidly disappearing as well.
The Arroyo Seco Foundation finds the County's draft plan to be inadequate in scope and focus. "It's time for a more thorough review of the function and long term viability of the County's flood program and its unintended environmental impacts and unanticipated maintenance costs," Brick said. "It's time for a new paradigm for flood and sediment management that links these goals to other related water and environmental issues and societal objectives."
ASF also calls for a ninety day extension of the review period for the draft plan in order to provide for a more thorough review of the massive plan by agencies, experts and stakeholders. "Thirty days are not sufficient to deal with the issues contained in this 524 page document," Brick said. "The extension is important to improve the strategic plan and to build broader support for dealing with the sediment in a less costly and more sustainable way."
As presented by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District
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