With all the smoke in the air and fires raging up and down our state, perhaps the most distant notion on residents’ minds is the need to enhance local flood control. That’s natural. The need to reform our forestry and fire policies is clear. But we also have to think ahead and prepare for the inevitable winter rains. Enhancing public safety is a year-round task.

It’s easy to forget that many Placer County residents, particularly those who live in Roseville and Rocklin, face periodic and serious flooding when nearby creeks spill over during the October to April time period. Between 1955 and 2002, Placer County has experienced 9 federally declared storm or flood disasters. Severe floods can cause the loss of life, damage to homes and businesses and the spread of infectious disease. Roads are blocked or made unsafe, which can restrict the provision of emergency services to residents in need. With this in mind, elected public officials and staff must work year-round within their own city or county jurisdictions and across political boundaries to better address flood control and drainage problems.

A good example of this kind of cooperation is the recent completion of the new Miners Ravine Off-Channel Detention Basin. As you drive north along Sierra College Boulevard toward Rocklin, you will have noticed to the left a small parking lot and the new detention basin with a walking and bike trail around it. This new state of the art flood control facility is the most recent accomplishment of the Placer County Flood Control & Water Conservation District. The District, governed by a board consisting of two members of the Placer County Board of Supervisors, representatives from each city and town council, and one public member saved over a number of years developer fee money and obtained a state grant to build the multi-million dollar detention facility. County staff did a great job in working with the governing board and private contractors to create a detention basin that will provide an estimated 270 cubic feet per second reduction in the 100-year peak flow from Miners Ravine. An inlet/outlet gate will automatically open and close to reduce the peak flows downstream to Roseville.

In building the new detention facility on the larger 28-acre site, the district board and staff wanted to enhance recreational and environmental benefits of the area. Walking or riding a bicycle around the basin is becoming more popular. The City of Roseville’s Miners Ravine bike trail connects to new trail around the basin. The project was constructed to restore riparian habitat and oak woodlands, to restore and enhance the onsite wetland and to enhance the rearing habitat for anadromous fish in Miners Ravine. The District also entered into an agreement with the Placer Land Trust to help us preserve our precious natural resources on the site.

I enjoyed working with other city and county officials on the Miners Ravine detention basin project. It represents an important step forward toward improving flood control. It was a team project. There are many other critical flood control projects within the cities and county and across jurisdiction boundaries that must be designed, funded and completed. I have confidence that as long as we maintain strong working relationships with each other, minimize our administrative expenses, save our money for important projects, and keep focused on the ball that we can enhance the safety of Placer County residents.