Be Ready for the 2018-2019 Season
Last winter federal, state, local agencies, and community groups took action to protect our watershed, and prevent flooding and storm water pollution after the 0ctober 2017 fires by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs are used to keep pollutants from entering storm drains and our natural waterbodies like creeks and rivers. There are many types of BMP materials and methods. BMPs must be properly installed and maintained in order to function, and may need to be replaced prior to each rainy season, particularly after a wildfire has damaged vegetation and soils. Depending on your property, you may need technical advice from qualified personnel to customize the approach and installations at your property.
Property Owner and Contractor Responsibilities
Whether you are in the process of rebuilding, selling your lot, or if your lot remains vacant, as a property owner, it is your responsibility to control storm runoff. Property owners and contractors on rebuild sites must prevent pollutants, including sediment, from entering storm drains, creeks, rivers, and wetlands.
Inspections and Enforcement
Inspections of fire-affected properties are underway to assess whether they are ready for the rainy season, with an emphasis on protecting the environment and ensuring contractor compliance during rebuilding. Inspections will occur throughout the rainy season to ensure adequate wet weather protections are in place and functioning well. The City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma’s goal is to work with property owners and contractors to come into compliance through progressive verbal communication and written noticing, prior to potential formal enforcement.
NEW Information and Resources
Since the risks of erosion, sedimentation, flooding, or similar secondary post-fire hazards are higher than they were before the fires, the County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa prepared summary brochures regarding responsibilities and resources for property owners and contractors, with customized information for parcels that are vacant versus under construction.
- Temporary Erosion Control – A Homeowner’s Guide (PDF) – City of Santa Rosa
- Making Sure Your Parcel is Ready for Winter (PDF)- County of Sonoma
- Making Sure Your Parcel is Ready for Winter Spanish (PDF)- County of Sonoma
- RRK ErosionControlAssistanceRequestForm2
- Construction Site – Storm Water Pollution Prevention (PDF) – City of Santa Rosa
- Construction Site – Storm Water Pollution Prevention (PDF) – County of Sonoma
If your property is in the City of Santa Rosa, call the Resilient City Permit Center at 707-543-4649 or email email@example.com.
In unincorporated Sonoma County, call the Storm Water and Creeks team at 707-565-6186.
For other locations or with general questions, contact the joint recovery team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone 707-565-1222.
Increased Risk of Flooding
A multi-agency analysis of the fire damage in 2018 found that properties located within fire burn areas may still be at risk for flash floods, mudflows and debris flows.
To familiarize yourself with the potential hazards associated with the burned areas please view the Post-Fire Hazard Assessment Map.
Residents who live in areas identified as at medium and high-risk of flash flooding, debris and mud flows were mailed information that can be seen here.
More than 30 roadside signs have been installed in areas that have been identified as high risk. Click here to see what the signs look like.
The National Weather Service expects debris flows to become more likely during periods of intense rainfall. Be prepared by:
- Identifying vulnerable areas on your property.
- Using erosion control techniques, such as installing wattles and rock bags, and clearing fire-related debris from creeks and drainages to reduce flooding.
- Have an evacuation and emergency plan ready.
- Keep your cell phone turned on at all times to receive emergency alerts.
- The Sonoma County Water Agency has installed rainfall and stream gauges in watersheds in burned areas and is working to install radar equipment to improve early warning forecasts for residents in high-risk areas. Use this link for real-time data: www.sonoma.onerain.com
National Weather Service Warning System:
- The National Weather Service issues weather advisories and watches when the weather forecast indicates there is a potential for hazardous conditions. Watches and advisories are shared online at https://www.weather.gov/alerts, and on the National Weather Service social media Facebook and Twitter feeds.
- Warning: The National Weather Service will issue a Warning if hazardous conditions are imminent or occurring within the burn areas.
- The National Weather Service sends Warnings over the Wireless Emergency Alerts system that will send a message to all cell phones in the burn areas and will also send out alerts through the Emergency Alert System that broadcasts on radios and televisions.
Sign up for Sonoma County Emergency Alerts:
- Sign up for SoCo Alerts by visiting http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/SoCoAlert/. SoCo Alerts will resend any warnings issued by the National Weather Service and will issue evacuation warnings.
Weather Emergency Radios
- In areas where there is limited cell service, or if a power outage occurs, Emergency Warnings from the National Weather Service will be announced on the Weather Emergency Radios, which rely on batteries.
Emergency public hotlines - Flood, sanitation, streams maintenance
Flood Forecast Hotline: (707) 526-4768
The Flood Forecast is a recording that provides updates on local river conditions. The recordings are updated by the Sonoma County Water Agency as conditions change.
Stream Maintenance: (707) 521-1845
Report any stream related issues, such as debris or stream channel changes, to prevent localized flooding.
Sewage Emergency Hotline: (707) 523-1070
The Sewage Emergency Hotline is operated on a 24-hour basis at the Sonoma County Water Agency's Operations Center. Call this hotline to report any sewage spills, overflows or backed-up sewer lines.
Additional Erosion Control and Flood Prevention Resources
Publications and services relating to erosion control can be found on the Sonoma Resource Conservation District Website at: http://sonomarcd.org/resources/fire-recovery
- Preparing for Winter After the Fire: What Property Owners Can Do
- Erosion Control Maps (PDF) – by USDA
- Log Erosion Barriers (PDF) – by USDA
- Straw Mulching for Erosion Control (PDF) - by Rich Casale, CPESC
- Erosion Control info provided by Bureau of Land Management (PDF 1.63 MB)
- Best Management Practices for Agriculture Erosion and Sedimentation Control, Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner's Office, Revised 12/13/2013 (PDF: 9.54 MB)
- Erosion and Sediment Control Field Manual, Fourth Edition, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region, 2002
- CalTrans Construction Site Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual (PDF) – CalTrans
Where to find BMP materials:
- Wattles and other BMP materials, such as straw, are available for purchase at various agriculture, garden supply and hardware stores.