Montecito debris nets could be installed in coming weeks

KSBY NEWS

The Partnership for Resilient Communities, a group of Montecito residents, is making major progress on their ambitious plan to install debris flow nets above Montecito. So far, the group has managed to crowdfund millions of dollars to order the nets that could help prevent another tragedy.

Megan Miley
Montecito Group Orders Debris Nets, Plans to Start Construction Soon

NOOZHAWK

Six debris-control nets have been ordered, and construction to install the anchors in Montecito creeks could start next week, according to Pat McElroy, head of The Partnership for Resilient Communities nonprofit behind the project. Santa Barbara County and other regulatory agencies gave emergency permits to the group in December to install 11 steel-mesh nets in three Montecito creeks, all on private property.

Megan Miley
Partnership Prevails

MONTECITO JOURNAL

As Montecito prepares to remember the year-ago January 9th mud and debris flow and the devastation it caused, Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Pat McElroy – now Executive Director of the Montecito based Partnership for Resilient Communities – smiles big holding the group’s hard-won SB County Emergency Debris Flow Protection Plan Permit allowing for placement of up to 11 steel ring nets in the canyons above Montecito designed to prevent a recurrence... ever again.

Megan Miley
A Year Ago, Montecito Debris Flows Brought ‘Unfathomable Destruction’ to Coastal Community

NOOZHAWK

Residents and first responders recall and reflect on the fateful Jan. 9 events that reshaped their world. A year ago, 23 people were killed in Montecito when massive debris flows crashed through the community in the dark of night, destroying nearly everything in their paths. Homes were ripped apart, a massive search-and-rescue effort saved residents from the mud, boulders and debris, and the destruction was so extensive that the bodies of two victims still have not been found. In the day or so preceding the rainstorm that brought down the mountains, Santa Barbara County declared a local emergency; areas ravaged by December's Thomas Fire were vulnerable to floods, mudslides and debris flows.

Megan Miley
$7 Million Fundraising Effort Underway for Permitted Montecito Debris Net Project

NOOZHAWK

Partnership for Resilient Communities has February deadline to install the permitted debris control nets in Cold Spring, San Ysidro and Buena Vista creeks. With permits in hand, the nonprofit group planning to install debris-catching nets in Montecito creeks is busy fundraising the estimated $7 million needed for construction, maintenance and insurance. Regulatory agencies approved emergency permits for The Partnership for Resilient Communities’ proposal in December, and Santa Barbara County’s approval has a mid-February deadline to put in the nets, said Pat McElroy, the nonprofit’s executive director and former Santa Barbara city fire chief. “Nobody ever thought we’d get this far, let’s face it,” he said Monday. “Having another challenge is just another day.”

Megan Miley
Montecito Ring Nets Get Emergency Permit from County

SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT

Privately Funded Project Aims to Mitigate Debris Flows. An ambitious and controversial project to install steel “ring nets” in canyons above Montecito was permitted today by the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development department. “The project consists of a temporary debris flow prevention and mitigation system that will be located in … Cold Spring Canyon, San Ysidro Canyon, and Buena Vista Canyon,” according to the emergency permit issued to The Partnership for Resilient Communities, a nonprofit underwritten mostly by wealthy Montecito residents.

Megan Miley
Montecito Debris-Net Project Gets Emergency Permit Approval for Sites Along 3 Creeks

NOOZHAWK

Santa Barbara County' allows nonprofit to install and maintain nets for one year, then remove them; fundraising continues. The Montecito group behind the debris-net proposal proposed for the Montecito foothills said Friday that permitting agencies have signed off on a large portion of the project, approving the installation of nets in three creeks.  The nonprofit group, called The Partnership for Resilient Communities, has been working on the debris-net project proposal for months, and filed emergency permit applications to install 15 nets across Cold Spring, Hot Springs, San Ysidro, Buena Vista and Romero creeks on private land.trees.

Megan Miley
Emergency Authorization Granted to The Partnership for Resilient Communities for Debris Flow Mitigation Project

PARTNERSHIP FOR RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

Mobilization and Installation of Debris Nets in the Montecito drainages can begin

SANTA BARBARA, CA; December 21, 2018 – All of the emergency authorizations for a Santa Barbara non-profit group to proceed with constructing 11 debris flow protection nets in the canyons above Montecito have been granted today by four federal, state and local agencies, The Partnership for Resilient Communities announced.     


Megan Miley
Santa Barbara County knew mudslides were a risk. It did little to stop them

LOS ANGELES TIMES

During severe winter storms, Cold Springs Creek above Montecito turns into a torrent of mud, uprooted trees and shed-size boulders as it drains three square miles of sheer mountain front. The only thing protecting the people, homes and businesses below is a low dam that the Army Corps of Engineers built in 1964 at the mouth of the creek’s canyon, forming a basin between the steep banks to catch the crashing debris. Over the decades, the basin filled up with sediment and grew thick with brush and trees.

Megan Miley
Metal Nets Eyed As Way to Reduce Risks of Future Montecito Debris Flows

NOOZHAWK

Nonprofit Partnership for Resilient Communities has spent months pursuing project with estimated $7 million price tag and is waiting on permit decisions - Almost a year has passed since walls of boulders, mud and debris roared down the steep, fire-denuded canyons above Montecito, leaving death and devastation in their paths. Despite that passage of time, emergency management officials believe there is a significant ongoing risk of debris flows and flooding, since vegetation regrowth can take several years to stabilize the hillsides. With the rainy season underway, the fear of another disaster seems to ride in with every storm, raising questions about what, if anything, the community can do to protect itself.

Megan Miley
Army Corps Says Yes to Montecito Ring Nets

THE SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT

Emergency Permitting Process Makes More Headway - A privately funded project to install steel ring nets in five Montecito canyons is slowly moving forward as a handful of regulatory agencies consider the emergency nature of the permit application now under review by Santa Barbara County’s planning department. The Partnership for Resilient Communities, a nonprofit assembled in the wake of the deadly 1/9 Debris Flow and underwritten in part by wealthy Montecito homeowners, is aiming to install more than a dozen ring nets in Cold Spring, Hot Springs, San Ysidro, Buena Vista, and Romero canyons. In the event that rainstorms produce debris flows this winter, the nets are designed to slow mudflows laden with boulders and trees.

Rachelle Sassi
Climate Extremes: the New Norm

SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT

A Shift to a Culture of Disaster Preparedness Is Required - As the search continues for the residents of the fire-ravaged Paradise, California, it is clearer than ever that climate is changing in ways that spur unforeseen and devastating natural disasters, such as wildfires, droughts, record-breaking temperatures, mudslides and floods. The tragedies Californians are now experiencing align with the global trend of climate related natural disasters steadily rising over the past few decades.

Megan Miley
‘Fire-floods’ are the new threat in California disasters. Where will they strike next?

THE SACRAMENTO BEE

Brent Larson awoke at 4 a.m. to the shake and rumble of what felt like a freight train rolling down the hill toward his Santa Barbara County home. He leaped from his bed and woke his two sons. In seconds, a wall of water, mud and rock slammed into his house, smashing through one window, then the next, then a third, pouring in as the trio sprinted to the safety of the chimney at the home’s far corner. “It was like out of ‘Indiana Jones,’” he said, nine months later, still shaken. He was lucky. Twenty-one of his Montecito neighbors were killed that Jan. 9 night, and 400 homes damaged or destroyed.

Rachelle Sassi
Santa Barbara County Unveils New Debris-Flow Evacuation Map for Montecito

NOOZHAWK

An updated debris-flow evacuation map showing the Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria areas affected by the devastating Jan. 9 storm was released by Santa Barbara County on Thursday afternoon. The interactive online map was reviewed by operational staff from fire, law enforcement and county flood officials, said Deputy Chief Kevin Taylor of the Montecito Fire Protection District. The map published by the county Office of Emergency Management will be updated when additional analysis is complete, Taylor said, and more map changes are expected to be finished and released in early December.

Rachelle Sassi
PARTNERSHIPS: A Time and Place for Resiliency

MONTECITO JOURNAL

Pat McElroy had been fighting fires for the City of Santa Barbara for 37 years, serving as fire chief for the last five, and was poised to retire. Yes, Santa Barbara is a great place to live, and firefighters consider the city one of the most desirable work details in the nation. But wildfires are becoming larger and occurring with greater frequency, and McElroy had tackled his fair share. He was, as he put it, “More than ready to begin a new chapter.” At noon on December 4, 2017, the City of Santa Barbara sent out a press release announcing McElroy’s intention to step down in 100 days. Just six hours later, the Thomas Fire sparked north of Santa Paula.

Rachelle Sassi
Lords of the Rings: Will Steel Nets Save Montecito?

SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT

In the wake of last winter’s Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow, greater Santa Barbara was stunned. We had just witnessed back-to-back forces of nature kill 25 people, destroy more than 100 homes in the county, and traumatize those families who survived. Many of us didn’t know what to do, but we knew we wanted to help. In the months that followed, thousands of volunteers took action, handing out food, digging out homes, and helping survivors find new places to live, fill out disaster-relief paperwork, navigate insurance claims, and talk with therapists about their life-altering traumas. Others donated equipment and services. Some launched spur-of-the-moment nonprofits, to which many more wrote checks to help keep the recovery work alive.

Rachelle Sassi
Ring Nets Proposed for Unstable Montecito Canyons

SANTA BARBARA INDEPENDENT

As the rainy season draws near, an ambitious plan to protect Montecito residents and properties from another catastrophic debris flow is quickly taking shape. Underwritten by the Partnership for Resilient Communities — a nonprofit formed in the wake of the 1/9 Debris Flow — geologists and engineers have been scouting the upper reaches of Montecito’s major canyons for areas where anchored steel “ring nets” could likely stop torrents of boulders and uprooted trees unleashed by intense rainfall. 


Rachelle Sassi