DPG Pancake Breakfast

The April 2018 DPG Pancake Breakfast was a great success with food, fun and funding. The only photo I have is this – most of the volunteer crew that put it all together, so if you have more photos or information please share.

DPG Breakfast Volunteers
DPG Breakfast Volunteers

Thanks to all for a great time in service of our community.

Drainage Above SVMHP

This afternoon we flew past SV and snapped pix of the drainage area above San Vicente. Here’s a wide shot.

Our main drainage is the small creek running up the center slightly toward the right. The main drainage from the mountains runs to the left behind the top of that first low hill of the San Marcos Foothills open space. In a major flood that’s where the vast majority of runoff would go. Even if SM Foothills was burnt bare, any debris flow would be relatively minor here at SV.

You can also see the smaller channel that drains to Cathedral Oaks from the left side of the pic. Also potential for flow down 154 that would collect below the overpass. All that water drains through the culvert that feeds the channel through our open space. In a major flood that would overflow and/or get plugged by debris so the water would then spread out and head downhill, probably mostly along roads as it spread out beneath the overpass.

A closer look shows how our main creek leads down to the Foothill/154 underpass.

There, in event of an overflow at the inlet to our culvert, the electrical substation might be impacted. That whole area would flood, and eventually some might enter SV and/or begin to flow to the left on Cathedral Oaks and/or right on Foothill. This seems to match the small SV flood risk areas on the map published here related to the 2015 El Nino prep meeting (click to view). Some of our streets might flow with water and Rancho next door might be more impacted in such an event.

For frequently updated info on the current major rain event and flooding potential sign up for SBitZ.NET and Edhat, and watch KEYT on channels 3.1 and 3.2 or online.

Pole Land

San Vicente became “Pole Land” today as a tall crane lifted new power poles into place, and residents came out to “supervise.” We’d been notified that power would be off all day, but the crews seemed able to work while keeping it (mostly) on.

Crane & Crew
Crane & Crew

SV Well Aerial Pix

It happened that we got these two views of the SV well on a recent flight. To me they demonstrate the heroic work being done to preserve and protect our well while future improvements and alternatives are being studied.

SV Pump System
SV Pump System
SV Holding Ponds
SV Holding Ponds

Flood Channel

Here are some aerial views taken 2/18 after the heavy rain, of the flood channels that run through SVMHP down into Arroyo Burro Creek. First is a look at the inlet  (bottom of pic, just right of center) to the box culvert that runs under Foothill at Hwy.154. Note that the top of the pic is toward the Southeast, unlike the gMaps image at the bottom of this post.

5603 Inlet to Box Culvert
5603 Inlet to Box Culvert

Next an overview, with the inlet at the bottom near the left corner and the new Sansum clinic at the top-left.

5605 Inlet Bottom-Right
5605 Inlet Bottom-Left

Below is a look at the wide grass channel it opens into (bottom-left), that runs across SVMHP into Rancho SB golf course.

5607 Channel & Bridges
5607 Channel & Bridges

There’s another storm water inlet (right of center, beneath trees & shrubs), to a culvert pipe that runs under Cathedral Oaks from the Northeast intersection with Via Chaparral across from the SVMHP back gate. It comes out on the corner of SVMHP near the bend of Stage Coach into Indian Wells, and joins with our larger channel on the Rancho golf course.

5609 Rancho SB Culvert Inlet
5609 Rancho SB Culvert Inlet

When we feared flooding last year, the County cleaned debris from both of these two inlets at our request, so they wouldn’t flood across Foothill / Cathedral Oaks thus limiting our access and emergency exit routes. Lastly, here’s a look more toward the East, at the Rancho SB golf course where these two storm channels join.

5620 Rancho SB Drainage
5620 Rancho SB Drainage

The footbridge near the top-left is where our channel enters Rancho, with SVMHP homes on Gatehouse across the top. Here’s a link to a satellite view on gMaps: https://goo.gl/maps/QeJxhmeCVo32

Below is a gMaps screen capture of this area (North at the top) from drought times back when Sansum was being built, with a pin about where our box culvert inlet is, next to the electrical substation.

SVMHP Storm Channel
SVMHP Storm Channel

Tom Fayram Flood Prep DPG Talk

Here are the slides from the PowerPoint file that was displayed during Tom Fayram’s presentation on flood preparedness for the Nov.19, 2015 DPG meeting. Tom is Deputy Public Works Director for the Water Resources Division of County Public Works.

We also have an audio recording of his talk (10MB MP3 file), and if anyone would like to put it online please contact us. In coming days I may add more notes from his talk.

His talk began with this photo of flooding. We were surprised when he told us it’s the 101 Fairview exit during previous El Niño flooding, where the current creek underpass work is in progress to reduce flood risk there.


He showed us this slide of drought years.


He talked about how the County and other agencies must work within their budgets, and therefore we all share responsibility for disaster preparation.


This next slide shows the differences between the current El Niño and 1997, noting that the current one is already stronger than 1997. Later he also pointed out the large red areas indicating warmer water off CA and AK (called “The Blob” by forecasters), noting that there’s no historical precedent for this and the effects on our Winter weather are unknown.


He said that El Niño years don’t always result in heavy rainfall or a high annual rainfall total.


He pointed out that despite the current record El Niño offshore, this year so far has brought unprecedented low total rainfall.


He talked about the effects of heavy rain on saturated soil, and sustained high rainfall rates.


He outlined preparations being done by various agencies. He stressed the value of Federal flood insurance (government program with private companies providing coverage), and emphasized the 30 day “grace” period before insurance takes effect. In other words, if you buy flood insurance 29 days before your home is flooded there is no coverage. He suggests buying now.


Note that the “Flood Prevention” pamphlet shown above-right is available as a PDF file here. Despite the above image of a sandbagged home, he didn’t have time to go into detail on how to place them. That information is available on the County website (links below).


Tom described some of the flood preparation work the County does every year, beginning in March. Below is an example of debris they remove to prevent blockage of drainage channels. He pointed out that the County provides 25 free sandbags 24/7 just West of Old Mill off Calle Real. Stuart Clyde pointed out that San Vicente also has free sandbags available.


Tom talked about how the County has no access to or responsibility for most creeks and other drainage channels because they’re on private property, but they do all they can.


He briefly outlined some of the flood response capabilities they have, and talked about how hard these crews work in any disaster. They often work for many hours without rest to protect and assist the public, but the crew is very small for the size of their service area.


This is why it’s so important for each of us to do all we can to prepare. He is extremely impressed with our DPG and how much we’ve done to prepare. He several times reiterated the value of flood insurance and sandbags if needed. He also stressed the importance of a disaster kit (supplies to survive an extended period without power or other utilities), and an evacuation plan (see the “911” DPG section of this website for helpful info here).


He provided the link for info on Flood Insurance at FloodSmart.gov


He displayed this FEMA map of San Vicente & Rancho that shows areas subject to flood potential (larger version in a previous post here on our website).


In this satellite image of our parks, there is a blue line indicating the course of Atascadero Creek which runs through our parks.


In the next slide he listed some online resources he suggests for further info. Here are the same links in a format you can click on to visit:
santabarbara.onerain.com/home.php (no www prefix)


Below is another photo of earlier flooding at the Fairview intersection with 101.


He shared this cartoon of Godzilla representing El Niño and the Blob being what forecasters are calling that unprecedented red area shown offshore of the West Coast in the NOAA slide above.


To end his talk and introduce our brief open question period, he showed this slide of Lake Cachuma nearly dry and stressed how badly we need rain.