Keep Santa Paula & Ventura CA in your thoughts!

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by HyKlas, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    Mud/debris slides are the worst. Things we think of as solid can actually become quite fluid.I remember hearing of the Oso slide in Washington state a few years back and thinking, what a terrible way to go. There was a history of more minor slides there as well and over 40 died. These pale in comparison to Armero Columbia in 1985 where 20,000 died (volcanic-triggered flow) and similar number of deaths in the 1999 Vargas, Venezuela flood/debris flow. Nobody talks about these events (imagine if all 9K in Montecito perished!)
    In Colorado, we have similar events in avalanches. On local news over the years, I've seen bodies pulled out after small events (usually backcountry skiers), and always think of what a terrible way this also is to go. We still build destination ski resorts and hotels at the base of mountains, but an unusual weather pattern combined with a historical snow dump can put it all at risk. Hard to think about when you are cutting up fresh powder as the odds of it happening are slim.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  2. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    The trees do not necessarily mark surface flows. It is deep water that they mark. But, hardly a point worthy of deep discussion.
    You ask about my property and flows.
    No one mentioned anything about what I uncovered when we bought the place.
    We are on an acre, and share property lines with two other neighbors on similar size (we are all 1.1 acre).
    The stream that we experience is delivered to us by an inconsiderate neighbors graded fire road on her 11 acre property, above us. The fire road acts like a gutter and delivers most of 11 acres + of hillside runoff onto us.
    To do anything about it would require a law suit.
    I armor plated myself with hundreds of tons of granite.

    When we moved in, I was not comfprtable with how high the soil line was in realtion to the mud-sill of the house (the base plate of the framed walls). It was right up tight to the bottom of the stucco, where the base plate meets the foundation, meets the stucco.
    So, I started digging, and moving soil away from the house. What I found was literally like a pointer leading me to look upstream. So I started following that intuition, and it led me to the high corner of my property, where we get a literal stream if we get a week of soild rains; three 2" days in a row will get our stream flowing.
    The inflow, if it hits a stick, or twig, can change its direction by a substanital amount.

    This is my stream, but, this is where it comes off of the neighbors property.
    This is in its earliest beginnings of flowing:
    You can see the debris pile that has changed the flow direction. This is the slightest example, but, that change in direction, is towards the house.

    This is the same flow, but, now, just as it entered the property:
    DSCN1103_zps9e08ad29.jpg DSCN1102_zps9e08ad29.jpg

    In this pic, you can see where it has eroded out the base of this Eucalyptus stump:

    And, this is down my north property line:
    DSCN1100_zpse5f2504b.jpg DSCN1099_zpsaf0a2b4d.jpg

    OK,... this is the stream when it just starting to flow.
    I spent the better part of 6 years readying for the big event, and we got it last year (water flows, not mud/debris).
    next post, some of my mitigation efforts to control the flow.
  3. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    My mitigation efforts to deal with this flow,....

    This is the view back at my house (seen through the bushes), from where the stream flows on our neighbors property.
    I have built a headwall to block the randomness of the flows, and contain them into a collection, desiltation barrier pond. I used the topography of the land, and built my headwall.
    The native shrub in the middle of the picture is the low point, where the flow is now forced to enter my property.

    This is the right wing wall, and is stacked bags of concrete (60, 60lb bags) that have hardened; faced with concrete scalloped lawn edging; and encased in hardware cloth, poultry wire.

    The left wing wall is many yards of soil hand carted up from below, faced in concrete stepping stones footed in concrete, and granite rip-rap, and then encased in chainlink fencing.

    This is looking at my newly developed low-point, the outflow to my desiltation basin. This is where the flow is forced to enter into my dry creek drainage system.
    DSCN1501_zps40e4269c.jpg DSCN1524_zpsd54b8ae0.jpg DSCN1525_zpse5755562.jpg DSCN1526_zpscbee233b.jpg

    Next post,.... the results.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018 at 3:57 PM
  4. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    This is the inflow entrance, just below the desiltation basin:


    This is the orange and grapefruit tree that were being washed out in the first images:
  5. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    This is below my dry creek, down the north property edge, and where it flows onto my neighbors property.
    We both learned that we needed to do additional stuff at this point in our shared access road (leads to rear of property).
    WE sandbagged it for last year.
    Just yesterday, I spent the better part of the day building up this turn.

    DSCN3303.jpg DSCN3304.jpg DSCN3305.jpg

    And, this is that effort, from yesterday.
    2x12 x 24' long, buried into the grade, and faced with gravel.
    The granite rocks all around are intended to direct flows where we want them to go.
    DSCN4386.jpg DSCN4394.jpg

    And, this is the final bit of draining that I built, to force water to drop into dry creeks, rather than aimingg at the house. They worked as well, returning this bit, back into the main flow:
    DSCN3301.jpg DSCN3306.jpg

    To the right, is the house. To the left, the hillside inflow. These are the last stand in protecting the house; not necessarily from the larger inflow, but, also to control our own realized on-property flows as well.
    The house, is no longer a threat of silt deposits, in regular, non-fire years.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018 at 1:04 AM
  6. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    That is some great work Mike! I'm afraid all the planning and grading in the world would not have prevented the Montecito disaster. It appears now that rainfall volumes alone cannot account for the observed flow. Furthermore, county reservoirs and pipelines that were full are now empty and damage appears similar to a dam fail. Hydrologist point to millions of gallons in a 30 min period, so lawsuits now are blaming the water district (who own and maintain the reservoirs and pipelines). While the area is closed and they are still trying to recover bodies, I was able to get on-site today for an extended period with my excavation team and do some inspection. It is clear my parents escaped death being, by chance, upstairs during the event as there is 8' of mud and debris in the master bedroom (the room on the right plugged up with debris in first photo) and muck levels were very high (water mark on wall is at 9'). Much debris came from way upstream, including a dumpster (resting on top of their mud filled pool in photo 2) and a car in the backyard (looks like a toy among the tree stumps and boulders in photo 3). I could not recognize the neighborhood, Route 192 has been reduced to a single lane dirt trail, similar to the back country trails I take my Jeep on in CO. There is no infrastructure left and from my view it will takes months just to get basic services restored. We will be OK and will rebuild. I only thought I'd share these pics as the news media has moved on and doesn't show what folks here are left with. Some weren't so lucky: the three houses I remember as landmarks below my parents home are gone. Just a vacant mudfield remains. I spoke to a fireman who recovered one of the bodies there. He saw a shoe in the mud and thought to grab it, only to find a 2-year old's body attached. His demeanor shows he is still haunted by the experience and will be for years. Shit, I think I will be haunted as well the way he told it. What a mess this is. By the way, these homes were OUTSIDE the mandatory evacuation zone and were given warning AFTER the event. My house, well within the zone, was thankfully untouched by the flood (just fire damage).
    IMG_7308.JPG IMG_7305.JPG

    News photo showing culvert under road clogged up:
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018 at 5:07 AM
    mfrench likes this.
  7. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

    Fountain Valley, CA
    On a positive note my cousins got my aunt and uncle settled in a rental home in San Roque and went back to their families in ID and CO. It will be a long grueling process to rebuild and recover, but at least they have a place in their old neighborhood. Before they moved to Montecito they had a wonderful home on Carizo Dr. The staircase was awesome. Hand-hewn 10"x10" posts topped with hand carved near life sized archer's head. God bless to you and yours on the long road back.
    phantomrebel and mfrench like this.
  8. mfrench

    mfrench AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Friendly Village of Fallbrook
    Yeah, that Montecito thing is something that my silly little rocks wouldn't have any effect on.
    But they do allow me and my neighbor, who is also impacted by the flow, to sleep when its raining hard.

    What happened in Montecito is intense. A dam failure? OK,... that makes more sense than anything else that has been described/offered. Normal rain off-flow, or even normal heavy rain off-flow, isn't going to move giant boulders like that; but a surge flow would.
    Back around 1980 or so, I was driving up to West Yellowstone to a job that I'd arranged for the summer (fly fishing shop counter guy/part time giuide). In getting there, I had to drive through an area that was the remnants of a dam failure on the Snake River that took out a portion of Idaho Falls. It was really intense to see just how destructive that was.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018 at 7:53 AM
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