North Bay Agencies Work To Reduce Risk Of Flooding, Water Pollution After Wildfires

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Nearly a dozen agencies in Sonoma County are working to reduce the risk of flooding and pollution of drinking water by sediment and debris in the wake of the wildfires that devastated the county earlier this month.

Officials said there are 617 streams in the areas affected by the Tubbs and Nuns fires that started in the county on Oct. 8, and it is important that ash, debris and other pollutants do not enter the streams and creeks that naturally filter drinking water.

The creeks and streams in the watersheds in the 173 square miles of burned area in the county have an elevated risk of flooding, debris flow, and landslides from rain runoff and potential for sediment and debris that can block and fill channels and culverts, county officials said.

The agencies are able to use data from NASA to track sources of pollution in the watershed that have the highest likelihood or moving into stream systems during the coming winter storms.

The effort to prevent flooding and pollution in urban areas entails cleaning and checking storm drains, installing straw wattles and sandbags to keep debris out of storm drains, and capture, store and treat stormwater runoff from the most impacted urban areas.

In rural areas, county workers are checking and installing debris-capture devices in culverts and ditches along roadways. The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District is assessing its properties in the burned areas for hazardous conditions including damaged and downed trees and areas where erosion could affect streams and watersheds.

Information on what property owners can do to reduce erosion and prevent flooding will be available soon at www.sonomacountyrecovers.org.

© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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