Supervisors approve Murrieta Creek flood control funding agreement

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The state’s Department of Water Resources has a program to provide financial assistance to local agencies who participate in the construction of federally authorized flood control projects, and the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District will be working with the state for reimbursement on the Murrieta Creek Flood Control, Environmental Restoration and Recreation Project.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors members are also the board of the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and Tuesday, April 21, the county supervisors voted 5-0 to authorize a DWR funding proposal for the Murrieta Creek project and to approve a funding agreement with DWR. The board action also authorizes the district’s general manager or a designee to execute the agreement along with any amendments.

The Murrieta Creek Flood Control, Environmental Restoration and Recreation Project includes four phases. The first phase will provide channel improvements and environmental restoration in Temecula from the Front Street/Highway 79 South junction upstream to First Street. The second phase, which is also in Temecula, will provide channel improvements and environmental restoration between First Street and Winchester Road. Phase 3 will construct the detention basin, provide environmental restoration and build a sports park between Winchester Road and Elm Street in Murrieta. Phase 4, which is entirely within Murrieta, will provide channel improvements and environmental restoration from the detention basin upstream to Tenaja Road and Vineyard Parkway.

Parts of Phase 1 and Phase 2 have already been completed. The flood control project has been authorized by the federal government and approved for state Flood Control Subvention Program funding. The Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District is seeking up to $16 million in state subvention funding to cover the costs for the recently completed work and the remaining Phase 1 and Phase 2 work.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collaborated with the county on an environmental impact statement for federal compliance and an environmental impact review for California Environmental Quality Act compliance. The Army Corps of Engineers prepared the EIS and EIR which covers the entire project and the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District board certified that combined environmental document in January 2003. A supplemental environmental document certified in August 2014 authorized the district to proceed with the project. The April 21 action found that no additional environmental review will be needed.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.