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Tuolumne Supes Declare Emergency Due To Disastrous March Storm

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Sonora, CA — In the wake of recent major storm damage the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors has unanimously moved to declare a local state of emergency that will trigger disaster funding assistance for cleanup and repairs.

Recounting the special meeting called this afternoon specifically to discuss recovery efforts in the wake of last Thursday’s “atmospheric river” storm deluge and flash flooding, Vice Chair Evan Royce shares, “We got a presentation and summary of some of the more severe locations that were impacted by the storm…before and after pictures…mapping…and we heard testimony from impacted residents concerned about access to their homes and having adequate response times.”

Readily, he admits, “It is frustrating from my perspective — seeing disaster after disaster after disaster hitting us in this county. It affects people and …the county’s bottom line and it is a tough deal — luckily we have some talented and dedicated people that are working on these issues for us. So, yeah, we are trying to get things going — and work to resolve the things that we are responsible for.”

‘Multiples Of Millions’ In Damage

As reported here yesterday, Tuolumne County Deputy Administrator and OES Director Tracie Riggs shared some initial rough estimates. Royce says he will not speculate as to where actual costs might wind up once all the damage areas are identified but readily opines, “There were some numbers spouted off but I am not going to repeat them because honestly, I think they were low. That is just my own inclination, being in construction..there is always the magnitude of costs…it is multiples millions of dollars for sure.”

Along with Tuolumne County, the Groveland Community Services District (GCSD) and City and County of San Francisco, under which the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) operates the Moccasin Dam and Reservoir as part of its Hetch Hetchy system, are among the agencies involved with today’s declaration and subsequent recovery plans. “The Moccasin Dam damage is just enormous and who knows how far that is going to go…so it is not just the Tuolumne County [jurisdiction] for sure,” Royce emphasizes.

Identified as of yesterday by county staff, among the roadways requiring immediate attention are Ferretti, Marshes Flat, Priest Coulterville, Deer Flat, Zarzamora, Merrell and Black roads; Las Palmas Way; also Old Highway 120. Staff reports that debris clearing continues on county roadways and that additional locations with damage may be reported as water recedes and road inspections continue. While damage on other roadways may also exist the report illuminates what is requiring immediate attention.

Among The Major Impacts, Roads-wise

Ferretti Road, a major collector roadway, loops around Groveland to its north, linking the community of Pine Mountain Lake with Highway 120. The storm caused a large sinkhole and failure of underground water and sanitary sewer facilities operated by the Grovelend Community Services District (GCSD).

Marshes Flat Road, linking Highway 132 near Coulterville in Mariposa County with Highway 49 near Moccasin in Tuolumne County, traverses rugged terrain and was already damaged last year to a serious storm. The Mar. 22 storm event damaged the road and culverts in two locations at First and Second creeks.

Priest Coulterville Road, which links Highway 120 on its northern end at the top of Priest Grade near the community of Big Oak Flat with Greeley Hill Road in Mariposa County to the south near the town of Coulterville, received significant damage at six locations.

Deer Flat Road, which connects downtown Groveland with Wards Ferry Road, eroded near a drainage tributary of Deer Creek.

Zarzamora Road, which links the Lake Don Pedro subdivision with Highway 132, clogged at a culvert crossing, eroding embankments. Similarly, Las Palmas Way was overwhelmed at road drainage cross culverts triggering more erosion.

Merrell Road, south of Highway 120 between Groveland and Big Oak Flat received damage due to overwhelming flooding at at its Cobbs Creek culvert crossing. Similarly, Black Road, south of Highway 120 in Big Oak Flat, experienced damage at the Rattlesnake Creek culvert crossing.

Old Highway 120, which loops to the south Highway 120 in the vicinity of Second
Garrotte, was damaged at a culvert crossing on an upstream tributary of Garrotte