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Is the Army Corp of Engineers Holding a Secret Public Meeting Today?

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At the Sepulveda Dam | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist

At the Sepulveda Dam | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
This following e-mails is floating around to Neighborhood Councils this morning.

Dear Neighborhood Councils surrounding the Sepulveda Basin: If you have any concerns or suggestions about the Sepulveda Basin, please attend and speak up at Saturday's public meeting updating the Sepulveda Basin Master Plan. This is the first update in nearly thirty years so it is long overdue.

Sadly Tetra Tech, the private contractor being paid $1.8 million of federal stimulus monies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, failed to do any public outreach or notification that we are aware. Was your Neighborhood Council notified by them?

DATE: Saturday, December 5, 2009
TIME: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.)
LOCATION: Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Street, Encino

We found the following news release on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website and are sending it for your information. Note the listing of the Friends of Lake Balboa under "Stakeholders/Study Participants" below.

Thank you for your interest and hope to see you at the meeting. (Sorry for the short notice, please submit any "failure to notify in a timely manner" complaints to Tetra Tech.)


Glenn Bailey, Co-Chair
Friends of Lake Balboa

If you remember, the Army Corp of Engineers are the people who not only cemented the Los Angeles River way back when, but also more recently began the movement to take away the river's status as a river, therefore removing chances of federal funding to improve it.
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To contrast the seemingly non-existent public outreach from a federal level, Congressman Brad Sherman, who represents the Basin, is hosting a community town hall tomorrow about other subjects. That event has hit our e-mail box quite a few times in the last couple weeks. Nothing about the Sepulveda Basin has been sent to LAist's inbox (and we checked the spam folder, too).

The rest of the Sepulveda Basin information is copies below.

Sepulveda Dam Master Plan
Written by Ismael Miranda
Wednesday, 02 December 2009

Public Meeting: Dec. 5, 2009 at the Sepulveda Garden Center

Sepulveda Basin Master Plan & FEIS Report/Statement - March 1981 (15.2MB PDF)

Study Area Description: Sepulveda Dam flood control project, comprising a dam and a dry-land reservoir, is located on the Upper Los Angeles River about eight miles east of the rivers official source, in the City of Los Angeles, at the junction of the San Diego (405) and Ventura (101) Freeways. The dam is surrounded by residential development; it lies south of dead center in the San Fernando Valley, about 2 miles southwest of the community of Van Nuys and about 10 miles west of the City of Burbank.

The project is readily accessible by two major freeways-the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Highway 101) and the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) - and lies in the northwest corner of the junction of these freeways. The project area is also accessible from several other main traffic arteries Sepulveda, Ventura, Balboa, Burbank, Van Nuys, and Victory Boulevards, Woodley Avenue, White Oaks Avenue and Riverside Drive.

Study Purpose: The Corps is tasked with preparing a Master Plan for its project lands on a regular basis, for the guidance of project land development. Master Plan is designed to be updated every 5 years or revised as needed to keep up with changing needs and conditions. The plan also provides guidance for the orderly and coordinated use, future development and management of all resources at the Sepulveda Dam Project area. Available land and other resources are assessed and considered in a manner that would provide for the best possible use of land in consideration of the project purposes.

The primary purpose of the dam is flood control with a secondary purpose of recreation and a third purpose of water conservation. Master plan lays out operative policy and procedures. It establishes appropriate locations for open space plus recreation, and provides guidance for development of specific areas. It ensures compliance with the primary and secondary purposes of Sepulveda Dam: flood control, recreation and fish and wildlife management; appropriate distribution of recreation activities by intensity and density, based on flood control requirements, existing and adjacent uses, environmentally sensitive areas, and accessibility; increased opportunities for recreation development; protection, enhancement and restoration of environmental resources and open spaces; and optimal balanced recreational use of available land. Any proposed development in the area is done in accordance to the master plan.

Summary: Sepulveda Dam was completed in December 1941 at a cost of about $6,600,000.00. The project is an important unit of the comprehensive plan for flood control in the Los Angeles County drainage area. Lands at Sepulveda Dam are owned by the Corps of Engineers. The majority are leased to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for the recreational development. The basin is used for recreation throughout most of the year.

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The primary purpose of the project is to withhold winter flood waters from San Gabriel, Santa Monica, and Santa Susana Mountains and the Simi Hills, store it temporarily, and release it to the Los Angeles River at a rate that does not exceed the downstream channel capacity. Sepulveda Dam regulates runoff from a drainage area of approximately 152 square miles.

Sepulveda Dam is an earth dam, with a concrete spillway and outlet structure near the center of the dam. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 17,300 acre-feet at crest of spillway gates raised. The dam is 15,444 feet long with a crest elevation of 723.7 feet NGVD and a maximum height of 57 feet. The upstream slope is 1:3 and the downstream slope is 1:4, with a 20 feet wide berm at elevation 710, a top width of 30 feet.

The spillway is an overflow gravity section, 399 feet long. The spillway crest is at elevation 700 feet, with an overall length of 459 feet which includes seven 57 foot bays interspersed with piers six feet high by ten feet wide. Each bay has a ten-foot high drum gate, permitting maximum storage level to elevation 710 feet.

The outlet works are at the right of the spillway section in the central part of the dam. There are four gated outlets and four ungated outlets, with inverts and gate sills, all at stream bed elevation of 668 feet. These outlets discharge through eight separate conduits, 40 feet long, into a rectangular outlet channel, tapering in width from 83 to 50 feet, bordering at the right side of the spillway. Beyond the end of the spillway, the channel continues 50 feet wide for about 1,840 feet downstream.

Due to its proximity to Hollywood, California and Burbank, the dam is a popular filming location for movies, television and advertisements.

Background Information: The recreational development of the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin has taken place in stages by the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department since 1959.

The usable, developable area comprises slightly less than 1,600 acres of the total area of 2,150 acres owned by the Corps of Engineers. Presently 1,027 acres have been developed or are in the process of development, while 540 acres are considered available for future development. Behind the dam the Sepulveda basin is home to several large recreation areas and parks, a model-aircraft field, The Japanese Garden, a wildlife refuge, water reclamation plant and an armory.

Facilities inside the Sepulveda Dam Flood Control Basin includes a Recreational lake, wildlife management area, Sepulveda golf course, Woodley golf course, Hjelte park, Agricultural lands, bicycle trails, Model Airplane Center, Woodley Avenue park, Arts park, Family services Community Center, Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, Balboa Sports Center, Recreation parking, Havenhurst Avenue Field, Franklin Field, Garden Center, Valley Christian League Fields, Victory Boulevard Field, California National Guard Building, US Navy and Marine Reserve Building and Railroad Track around Northeast End of Dam.

Most of these facilities were developed by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks; a few were developed jointly by the city and the Army Corps of Engineers under the Code 710 cost-sharing program. Under the lease agreement, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks operates and maintains the existing recreational facilities.

History: The Sepulveda Dam flood control project was authorized 22 June 1936 by the Seventy-fourth Congress in the River and Harbor Act of 1936. The analysis of design, dated 19 August 1939 and subsequently revised 1 October 1941, established the location and design of the dam and appurtenant facilities. Construction of the dam, spillway, and outlet works was completed in December 1941. The Corps of Engineers maintains Sepulveda Dam and appurtenant flood control facilities.

Acting under the authority of Public Law 387 (Seventy-seventh Congress, approved 27 December 1941) the Secretary of the Army granted the City of Los Angeles a license to develop part of the Sepulveda flood control basin for recreational purpose. Public Law 387 was subsequently superseded by the more encompassing Flood Control Act of 1944 and 1946. The later acts provide nationwide guidelines for recreational development at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects; they also enlarged the amount of land leased to the City of Los Angeles for recreational development. Under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 22 December 1944 (Public Law 534, 78th Cong.), as amended by the Flood Control Act of 24 July 1946 (Public Law 526, 79th Cong.), two leases for recreational development were granted - one to the City of Los Angeles and one to the West Valley Youth, Inc., a California non-profit corporation. The later has subsequently been modified and is currently leased under the name “Franklin Field, Inc.”.

Under administrative directive outlined in EC1130-2-121, the Corps of Engineers participate with the City of Los Angeles in a cost-sharing program for recreational development; known as the Code 710 program. This participation was desirable to meet recreational demands in a timely fashion.

Stakeholders/Study Participants:

1. Sepulveda Wildlife Committee
2. Friends of Lake Balboa
3. Sepulveda Basin User Group and Committee
4. City of Los Angeles Park and Recreation
5. Los Angeles Public Works

Points of Contact:

Katie Park, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District
915 Wilshire Boulevard (CESPL-PM)
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 452-4013

MaLisa Martin, Lead Planner
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District
915 Wilshire Boulevard (CESPL-PD-C)
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 452-3828- fax (213) 452-4204

Jennie Ayala, Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District
915 Wilshire Boulevard (CESPL-PA)
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 452-3925

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