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Corps of Engineers Secures Additional Funding for Lower Mission Creek Project in Santa Barbara

The additional $127,712 will help cover costs for flood-control and restoration work

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Thursday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District has received $127,712 in additional funding to proceed with work on the Lower Mission Creek project in Santa Barbara.

The funding will cover project costs for a design documentation report, a Preliminary Supplemental Environmental Assessment, technical design reviews and economic updates on property damage assessments resulting from significant flooding impacts caused in the region.

“We’ve made a lot of progress on reducing the flood risk on Lower Mission Creek, but there still is a critical need to complete this project,” Capps said. “Today’s announcement that the corps will commit additional federal funding to the Lower Mission Creek restoration effort is good news and will help us substantially reduce flood risk, repair the creek and improve our community.”

Lower Mission Creek drains into an area of 12.2 square miles and flows from the south slope of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Floods in 1978 and 1980 prompted the city’s request for protection along Mission Creek in Santa Barbara. Among the increased flood protection benefits for residents and businesses of Santa Barbara, the project also aims to restore the major species of a native riparian community along the project reach, remove and suppress invasive non-native vegetation, replace native plants, restore a natural creek bottom and enhance aquatic habitat by changing streambed characteristics.

“Given these challenging budgetary times, the corps celebrates this significant accomplishment,” said Col. Mark Toy, Los Angeles District commander. “We recognize how critical this project is to the Santa Barbara community, and we are excited about moving forward. Safety remains the corps’ highest priority, building strong and taking care of people remains the goal of the Los Angeles District, Army Corps of Engineers.”

In 2009, the corps received stimulus funding to complete the design work for a combination of channel improvements and bridge replacements designed to increase the channel capacity to 3,400 cubic feet per second and provide an approximate 20-year level of flood protection.

“After many years of support, we are pleased that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was able to secure additional funding to help complete the design of the Lower Mission Creek Flood Control Project, especially during difficult budget times,” Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider. “I am particularly appreciative of Col. Mark Toy’s attention to this important project. As the city continues to replace bridges and the county begins improvements to widen the creek channel, we are taking critical steps toward protecting residents and businesses from flooding during major storm events.”

“This funding will help continue the partnership between the federal government and the city and county on this important project that will result in long-term flood control and environmental benefits to Santa Barbara,” First District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal said. “It is particularly timely as an initial phase of construction is currently under way, and it is critical that we move towards finalizing the design for future phases as well. I would like to thank Congresswoman Capps for her continued strong support of this project.”

“I had the opportunity last week to meet with Col. Toy and his team regarding the Lower Mission Creek Project,” Second District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf said. “I was thrilled to hear, shortly after our visit, that the U.S. Army Corps FY11 Work Plan includes some funding for Mission Creek. This funding is critical to allow us to complete the design, which is necessary prior to entering the construction phase.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also manages one of the largest federal environmental missions: restoring environmentally damaged lands, constructing sustainable facilities, regulating waterways and managing natural resources, and cleaning up contaminated sites from past military activities.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

 

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