Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24)
Santa Barbara, CA – Today, Congressman Carbajal announced a $13.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been awarded to Santa Barbara County Flood Control District to purchase several properties along Randall Road in Montecito and begin construction on a new debris basin near San Ysidro Creek.
Nearly three years ago, Montecito was devastated when massive mud and debris flow ensued after the Thomas Fire overwhelmed debris basin capacity and tore through the community, ultimately killing 23 people.
“It has taken years for our community to rebuild and recover from the Montecito Debris Flow. We can, and should, honor the memories of those we lost that horrible day by doing everything possible to prevent future disasters,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Wildfires and floods, fueled by climate change, are only getting worse over time and we must adapt our infrastructure to reflect our reality. The new debris basin will go a long way toward that goal and I’m proud of the collaborative work we’ve done across local, state, and federal governments to secure the funding necessary to turn this project into a reality.”
Santa Barbara County is prone to post-fire debris flows as a result of weakened soil and unstable slopes resulting from wildfires. The proposed debris basin on Randall Road will retain large boulders and debris to protect downstream structures and lives, while protecting fish habitat and passage.
“This debris basin will have more than four times the capacity of the current basin upstream, and will feature design elements to detain more trees and rocks. Because of this and because it is at the best gradient in the watershed, this is the ideal project for increasing the protection of the community,” said Supervisor Das Williams. “I want to thank the families who are selling the land to us and the community supporters who have been advocating every step of the way.”
The construction of a new debris basin on Randall Road is estimated to cost $18 million. As a result of this grant approval, FEMA will provide 75% of the cost-share to assist with the project, a total of $13.5 million.
Rep. Salud Carbajal serves as the Vice-Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and represents California’s 24th congressional district, which encompasses Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County.