Latest on Randall Road Debris Basin
On Tuesday, May 5, the Montecito Association Land Use Committee met virtually via Zoom, with special guests Tom Fayram and Jon Frye from Santa Barbara County Flood Control.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Randall Road Debris Basin project was released earlier this week, and is available to view online. The 45-day comment period is open now.
The design plans for the project are about 30% complete, including the form of the basin and its footprint. The proposed project includes building a new off-channel debris basin on San Ysidro Creek at Randall Road and East Valley Road, an area that was heavily impacted during the 1/9 debris flow. The basin would be approximately eight acres, and San Ysidro Creek would maintain natural sediment transport and fish passage within the range of flows suitable for migration, complying with the Endangered Species Act. The Creek would be slightly re-aligned as part of the debris basin construction but would remain equivalent in channel length. Channel width is proposed to be widened in some parts where steep banks would be re-graded to a lower slope, effectively widening the jurisdictional portion of the creek. The County also seeks to provide trail access, parking, and add native plantings, as part of the project. “The idea of this is to stop as much debris as possible. We want material and boulders to drop out in the basin, and not pile up at the road,” Fayram said as he went through the specifics of the project.
The project is proposed on eight parcels, seven of which are owned by private property owners; the County has already acquired one of the parcels. Further acquisition cannot take place until the EIR is certified, which is expected later this summer following the public comment period. The project also requires CEQA and NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) approval before acquisition can take place. Funding of the $21 million project is reliant on voluntary acquisition of the parcels; Fayram said the County has been in talks with all of the affected property owners. All but one of the properties was completely destroyed during the debris flow, causing loss of life on Randall Road as well as below the area, on Glen Oaks.
The best case scenario as far as timing for the project is to begin construction in April 2021, but many things need to fall into place to make that happen, Fayram said. “All of the elements we can control will be in place so we can go out to bid,” Fayram said. “And I believe we are going to get there.”
The County is seeking public comment until June 19. A Zoom conference call is scheduled for May 20 at 4:30 pm, for the public to ask questions regarding the EIR. To participate in the call, email Andrew Raaf at firstname.lastname@example.org for link and password.
The EIR can be found at www.countyofsb.org/pwd/water.sbc.