Flood Resources

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How to Reduce Flood Risk to your Property

Routine Creek Maintenance by Property Owners

The following are provided as guidelines:

  • Preserve existing riparian vegetation. This includes both trees and understory shrubbery.
  • Keep structures out of the stream zone. Stairs and retaining walls can degrade creek banks and impact your neighbor’s stream bank.
  • Drain roof gutters to landscaped areas. Pipes draining onto or overhanging the stream bank can cause erosion.
  • Do not use tires or broken concrete for erosion repair or slope protection. Native vegetation is the best protection in many cases.
  • Seek professional advice if you believe your streambank requires reinforcement to prevent erosion. A professional will be able to recommend the most effective method with the least negative environmental impact, and will also be able to advise you on permits that may be required by environmental agencies. Having the right permits is essential to avoid fines and citations.
  • If possible, coordinate with upstream or downstream property owners to design and implement stream bed or stream bank improvements for an entire reach of stream.

Emergency Information

Immediate threat to life and limb: Obviously, all people are entitled to take necessary actions to protect their lives, and this applies to flooding threats as well.

Call 911 if you are in immediate physical danger.

If your property is at risk: Be aware that, other than in cases of immediate physical danger to life and limb, regulatory agencies define “emergencies” very specifically, and their definition may differ from yours.

What you consider an “emergency” may NOT be considered an emergency by the regulatory agencies. The regulatory agencies have special procedures in place to handle situations that fit their definitions of emergencies. Most agencies have special, expedited procedures for issuing emergency permits to do work that will impact creeks. Regulatory definitions of emergencies include: emergency flood or streambank erosion situation that would result in a significant loss of property or an immediate, unforeseen, and significant economic hardship.

Some agencies can issue emergency permits within 24 hours, others require prior phone notification, to be followed up with filing paperwork afterwards. Click on the links below to download emergency definitions and regulations from the Army Corps and CDFG:

If a road or bridge is flooding or at risk: If there is a public infrastructure problem please call the county roads department at (805) 781-5252 or if it is within the San Luis Obispo City limits call the City Public Works Department at (805) 781-7200. Sandbags can be purchased at many hardware, feed, and supply stores.

Contact Public Works via web form, email, or call us at (805) 781-5252.