Emergency Tunnel Reservoir Debris Removal and Slope Repair Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
City of Santa Barbara
Document Title
Emergency Tunnel Reservoir Debris Removal and Slope Repair Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The City’s Tunnel Reservoir site required significant debris removal and slope repair emergency work to mitigate damage caused as a direct result of the January 9, 2023, storm event. The site contains a 1-million-gallon drinking water steel reservoir located above ground and surrounded by steep slopes on the north and west sides. The work was conducted from January 10-20 and March 7-8, 2023, by Lash Construction and Acacia Erosion Control. Initial work involved the removal of approximately 5 dump truck loads of debris from a debris fall on the north-western slope, as well as security fencing repair. The final work involved grading out gullies, hydroseeding, and installing wattles along approximately 2,700 sq. ft. of slope. The work involved restoring the site to its pre-storm condition and did not result in an expansion in capacity. Equipment used to complete the work included: backhoe, excavator, dump truck, mini-excavator, hydro-seeder, and a water buffalo.

Contact Information

Kaitlin Mamulski
Agency Name
City of Santa Barbara
Job Title
Project Planner
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara
Southern California
Parcel #

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15269 (a) Emergency Projects
Reasons for Exemption
CEQA Guidelines Section 15269 (a), Emergency Projects. This Project meets the Section 15269 Emergency Projects (a) statutory exemption, because the Project involved the removal of debris, repair of the damaged security fencing and restored slope stability and erosion mitigation of the hillside at Tunnel Reservoir damaged as a result of the January 9, 2023, storm, in which a state of emergency was proclaimed by the Governor pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act, commencing with Section 8550 of the Government Code. Mapping data is limited for the specific site, but records showing high erosion potential zones exist for areas approximately 200’ away. The possibility of high erosion of soil on this site is supported by the fact that erosion did occur during the storm. The Project sought to address and decrease the future risk of erosion through the addition of wattles, grading, and other stormwater erosion control measures and will reduce the risk of erosion and damage to infrastructure during future storm events. Mapped data is not available for this location, but given fire risk in comparable locations, it is likely that this area would be high fire risk. Construction activities did not increase fire risk. Construction equipment generated some noise during construction, however, work was restricted to the hours of 7:30 AM to 4 PM pursuant to the Santa Barbara Noise Ordinance. Given the limited noise during construction, the Project will have a less than significant effect in terms of noise. The site contains mature trees, but no tree removal or pruning occurred as part of this Project, therefore, the Project will have a less than significant effect on trees or landscaping. The Project did involve work above ground, but work was focused on returning the site to a pre-storm condition and did not involve any significant alteration to the landscape other than the repair work necessary. Therefore, the effects to visual resources are considered to be less than significant. In conclusion, the emergency Project repaired damages at Tunnel Reservoir as a direct result of the January 9, 2023, storm event. The Project is not anticipated to result in any significant impacts towards the environmental resources, therefore, the Public Works Department recommends that the Case Planner consider this Project as exempt, as defined in the CEQA review process classified under the Statutory Exemption Section 15269 (a) – Emergency Projects of the CEQA Guidelines.
County Clerk
Santa Barbara


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