Scotts Flat spillway public access a costly proposition, according to NID

Homeland security threat level was phased out in 2011 unbeknownst to NID

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. November 16, 2017 – NID’s Board of Directors will meet in a special meeting tomorrow, Friday November 17th, to discuss option for the Scotts Flat spillway gate. The closure of the spillway access, without prior public notification, prompted a sustained public outcry from nearby residents, hikers and bikers.

During an October 18 workshop on the issue, members of the public proposed close to 18 different options to resolve the access issue and mitigate the public health & safety hazards.

A temporary $195,000 solution?

In the staff report, five proposed options are listed. “These options were discussed in consultation between NID staff, District council and the District’s insurance provider.” [source: NID staff report]

Option Cost Time
Fencing along the top of the spillway running parallel with the eastern and western edges, including adding wingwalls to the northern and southern access points of the spillway. Fencing consistent with the current “no-climb” fencing and razor wire. $48,000 1 month
Install cameras at various locations in order for NID to access real-time monitoring of the facility. Cost includes camera installation, trenching & conduit, and labor. $126,000 5 months
Install signage at various locations to educate the public. $1,000 2 weeks
Hire Security to patrol campgrounds & spillway. $20,000 2 weeks
Close the gate during times when the US Department of Homeland Security determines terrorist threat above “Guarded” $0 n/a

 

 

It appears NID is responding to the numerous requests by the community to re-open the popular connector with options designed to “strictly to mitigate the District’s liability around public health & safety concerns.”

Notwithstanding these options, the staff report reveals the solution to be only temporary: “We anticipate this spillway needing to be rebuilt under the direction of DSOD in the near future, so a long-term solution must be sought. Moving forward, NID will engage with community members on a long-term solution to the connectivity of the northern and southern areas of Scotts Flat Reservoir. M&R Committee meetings in 2018 will be the appropriate location for the board, staff and the public to engage in discussion surrounding an appropriate, long-term solution mitigating both the regulatory and the public health & safety concerns.”

A closer look at the options

More fencing: This option would encase the spillway on both sides with fencing and razorwire and add extensions to prevent climbing.

Cameras: Besides being the costliest option at $126,000, real-time monitoring would require 24/7 staffing or outsourcing. Recordings of alleged vandalism could be made available to law enforcement. However, the cameras will need to be well-protected and have night-vision options to be durable and effective.

Signage: Always a good and cost-effective option. At this point, no examples of proposed signage are available.

Security guards for campground and spillway: Increased visibility of security presence might deter some.

Homeland security threat level: Apparently unbeknownst to NID, the color-coded alerts were replaced 6 years ago.

“In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) replaced the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) with the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), designed to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the American public.” [source: Department of Homeland Security]

The special meeting will be held at the NID main office and will start at 9:00 am on November 18, 2017. The full agenda is here.