County, City Officials Vow to Expedite Eagle Canyon Dam
CATHEDRAL CITY – Riverside County and Cathedral City officials pledged Tuesday to work together to begin building Eagle Canyon Dam within a year in an attempt to prevent the kind of flooding that closed East Palm Canyon Drive in Cathedral City last week.
Supervisor John J. Benoit organized the meeting that included Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa, Councilman Bud England, Riverside County Flood Control District General Manager Dusty Williams and both city and county staff. The officials have been working collaboratively for years to prepare for the much-needed dam, and county and city officials agreed Tuesday to continue to make the project a top priority.
“When I visited the flooded area with Mayor DeRosa and Councilman England, I saw six inches of mud in the streets and its devastating impact on businesses,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “I have directed the flood control district to get this flood protection project built as soon as possible.”
The Eagle Canyon foothills sit between the cities of Cathedral City and Palm Springs. The existing condition in the canyon is unable to prevent runoff from the mountains from sending water and mud down the canyon and onto East Palm Canyon Drive.
“Eagle Canyon Dam is a crucial need for Cathedral City’s main artery,” said Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa. “We need to move on this project. Our city has committed to provide the highest level of support to get this project done.”
Cathedral City will discuss the dam during the study session portion of the 5 p.m. Sept. 12 City Council meeting. The city is responsible for financing the expense of cleaning up the dam site, and DeRosa vowed Tuesday to make sure the funding would be available.
Plans for the new Eagle Canyon Dam have been well developed, and many preliminary approvals have already been obtained. In April 2011, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the project’s full environmental impact report. On Aug. 29, the county received water quality certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The county is on the verge of receiving approval by the California Department of Fish and Game, and awaits final approval by the state Division of Safety of Dams. Later this fall, the project will be taken to the Board of Supervisors to be advertised for construction bid proposals.
The Riverside County Flood District also is prepared to begin construction on an underground storm drain system known as Line 43 that will serve as the outlet for Eagle Canyon Dam and provide drainage for the local area downstream of the dam.
Construction for both projects is planned to start in 2013 and to take about one year. The storm drain system is a critical part of making sure the full benefit of the dam is realized.
City and county officials will meet with Cathedral City businesses during the coming months to find ways to minimize the impact on the businesses in the area.