Lassen eligible to receive part of $4.3 grant for cleanup of 2005 storm
Lassen, Plumas, Butte and El Dorado counties will get a share of $4.3 million for projects through the California Employment Development Department, which will provide temporary jobs to assist in cleanup and recovery efforts.
The new funding will help complete cleanup and repairs to provide safe routes of travel for community members. It will also pay for clearing debris blocking streams and contributing to erosion.
A series of severe rainstorms beginning Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2005, and ending Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006, brought flooding to many areas in Lassen County and along the Susan River.
The torrential storms prompted Lassen County Office of Emergency Services Chief Chip Jackson to declare a local disaster and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare Lassen and 15 other counties disaster areas.
After the rain began on Tuesday, Dec. 19, snow and rain fell for 14 days nearly every day throughout the county from the storms generated off the Pacific Ocean — typically referred to as the Pineapple Express.
Vernon Bohannon, a Susanville resident, came up with the idea to line the riverbank side of Carroll Street with K-rails and sandbags. The California Correctional Center’s Antelope Crew prepared hundreds of sand bags. The crew and city staff barricaded the river on the Carroll Street bank.
The rails and sandbags were about four feet higher than the road. When the Susan River crested at more than 13 feet, it came within six inches of the top of the K-rails. The next day more sandbags were placed on top of the K-rail.
Susanville Fire Chief Stu Ratner said one of the biggest problems on the Susan River was at the site of a bridge at the location of the abandoned Coin Lumber Company.
Large timber going down the river and debris accumulated at the bridge site causing a lot of pressure to build. The only water getting through was on each side of the bridge.
Union Pacific owns the Coin Lumber property, formerly the Jeld-Wyn site, and a crew from Roseville came and excavated the area to allow the water to flow. Ratner said the plugged area by the railroad’s bridge caused the river to rise to a higher level than reported by the National Weather Service.
Mitigation after flooding in 1997 worked well, according to Ratner. A flapped drain where Piute Creek flows into Susan River worked as planned. A red cover on the drain opens and closes to regulate how the creek flows into the river.
"There is still more to be done for Northern California to recover from the storms and this $4.3 million grant will provide over 400 temporary jobs for Californians to do that important work," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
To start, California’s Employment Development Department will get $2.1 million to supplement a May 2006 National Emergency Grant of $5.5 million. Project funding now has surpassed $9.8 million, and a total of 825 jobs have been created, according to Chao’s news release.
“Workers eligible to apply for temporary jobs include those dislocated as a result of the storms, other dislocated workers and the long-term unemployed,” the news release said.
Other counties targeted by the state for assistance under the grant include Alpine, Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sisikiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines.
The Department of Labor provides funds to the state, which in turn funds the project operations.
“These funds will be extremely beneficial to the residents and communities that were impacted by the storms,” said Doolittle. “The effects of such disasters take years to recover from. I am pleased that we are getting the help we need.”
Doolittle’s 4th Congressional District stretches from the eastern Sacramento region to Lake Tahoe on the south and runs up the Sierra Nevada range to the high desert of Modoc County on the Oregon border in the north. It encompasses the entire counties of El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, and Sierra. Additionally, it includes the community of Orangevale in Sacramento County and the Oroville area in Butte County.
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