COMMENTS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA


STATE OF CALIFORNIA
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
Sacramento, December 2, 1953.

Maj. Gen. S.D. STURGIS, Jr.
Chief of Engineers,
Department of the Army, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR: Your report entitled "Review of Report on San Lorenzo Creek, Calif.," was received in this office on October 13, 1953, and transmitted to the division of water resources of this department for study and review.

The report of the division of water resources has been received and is transmitted herewith. I concur in the recommendations contained in that report and it is requested that said report be considered as expressmg the views and recommendations of the State of California on your report on San Lorenzo Creek, Calif. It is further respectfully requested that the report of the division of water resources, dated December 2, 1953, on this subject be transmitted to the President of the United States and to the Congress along with other material that may be so transmitted.

Very truly yours,

FRANK B. DURKEE,
Director of Public Works.

By RUSSELL S. MUNRO
Deputy Director of Public Works.


REVIEW BY STATE DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES OF THE PROPOSED REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, ON REVIEW OF REPORT ON SAN LORENZO CREEK, ALAMEDA COUNTY, CALIF. FOR FLOOD CONTROL AND ALLIED PURPOSES

INTRODUCTION

In accordance with the provisions of the Flood Control Act, approved December 22, 1944 (Public Law; No. 534, 78th Cong;, 2d sess.), Maj. Gen. B. L. Robinson, Acting Chief of Engineers, United States Department of the Army, by letter dated October 9, 1953, transmitted to Frank B. Durkee, director of public works, for review and comment by the State of California, the proposed report of the Chief of Engineers, on a review of report on San Lorenzo Creek, Alameda County Calif., together with the reports of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and of the district and division engineers. The report was received by the director of public works on October 13, 1953, and by the division of water resources from the director of public works an October 14,1953.

On October 16, 1953, copies of the report were transmitted by the State engineer to G. T. McCoy, State highway engineer, and to Seth Gordon, director, department of fish and game. The comments of these two State agencies have been received and are included herein.


Authorization

The review of report on San Lorenzo Creek was authorized by the following resolution adopted by the committee on Flood Control of the House of Representatives on May 14, 1945:

That the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, created under section 3 of the River and Harbor Act approved June 13, 1902, be, and is hereby, requested to review the report on the San Lorenzo Creek, Calif., submitted to Congress on June 8, 1943, with a view to determining the advisability of undertaking improvements for flood control on the San Lorenzo Creek, Calif., at this time.
The report referred to in the foregoing quotation is an unpublished document dated June 8, 1943, prepared by the Corps of Engineers, United States Department of the Army, pursuant to acts of Congress, approved June 22, 1936 (Public, No. 738, 74th Cong.) and August 28, 1937 (Public, No. 406, 75th Cong.), in which it was recommende that no improvement be made at that time.


Recommendations of the Chief of Engineers

The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, after consideration of reports of the district and division engineers, reported in part as follows:

6. The district engineer finds that reservoirs would not control floods on San Lorenzo Creek without extensive downstream channel improvements and that the cost of the combination would far exceed the benefits including those from water conservation. He finds that the best plan for flood protection would provide for local improvements along the creek channel to permit safe passage of a peak flow of 9,700 cubic feet per second which is over 40 percent in excess of the estimated peak discharge of the flood in February 1925. Such a flood has a probability of occurrence of only once in several hundred years. The project would consist of channel clearing, revetting the banks, and constructing sills across the stream bed as required to prevent erosion and channel degradation from the B Street Bridge, about one-half mile below the mouth of Palomares Creek, downstream to Foothill Boulevard; a reinforced concrete-lined channel between Foothill Boulevard and a point 1,600 feet below Lorenzo Avenue; and a riprapped channel with confiinng levees between the latter point and San Francisco Bay. Alteration of bridges at Lorenzo Avenue, Hesperian Boulevard, East 14th Street, and the Southern Pacific Railroad (coastline) crossing would be required and a small farm bridge below Lorenzo Avenue would be abandoned. An existing water main near Lorenzo Avenue Bridge would be lowered to clear the proposed channel section. The district engineer notes that the Lorenzo Avenue and Hesperian Boulevard bridges are practically obsolete for present traffic conditions and are to be altered or replaced in the near future. Current plans for these structures are coordinated with plans for the proposed channel improvements. The estimated first cost of the flood protection project, on the basis of December 1952 prices, is $4,275,000, of which $3,644,000 is Federal cost of construction and railroad bridge revision, and $631,000 is non-Federal, consisting of $535,000 for lands, easements, rights-of-way, bridge replacements, and utility alterations, and $96,000 in cash or equivalent construction work. Annual carryrng charges are estimated at $165,700, of which $129,000 is Federal, and $36,700, including $12,500 for maintenance and operation and $2,000 in replacements, is non-Federal. Average annual benefits from prevention of future flood damages are estimated at $179,200. Alleviation of the flood hazard to certain areas in the flood plain would permit residential development in those areas and provide a net annual benefit from higher land use estimated at $11,000. An annual benefit of $3,000, equal to the estimated annual cost of two new bridges, is estimated to accrue from replacement of these obsolete structures. Unevaluated benefits would accrue from provision of an outlet for storm drainage systems and from general improvement of the health and morale of the affected communities. The evaluated benefits total $193,200 and the benefit-cost ratio is 1.17. The district engineer concludes that the project is economically justified. However, he believes that in recognition of the benefits from higher land values, local interests should, in addition to providing normal items of local cooperation, contribute $96,000 in cash or its equivalent in work toward the constructjon of the project. Accordingly, he recommends adoption by the United States of a project for the improvement of San Lorenzo Creek in Alameda County, Calif., for flood control by construction of the proposed works, subject to such reasonable modification at the time of construction as the Chief of Engineers may find advisable, at an estimated Federal cost of $3,644,000 for construction and $500 annually for periodic inspection of the works after completion; subject to the condition that local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of the Army that they will provide without cost to the United States the lands, easements, and rights-of-way required for construction of the recommended, improvements; modify or replace the existing vehicular bridges at Lorenzo Avenue, Hesperian Boulevard, and East 14th Street, and make minor alteratjons and relocations of utilities in accordance with plans approved by the Chief of Engineers; contribute $96,000 in cash or its equivalent in construction work in accordance with plans approved by the Chief of Engineers; maintain and operate the project after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Army; hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction of the project; and prevent encroachment on the project channels which might interfere with their proper functioning for flood control. The division engineer concurs.

7. Local interests were informed of the nature of the reports of the district and division engineers and afforded opportunity to present additional information to the Board. Careful consideration has been given to the communications received.


VIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS

8. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors concurs generally in the vieWs of the reporting officers. The improvements proposed by the district engineer constitute the most feasible plan for alleviation of damages from floods on San Lorenzo Creek. They would permit removal of restrictions on desirable urban development in portions of the flood plain and serve incidentally as an adequate outlet for storm systems in newly developed areas, construction of which is now opposed by residents of the flood plain on account of the presently inadequate stream channel. Benefits to be derived from the improvements are in excess of the costs and participation by the United States in the project construction is warranted. The district engineer notes that benefits from increased land values due to removal of development restrictions are primarily local in character and warrant local participation in project construction in addition to the normal provisions for local cooperation. He has determined that a cash contribution of $96,000 or its equivalent in construction work by local interests is equitable in recognition of these benefits. The Board is of the opinion that the recommended contribution is equitable on the basis of present estimates but, in view of possible future fluctuation in price levels, it should be expressed as a percentage of the actual project construction costs when undertaken. The Board believes that the small amount of funds estimated as the annual requirement for periodic inspection after the improvements are turned over to local interests for maintenance need not be authorized for the project. Funds for that purpose can be provided through general authorizations and used more effectively in accordance with present practice.

9. The Board recommends the improvement of San Lorenzo Creek in Alameda County, Calif., for flood control, to provide for channel improvements, levees, and appurtenant works generally in accordance with the plan of the district engineer and with such modifications thereof as in the discretion of the Chief of Engineers may be advisable; at an estimated cost to the United States of $3,644,000 for construction; provided local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of the Army that they will (a) provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, and rights-of-way necessary for the construction of the project; (b) make all necessary vehicular bridge and utility alterations or replacements; (c) contribute 2.6 percent of the actual cost of the channel improvements, levees, and railroad-bridge revisions, presently estimated at $96,000, or perform the equivalent thereof in construction of such improvements; (d) hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works; (e) maintain and operate the project after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Army; and (f) prevent encroachment on the project channels which might interfere with their proper functioning for flood control.

The Chief of Engineers in his report concurs in the views and recommendation of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors and recommends adoption of the project as modified by the Board.


Cost of proposed works

The report under review states that the total first cost of the recommended improvements is based on prevailing prices in the San Francisco area as of December 1952, and is estimated to be $4,275,000, of which $3,644,000 is allocated as the Federal cost and $631,000 is allocated as non-Federal cost. A summary of estimated costs set forth in the report under review is given in the following tables. The cost of each item includes contingencies.

                       Estimated first cost

Federal:
  Lined channel and levees ------------------------------ $3,391,000
  Reconstructing railroad bridge ------------------------    215,000
  Clearing, revetments, and sills -----------------------    134,000

  Gross Federal first cost ------------------------------  3,740,000
  Less non-Federal cash contribution --------------------     96,000 (1)

  Net Federal first cost --------------------------------  3,644,000

Non-Federal:
  Lands, easements, and rights-of-way -------------------    264,000
  Replacement of bridges --------------------------------    269,000
  Replacement of utilities ------------------------------      2,000

  Net non-Federal first cost ----------------------------    535,000
  Cash contribution -------------------------------------     96,000

Total non-Federal first cost ----------------------------    631,000

Total project first cost --------------------------------  4,275,000
(1) Contribution to be made by local interests in recognition of benefits accruing locally as a result of increased land values.


Estimated annual charges shown in the report were based on an economic life of 50 years and an interest rate of 2% percent for both Federal and non-Federal costs. Maintenance, operation, and replacement costs were based on projected price levels, which are 72 percent of December 1952 price levels.


                       Annual charges

Federal:
  Interest and amortization ---------------------------  $128,500
  Periodic inspections --------------------------------       500

  Total Federal annual charge -------------------------   129,000

Non-Federal:
  Interest and amortization ---------------------------    22,200
  Maintenance and operation ---------------------------    12,500
  Replacement (fence) ---------------------------------     2,000

Total non-Federal annual charges ----------------------    36,700
Total annual charges ----------------------------------   165,700


Annual benefits

Average annual net benefits resulting from elimination of flood damage by the improvements described in the report under review are estimated to be $179,000. This value was obtained by adjusting estimates of flood damage based upon 1950 values to reflect an assumed long-term price level of 86 percent of the 1950 base.

Benefits attributable to the project from higher land utilization are based on an assumed 5-percent annual return on a net increased land value of $92.50 per acre for 139 acres. These benefits were projected from 1950 price levels to long-term price levels to determine a total average annual benefit of $11,000.

Benefits from replacement of existing bridges are predicated upon the required early replacement of two nearly obsolete highway bridges included in the first-cost estimate. The replacement of these bridges is considered probable even though the proposed flood-control project is not constructed.

The average annual tangible benefits as summarized by the district engineer are shown in the following tabulation:


Type of benefit:                                        Amount
Flood damages prevented ------------------------------ $179,200 
Higher land utilization ------------------------------   ll,000 
Replacement of existing bridges ----------------------    3,000

Total ------------------------------------------------  193,000
Average annual benefits of $193,200 and average annual $165,700 result in as estimated benefit-cost ratio of l.17.


Requirements of local contribution

The Chief of Engineers concurs with the recommendation of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors that local interests, because of benefits from higher land values resulting from the proposed control of damaging flood, contribute 2.6 percent of the actual cost of the channel improvements, levees, and railroad revision or perform the equivalent thereof in construction of such improvements. The amount of the contribution is estimated by the district engineer to be $96,000, based on construction prices prevailing as of December 1952. This contribution would be in addition to the requirement that local interests furnish all lands, easements, and rights-of-way; make necessary vehicular bridge and utility alterations or replacements, and assume other local responsibilities.


COMMENTS BY STATE AGENCIES

The proposed report of the Chief of Engineers for flood control and allied purposes on San Lorenzo Creek, Alameda County, Calif., has been reviewed by State departments resulting in the following comments.


Division of water resources

1. There is urgent need for flood-control works in and along San Lorenzo Creek.

2. If the project should be authorized as recommended in the report, local interests would be required, in addition to the usual requirements of local cooperation to contribute 2.6 percent of the actual cost of channel improvements, levees, and railroad bridge revisions, presently estimated at $96,000 or perform the equivalent thereof in construction of such improvements in recognition of benefits accruing locally as a result of increased land values. It is the opinion of the division of water resources that there is no more justification for assessing local interests with a portion of the capital cost for change in land use than for assessing such interests for benefits from prevention of flood damage.

3. There is doubt whether benefits from the replacement of obsolete bridges should be credited to the project since these improvements would undoubtedly be made whether the project is or is not, constructed.

4. Elimination of benefits claimed for improved land use and replacement of obsolete bridges amounting to $11,000 and respectively, would not materially affect the economic feasibility of the project. The benefit-cost ratio of the project based solely on elimination of direct flood damage is 1.09.

5. It is noted in the report under review that it is anticipated that the State of California will cooperate in the improvement proposed by contributing the cost of lands, easements, and rights-of-way and the cost of highway bridge replacements or reconstructIon. Decisions in such matters must be made by the State legislature and the State water resources board after authorization of the project by the Congress. The applicable sections of the State Water Code regarding State policy with regard to meeting the requirements of local cooperation imposed by the Congress are as follows:

12573. "Lands, easements and rights-of-way" includes lands and rights or interests in lands whereon channel improvements and channel rectifications are located; rights, or interests in lands necessary in connection with the construction, operation, or maintenance of such channel improvements and rectifications, including those necessary for flowage purposes, spoil areas, borrow pits, or for access roads; and including the cost of the relocation, reconstruction, or replacement of existing improvements, structures, or utilities rendered necessary by such channel improvements and rectifications.

12585. In the event that the Congress after September 22, 1951, authorizes and approves projects, wherein financial assistance is required of local agencies of this State by the Federal Government, similar to the provisions of Public Law, Numbered 534, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, and such projects are recommended for state assistance by the board and approved by the Legislature, including all projects adopted and authorized by the State for which no approriations or allocations have been made, it is the intentlon of the Legislature that it will be the policy of the State to pay the costs of local cooperation required by the acts of Congress, except that such costs shall be limited to the cost of lands, easements and rights of way necessary for the construction of such projects. [Emphasis added.]

12641. Any county, city, state agency or public district is authorized to make agreements with the United States or any of its departments or agencies obligating them to do or perform those things which are required of them by Chapters 1 and 2 of this part and by the act of Congress approved December 22, 1944 (Public, Numbered 534, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session), and the act of Congress approved August 18, 1941 (Public, Numbered 228, Seventy-eighth Congress, first session).

12642. In all cases where the Federal Government does not maintain and operate projects, it is the responsibility and duty of the county, city, state agency, or public district affected to maintain and operate flood control and other works, constructed pursuant to Chapters 1 and 2 of this part, after their completion and hold and save the State and the United States free from damage.

This statute makes no provision for assumption by the State of contributions required of local interests on the basis of benefits resulting from increased land values.

6. The directors of the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the local district which would provide the assurances of local cooperation to the Federal Government, have indicated by resolution dated January 15, 1953, as amended, that they concur with the general plan of improvement and are willing and able to meet the requirements of local cooperation. Furthermore, the voters in the area have recently authorized a bond issue in an amount of $6,954,000 to finance construction of local storm drainage and flood control improvements in and adjacent to the San Lorenzo Creek channel.

7. The Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District has advised that it intends to undertake certain channel enlargement in the lower reaches of San Lorenzo Creek immediately in order to partially alleviate the danger of heavy flood damage during the coming winter. This work is part of the proposed plan and would meet the requirement of equivalent construction in lieu of contributing 2.6 percent of the actual cost of the project.


State division of highways

In a communication dated November 20, 1953, G. T. McCoy, State highway engineer, commented as follows:

Reference is made to your interdepartmental communication, October 16, 1953, your file No. 313.7, submitting for comment, copy of the proposed report of the Chief of Engineers on flood control on San Lorenzo Creek, Alameda County, Calif. Within the limits of proposed plans of improvement San Lorenzo Creek is crossed by three very important major State highways. The existing bridge on Foothill Boulevard, State Route 5, is not disturbed by proposed channel work and it is assumed channel work will not affect normal plans for future highway widening. Recommended channel improvement calls for replacement of the bridge on East 14th Street, State Route 105, as a non-Federal cost contemplated to be financed without obligating State highway funds. The East Shore Freeway, State Route 69, crossing San Lorenzo Creek at Hesperian Boulevard, has provjded adequate channel clearances on the structures under State control. The Hesperian Boulevard Bridge that requires replacement is under local jurisdjctjon.

State highway interests are satisfactorily considered in the recommended plan for flood-control works. Although State highway protection is not a specific consideration in this local flood-control problem the division of highways is in favor of a flood-control measure such as proposed, which will reduce the effects of a possible extreme flood and to this extent will offer certain long-range benefits to the highways that traverse and serve this highly developed area.


Department of fish and game

Seth Gordon, director, department of fish and game, in a communication dated November 19, 1953, commented as follows:

Regional fisheries personnel of the department of fish and game have recently completed an investigation of the subject stream with particular view to evaluating the effects of the proposed construction on the present steelhead run of San Lorenzo Creek.

In previous correspondence we have pointed out the desirability or protecting the fisheries resources of this particular stream. As long ago as 1948, discussions were held with Corps of Engineers' personnel in order to minimize damage to the fisheries resources.

Our most recent investigations have indicated that the character of the San Lorenzo Creek watershed has been modified to a considerable degree by urban development. Because of changed conditions we now feel that the drainage probably offers severely limited spawning facilities, even with adequate stream flow. Under present conditions, even with a suitable channel, fish will find it difficult to ascend the stream for spawning, and the passage of fingerlings to the ocean will be severely restricted by the small expected summer flows.

As a result, we do not feel that the potential of San Lorenzo Creek as a steelhead stream warrants any expensive modifications of the Corps of Engineers' plans for flood control facilities at this time.

The department of fish and game does not, however, wish to completely withdraw our previous recommendations for this project without having the opportunity to review estimates of cost. On February 17, 1953, the district engineer was sent the State of California's comments on the review survey report on this stream. At this time the department of fish and game recommended that the Corps give additional consideration to the creation of a subchannel in the concrete lined section to prevent the low flows from being spread out in such a thin sheet that this 5-mile section would be a complete barrier to steelhead at low-water stages. We also suggested that additional consideration be given to the creation of pools in this subchannel by the addition of baffles of sills. It was previously indicated that this constructIon might help the percolation aspects of the project.

If these recommendations do not materially affect the financial feasibility of this project we again wish to recommend that they be given additional consideration by the Corps of Engineers in order to protect the fisheries resources of San Lorenzo Creek.


CONCLUSIONS

The following conclusions of the State division of water resources are submitted with respect to plans and improvements proposed in the report of the Chief of Engineers for flood control on San Lorenzo Creek, Calif., giving consideration to (a) the need for the project, (b) the engineering feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed work and (c) the economic justification for the project.

1. The flood-control improvements on San Lorenzo Creek recommended by the Chief of Engineers are urgently needed to protect existing urban, industrial, and agricultural developments; to permit removal of restrictions on urban development in the flood plain; and to serve as an adequate outlet for storm drainage systems outside the flood plain.

2. The recommended flood control improvements are of sound and adequate design, feasible of construction, and should function effectively.

3. On the basis of the estiinates of cost and benefits, as set forth in the report, there is adequate economic justification for authorizatIon and construction of the project by the Federal Government.

4. The directors of the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District have indicated that they are willing and able to provide the assurances of local cooperation required by Federal law.

5. Upon authorization of the project by the Congress, its presentation to, and adoption by, the State legislature would permit contribution by the State of the cost of lands, easements, and rights-of-way as defined by State law.

6. The proposed contribution by local interests of 2.6 percent of the construction cost of the project for benefits resulting from improved land use would not be reimbursable to such interests by the State of California.


RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that:

1. The plan of improvement set forth in the proposed report of the Chief of Engineers wIth regard to San Lorenzo Creek, Alameda County, Calif., for flood-control and allied purposes be authorized by the Congress for immediate construction, and that funds be appropriated by Congress for that purpose, and

2. The requirement that local interests contribute 2.6 percent of the first cost of the improvements, presently estimated at $96,000, be eliminated from that report.

Submitted by:

GERALD H. JONES,
Assistant State Engineer.


LETTER TO STATE OF CALIFORNIA


DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
Washington 25, D. C.,
January 15, 1954.

Mr. FRANK B. DURKEE,
Director of Public Works,
Public Works Building, Sacramento, Calif.

DEAR MR. DURKEE: Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of December 2, 1953, furnishing the comments of the State of California on my proposed report on San Lorenzo Creek, Calif.

It is noted that you are in accord with the recommendations contained in the report with the exception of the item of cash contribution by local interests in the amount of 2.6 percent of the first cost of the improvements. You recommend that this requirement be eliminated from the report, which would in effect increase the Federal first cost of the project. Appropriate consideration has been given to your recommendation, but in the light of existing policy, I am still of the opinion that an equitable part of the construction costs of the project should be borne by local interests in addition to the requirements of local cooperation developed in accordance with the provisions of section 3 of the Flood Control Act of 1936, as amended.

In order that the Congress may be informed as to the views of the State of California regarding this matter, copies of your letter together with the report of the division of water resources, dated December 2, 1953, will accompany my report.

Sincerely yours,

S. D. STURGIS, Jr.,
Major General, Chief of Engineers.