FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Siobhan O’Neill, Management Analyst, (831) 420-5559
Janice Bisgaard, Community Relations Specialist, (831) 420-5166
Flood Control Inspections and Maintenance to Begin
SANTA CRUZ (Updated June 18, 2014) – The City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department plans to begin annual flood control inspections and maintenance work for the San Lorenzo River in the near future. There will be a biologist review of wildlife nesting areas before any work is started.
The planned work consists of inspections and repairs to the drainage systems and managing vegetation as required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is expected to continue over approximately five weeks. The vegetation management is identified in the San Lorenzo Urban River Plan and requires vegetated buffer zones to be maintained at 10 feet at the toe of the levees and 5 feet along the wetted edge of the river. Vegetation will also be cut in Branciforte Creek Channel.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has permitted the City’s maintenance activities to start not before June 15 and not after October 31. Step one in the process, commencing June 18, is a survey of active bird nesting in the area conducted by a qualified biologist.
After reviewing the results of the biology study, the City will proceed with a detailed plan for the maintenance activities. The results are expected to outline safe work areas (if any), protected wildlife buffers and help the City determine an actual starting schedule for vegetation management in the river. Should the biologist find an active nest during the survey, this site shall be designated an “Ecologically Sensitive Area” (ESA) and protected (while occupied) during the project. It would be delineated with the establishment of a fence barrier surrounding the nest site at a distance recommended by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide a protective buffer.
The consulting biologist has already informed the City that there is a red-shouldered hawk nest near Highway 1 (south side), therefore the City will not work upstream of Josephine Street for several weeks due to the ESA and nest protection buffer of 1000 feet.
Until the biology survey is complete and the City evaluates the findings, the City cannot determine the exact start date for the vegetation management work. The public will be informed of this date via press release and web postings.
The City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department continues as a steward of the environment with commitment to follow the regulations set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife permit.
About the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department
The Public Works Department provides the City of Santa Cruz with a variety of services including engineering design, traffic engineering and maintenance, storm water management, street maintenance, resource recovery management, waste reduction programs, wastewater management, flood control and parking control. The Public Works Department is committed to bringing the Santa Cruz community the highest possible quality of life.