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Rocky Creek Post-Wildfire Debris Flooding in Big Sur, California

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The 2016 Soberanes Fire was one of the costliest fires in US history and spanned across 200 square miles in Monterey County. The following winter, back-to-back storms targeted the burn area and dropped 10 inches of rain in a couple of days, unleashing an unprecedented amount of runoff. The burn area allowed for debris torrents and flows in Rocky Creek resulting from erosion due to the loss of vegetation, reductions in infiltration, and soil water repellency along the Palo Colorado Watershed. The debris flows on Rocky Creek ultimately caused several roadway failures due to scouring and creek overtopping. The largest failure occurred approximately 4 miles into Palo Colorado Road off Highway 1, which is a narrow winding county road that serves as the primary access to over 300 residents.

The design team responded following the storms to assess the damage and come up with a long-term repair at the site. Conventional construction methods are limited, so the design team prepared a practical design that would allow smaller haul trucks and materials to be transported up the road. The design team utilized information from the Watershed Emergency Response Team report for the Soberanes Fire to model the flood capacities of the existing and proposed facilities at Palo Colorado Road.

This presentation is a first-hand account of the post-wildfire flooding assessments that took place along Palo Colorado Road in January and February of 2017. Key points will be presented on the site constraints and the process that an agency must go through for federal funding approval following a disaster declaration.

Presenter:

Alex Yescas, PE, CFM, ENV SP
Water Resources Sector Lead
HDR, Inc., San Diego, CA

FAQs

Is registration required?

No. Registration is not required to participate in this webinar; however, if you do register, you will receive reminders and any updates about the talk.

Click to Join Skype Meeting.

We recommend that you log in a few minutes before the webinar to test or download the Skype application. It is free. Some federal agencies (ex. FEMA or USACE) do not allow access to Skype; unfortunately, staff at those agencies will not be able to view the webinar live. A recording will be posted on our YouTube channel a few days after the webinar.

Join by phone:

  • Phone number: (916) 573-2034
  • Conference ID: 175 516 65

Will the webinar be recorded?

Yes. It will be posted on the Watershed University YouTube channel a few days after the webinar. A PDF of the presentation will be posted on our website at the same time.

CECs available

This webinar qualifies for 1 CEC from the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Information about how to receive the credit will be provided during the webinar.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Send any questions to the planning team at Watershed.University@water.ca.gov. You can also send us an email if you would like to be added to our mailing list for future events.

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