Council hears Flood Mitigation Task Force ideas

Recommendations from committee include connecting to automated flood warning system, increasing flow in flood channel.

July 21, 2011|By Barbara Diamond,

The Laguna Canyon Flood Mitigation Task Force has recommended working with the California Department of Transportation and the county to reduce flooding in the canyon and downtown and to warn folks when it is coming.

Councilwoman Verna Rollinger reported three recommendations that include connecting the city to the county's automated flood warning system, increasing the capacity of the flood control channel under Coast Highway and improving drainage along Laguna Canyon Road.

"The task force is looking at improvements — some of which are simple and some not so simple," Rollinger said.

Rollinger was appointed with Councilman Kelly Boyd to work with Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman and the eight-member, council-appointed task force: landscape architect Bob Borthwick; Laguna Canyon businesswoman and resident Susan Hamil; retired county official Eric Jessen; former Temple City Manager Karl Koski; retired engineer William E. Lawson; sculptor and canyon resident Louis Longi; retired civil engineer Carl R. Nelson; and retired U. S. Marine Corps Col. Charles Quilter II.


The first order of business for the task force members was to educate themselves, beginning with a tour of the channel from the ocean to tromping in the weeds along El Toro Road, Rollinger said.

The field work combined with findings by four subcommittees led to the recommendations presented to the council:


Early Warning System

•Authorize the staff to work with the county to connect the city to the county's alert system, which provides automated, radio-reported information about rain density and water levels when a high-intensity rainstorm is forecast.

•Develop a reverse 911 program to transmit flood advisories to residents and businesses in the canyon and downtown.

•Establish a neighborhood flood watch committee to work with city emergency departments and annually distribute safety information to residents and businesses in the canyon and downtown.

•Install permanent signposts at each street or driveway bridge from Coast Highway to El Toro Road that show water levels estimated in a 100-year flood for that location.

Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly suggested not posting 100-year levels.

"People will say we had that last year, and we won't have another one for 100 years," she said.


Coast Highway Channel Capacity

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