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Sierra Valley flood hazard restudy signed by supervisors

The county’s engineer, Bob Perreault, went before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors and asked that body to approve and sign the Sierra Valley Flood Hazard Restudy Project Charter on behalf of Plumas County, as represented by this map.

It took two consulting groups, but a project charter for the Sierra Valley Flood Hazard Restudy Project is finished and now approved by members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14.

Approaching supervisors as the county engineer, Bob Perreault explained the process that finally resulted in a restudy project.

During 2010-2012, FEMA conducted a Sierra Valley Flood Hazard Study in cooperation with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Perreault explained about the project’s history.

Plumas County was involved in that study, but then it went dormant, he said.

FEMA had some problems with the elevation network they were using, Perreault explained. The consulting group they were using couldn’t solve the problem.

In October 2018, Perreault was notified that the restudy project would be conducted by FEMA in cooperation with DWR. In November FEMA held a meeting with a new contractor, Compass Joint Venture, Plumas and Sierra counties and the city of Loyalton.

The new study included hydrologic and hydraulic analyses for flood hazards in Sierra Valley, the Compass group explained to FEMA and local representatives involved in the study.

“FEMA requests that the local stakeholders provide data requested by FEMA, provide comments and insights on project results and on the proposed methodologies and techniques, and advocate for the interest of local constituents, which also means help them mitigate flood risk,” according to the restudy project request.

Perreault said he and other local groups participated in two teleconference meetings on data collection for the restudy.

He added that the data collection was nearly complete under the initial study. However, the 2017 flooding information was added to the study.

Indicating a map of Sierra and Plumas counties with Sierra Valley defined, Perreault explained that it shows the 100-year flood plain limits for Plumas County. Compass however calls a 100-year flood a 1 percent annual chance event, Perreault pointed out. He also said that Sierra County doesn’t have similar limits.

Perreault said that with the new study there are “significant improvements for building opportunities in Plumas County.”

“Thank you for explaining the 100-year flood plain,” Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said. “It’s great that Mother Nature knows to stop flooding at the county line.”

Perreault said there was no interference with the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District created in 1980 by Senate Bill 1391. Supervisor Michael Sanchez as a representative to that district didn’t voice any concerns.

Plumas County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick said, “My red flag goes up a little bit.”

Hydrick then asked Perreault if there was “anything that gives you pause?”

Perreault responded that during the first study, what was in place didn’t work. “My understanding is that company (Compass) and FEMA solved the problems.”

“Is it going to cost us anything?” asked Supervisor Jeff Engel.

“No. I’m sure it’s well within my budget,” Perreault responded.

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