LOS ANGELES --
Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, signed an amendment to the Local Cooperation Agreement between the Department of the Army and three county flood control districts for the Corps’ Santa Ana River Mainstem project during a Jan. 28 virtual ceremony.
Partners from the project’s tri-county areas of Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange participated in the ceremony.
The $2.83 billion Santa Ana River Mainstem project is designed to reduce flood risk for more than 1 million people along the Santa Ana River’s 96-mile journey, from Seven Oaks Dam near San Bernardino to Huntington Beach, where it flows into the Pacific Ocean.
The signing of the amendment allows the Corps to use federal funds under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to support the completion of environmental mitigation responsibilities for Reach 9 and closeout actions for the project.
Balten kicked off the signing ceremony by expressing her gratitude for the strong partnership with the counties and for the commitment from LA District team members, who have dedicated themselves and their expertise to the complex flood risk reduction project.
Andrew Do, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said he has been working on the project since 2007 and the amendment was a huge step forward for everyone.
“I really want to express our sincere gratitude for the Army Corps of Engineers from the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino for working and partnering with us to protect lives and property,” he said.
Brendon Biggs, director of the Department of Public Works for the San Bernardino Flood Control District, said his county’s flood control district has had a great partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and all of the local flood control districts on past projects and programs.
“We continue this positive relationship as demonstrated with the approval of this amendment to the Local Cooperation Agreement for the Santa Ana River Mainstem project,” Biggs said. “We look forward to a successfully completed project that will provide flood protection to the urban communities of the San Bernardino Mountains all the way to the Pacific Ocean.”
Jason Uhley, chief engineer for the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, echoed Do and Biggs’ sentiments.
“I want to reiterate our thanks for the Corps’ support on this, all the way up to your headquarters, and Congressional staff support and Congressional team support as well to make this happen,” Uhley said. “This is a very important project for the protection of our counties and our communities.”
PCA AMENDMENT SIGNED IN OCTOBER 2020
In October 2020, the Corps and Orange County Flood Control District executed a similar amendment to their Project Cooperation Agreement for the Prado Dam element of the Santa Ana River Mainstem project to use federal funds under the Bipartisan Budget Act to complete select remaining features, which include raising the Prado Dam spillway by 20 feet, from an elevation of 543 feet to 563 feet; completing the lower Norco Bluffs toe protection project, and the Alcoa Phase 2 and River Road dikes; and ongoing mitigation responsibilities associated with the Prado Dam project features.
Design for the spillway, Norco Bluffs toe projection and dikes are underway. The Corps estimates the first construction contracts with this funding will be awarded in federal fiscal year 2021.
Completing the basin dikes and raising the spillway will provide an additional 142,000 cubic feet of flood water storage, for a total of 362,000 cubic feet, which will increase the dam’s capacity to retain water and provide two significant benefits – reducing the likelihood of downstream damage from flood waters and could potentially increase the ability to retain additional water to recharge underground storage supplies.
Completion of construction in Reach 9 of the Santa Ana River, which includes a levee downstream of Prado Dam in the City of Yorba Linda and the BNSF railway bridge protection, are underway and are not part of the BBA funds. The levee is intended to provide erosion protection for the north bank of the Santa Ana River and flood risk management for portions of East LA Palma Avenue, the Santa Ana River Trail/Bikeway, industrial facilities, commercial development and residential housing. Additionally, initial funds from the BBA have been provided to identify a construction-ready project for the Santiago Creek feature.
ABOUT THE SANTA ANA RIVER MAINSTEM PROJECT
Construction of the Prado Dam was completed in May 1941. Section 401 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 later authorized a comprehensive project for flood risk management in the tri-county areas of San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, including improvements to the Prado Dam that provided for raising the dam and the construction of eight dikes along the basin boundaries. This expanded and enlarged effort is referred to as the Santa Ana River Mainstem project.
The project includes many features that have already been completed, including improvements to Seven Oaks Dam, 30 miles of levees and modifications to original project features, including raising the Prado Dam embankment and installation of a new larger capacity outlet works.