On March 9 at the Yucaipa City Council meeting, City Engineer Fermin Preciado talked about a $2.5 million for the construction of the Upper Wildwood Creek Basin project through the Proposition 68 Urban Flood Protection Grant Program. The city would need to allocate $121,000 in matching funds from the “Matching Funds for State/Federal Grant” account in order to meet the required local match requirement of 25% for the grant application.
“Proposition 68 which was approved in 2018 includes the Urban Flood Protection Program,” said Preciado. “It is a competitive grant program that provides about $88 million in grant funding state wide for primarily projects that address flooding in urbanized areas, projects that capture storm water, and projects that provide multiple benefits to communities.”
The city of Yucaipa’s General Plan Floodplain Safety Overlay District identifies the segment of Wildwood Creek east of Mesa Grande as part of the 100-year floodplain area. The Wildwood Creek Basin project, identified in the City’s Master Plan of drainage, Hazard Mitigation Plan and Capital Improvement Program is located east of Mesa Grande Drive and is a critical component of the infrastructure identified for Wildwood Creek.
“Over the past few years, this segment of Wildwood Creek has experienced erosion during storm events and that includes the loss of many of the mature oak trees along Wildwood Creek. The proposed basin project will reduce that erosion and has several other benefits including groundwater recharge, reduce flooding, reduce the flood risk downstream, provide for a passive recreational opportunities, provide access to a multipurpose trail and will also serve as the primary access to the single track mountain bike project that the city council has prioritized and funded in the current Capital Improvement Program,” said Preciado.
This project and the proposed grant application are supported by the city of Yucaipa’s Trail and Open Space committee, as well as the mountain bike community in the area. Due to the alignment of the mountain bike track it would allow the project to be built in phases, if necessary.
“The Trails and Open Space committee has reviewed not only the single track mountain bike concept but also the Wildwood Creek Basin Project and this proposed grant application and they are in support of it. The local community engagement will be supported by the city’s partners (Yucaipa Valley Conservancy and the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District) as has been the case with many of the city’s other drainage projects,” said Preciado.
This project will re-contour the channel to improve and reestablish floodplain function and provide localized flood protection, stabilize approximately 2,000 lineal feet of embankment on both sides of the creek, replace dozens of oak trees that have been lost or severely disturbed, and plant vegetation to further stabilize embankments using bio-engineered erosion control, bank stabilization and revegetation.
Since this project is a flood control facility identified in the city’s adopted Master Plan of Drainage, the construction of this facility will reduce the risk of flooding in the lower reaches of Wildwood Creek, including the Freeway Corridor Specific Plan area and the site of the future Wildwood Canyon Road/I-10 Freeway Interchange project site.
“This is vitally needed,” said councilmember Dick Riddell.
He went on to say, “It is desperately needed. If we can get the grant and the matching funds, the actual $121,000 is just a small percentage of what this is going to be of a $3 million project. This looks like it could still lead into the hill a bit where we are losing the Oak trees. Is this going to help that situation?”
Preciado said that as part of this project it would help the situation along the south bank within the project limits and for several years other ways have been considered to protect the bank of the creek along the south side downstream and this was an opportunity to do that in this location.
Mayor Pro Tem Denise Allen said, “As always with grant money, somebody is going to get it and we might as well and we always seem to prevail so I support the item.”
City council passed the item unanimously.
Supporting documents are available for public view on the city of Yucaipa website at yucaipa.org.