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«A thesis submitted to the faculty of San Francisco State University In partial fulfillment of The requirements for The degree Master of Arts In ...»

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SAN PEDRO CREEK FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT:

INTEGRATIVE ANALYSIS OF NATURAL HAZARD RESPONSE

A thesis submitted to the faculty of

San Francisco State University

In partial fulfillment of

The requirements for

The degree

Master of Arts

In

Geography

by

Kelsey Nathel McDonald

San Francisco, California

July, 2004

Copyright by

Kelsey Nathel McDonald

CERTIFICATION OF APPROVAL

I certify that I have read San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project:

Integrative Analysis of Natural Hazard Response by Kelsey Nathel McDonald, and that in my opinion this work meets the criteria for approving a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree: Master of Arts in Geography at San Francisco State University ___________________________________________

Nancy Lee Wilkinson Professor of Geography ___________________________________________

Qian Guo Assistant Professor of Geography ___________________________________________

Jerry Davis Professor of Geography

SAN PEDRO CREEK FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT:

INTEGRATIVE ANALYSIS OF NATURAL HAZARD RESPONSE

Kelsey Nathel McDonald San Francisco State University Many different elements influenced the San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project, a response to the flood hazard along San Pedro Creek in Pacifica, California. The influences of the different elements are evaluated using Risa Palm’s integrative framework, which consists of three levels of elements (macro, meso, and micro) influencing hazard response, the specific environment of the hazard, and the linkages between and within all of the levels. Palm’s framework brings to light the complexity of hazard response and helps to identify issues in planning and implementing the flood control project that may be minimized in the future. Meso-level elements significantly influenced the planning and implementation of the flood control project; however, the goals, experience, and values of the individual acting in a meso-level role often most significantly influenced the direction of those meso-level elements.

I certify that the

Abstract

is a correct representation of the content of this thesis.

__________________________________________ ___________________

Chair, Thesis Committee

–  –  –

I wish to thank my thesis committee for their encouragement and support. Professor Nancy Wilkinson also provided me with nourishment for my mind and occasionally my stomach! Professor Qian Guo fueled my research in natural hazards and helped me keep my thesis top of mind throughout my coursework, making it much easier to write my thesis when the time came. Professor Jerry Davis first introduced me to the creek that became the focus of my thesis.

Thank you also to the Department of Public Works in Pacifica for directing me to a mountain of information on the flood control project.

Finally, I could not have completed this journey without William, who many times gave me just enough of a boost to get over the next hurdle. Thank you for your relentless patience and support.

–  –  –

List of Maps…….……………………………………...…………………………………viii List of Figures……………………………………………………………………………..ix List of Photographs……………………………………………………….…………….…x List of Appendices……………………………………………………….………….……xii Abbreviations………………..………………..……………………………….…………xiii Introduction The San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project…….……………….……...1 Overview………………………………………………………….1 Site Description: The San Pedro Creek Watershed……………..5 A Brief History of the San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project: 1962-2004..……………………………………………....8 Chapter 1 Flooding and the Development of Natural Hazards Research…..……...21 Human Ecology and Early Natural Hazards Research…………..22 Political Economy Challenges the Traditional Approach in Natural Hazards…………………………………………………28 An Integrative Approach Emerges………………………………30 Chapter 2 Environment of the San Pedro Creek Flood Hazard: a Human Ecology Perspective………….……..………...……...…………………...38 The San Pedro Creek Watershed: c. 1769……………………...39

The Mission’s Agricultural Outpost in San Pedro Valley:

1786-1792………………………………………………………..40 Ranching in San Pedro Creek Watershed: 1792-1860s…………41 Commercial Agriculture: 1870s-1950s…………………………..46 Urbanization of San Pedro Valley: 1953-present………………...55 Chapter 3 Influence of Micro-Level Elements on Response Following a Major Flood………………………………………………………………60

–  –  –





Chapter 4 Changing Flood Control Objectives and Methods of Meso-Level Elements.…………………………………………………………………76 Flood of 1962.……………………………………………………79 Beginning of the Environmental Movement in Pacifica.………….80 Flood of 1972.……………………………………………………83 Flood of 1982.……………………………………………………85 Chapter 5 Impediments to the Planning Process...…….…………………………...105 Communication Issues.…………………………………………105 Cumbersome Planning Process………..………….…………….110 Chapter 6 Influence of Individual Acting in Meso-Level Role………………..…….117 Chapter 7 Conclusions.…………………………………..…….………………..…132 References ………………………………………………………………………….142 Appendices ………………………………………………………………………….157

–  –  –

1. San Pedro Creek Watershed, Pacifica, California....……………………………….….2

2. San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project Study Area, Lower Linda Mar, Pacifica, California.………………………………………………...………………..….9

3. San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project Study Area.………………………..……...10 4. 100-year Floodplain, Lower Linda Mar, Pacifica, California.……………...………….11

5. Floodwall and Floodplain Plan – San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project …...…….14

6. Bypass Channel Plan – San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project.……..……..……...15

7. Wetland with Small or Large Culvert Plan – San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project………………………………………………………………………………..18

8. Barcena’s 1835 Map for Rancho San Pedro Land Grant…...…..……………..…..….42

9. DeHaro’s 1838 Map for Rancho San Pedro Land Grant…….....……………………43

10. San Pedro Creek Watershed, 1853.…………..…….…………………………..…...45

11. San Pedro Creek Watershed, 1896.….……………………………………………...48

12. San Pedro Creek Watershed, 1943..………………………………………………...53

13. San Pedro Valley, 1956….…………………………………………………………....56

14. Extent of 1982 Flood……………………………………….………………………..71

–  –  –

1. Palm’s Integrative Framework for Evaluating Hazard Response.……………………33

2. Key Elements Influencing San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project after 1962 Flood………….…...…………….……………………………………………………65

3. Key Elements Influencing San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project after 1972 Flood………….…...…………….……………………………………………………69

4. Key Elements Influencing San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project after 1982 Flood………….…...…………….……………………………………………………74

5. Revised Integrative Framework with New Sub-Level.……………………………...138

–  –  –

1. San Pedro Valley, Lower Linda Mar, Looking East, Spring 2002……………………...6

2. San Pedro Valley, Looking ESE, Spring 2002………………………………………….6

3. San Pedro Valley, 1915………………...……………………………………...……...49

4. Northwestern San Pedro Valley, Looking NE, c. 1910s-1920s……………………...52

5. New Floodplain and Stream Channel, Looking NE, March 2001…………………..121

6. New Floodplain and Stream Channel, Looking NW, March 2001………………....121

7. Vegetated Floodplain with San Pedro Creek in New Channel, Looking East, Summer 2003…………...…………………………………………………………...122

8. Vegetated Floodplain with San Pedro Creek in New Channel, Looking East, Summer 2003……………………………………………………………………….122

9. New Floodplain, Looking NW toward Ocean, May 2004…………………………123

10. San Pedro Creek Flowing through New Floodplain, Looking Upstream, May 2004..………………………………………………………………………………..123

11. New Floodplain, Looking Upstream, May 2004……………………………………124

12. New Floodplain in Foreground, Homes behind Berm in Background, Looking NE, May 2004………………………………………………………………………124

–  –  –

14. Future Site of Coastal Lagoon, Looking Upstream, March 2001…….……………127

15. New Coastal Lagoon, Looking South, May 2004………………………………….128

16. San Pedro Creek Flowing under San Pedro Terrace Road Bridge (and Highway One), May 2004……………………………...……….…………………..128

17. New Coastal Lagoon and San Pedro Creek Near Creek Mouth, Looking South, May 2004……………………………………………...…………………….129

18. New Coastal Lagoon and San Pedro Creek Flowing into Pacific Ocean, May 2004…………………………………………………………………………...129

–  –  –

1. Appendix A: Alternatives Considered in 1973-1975 Section 205 Flood Control Project……………………………………………………………………..157

2. Appendix B: Flood Control Recommendations from Philip Williams & Associates, 1985…………………………………………………………………….158

3. Appendix C: Solutions Considered by San Pedro Flood Control Committee, 1985..…………………………………………………………….……159

–  –  –

CDFG California Department of Fish and Game City/city City of Pacifica Corps U.S. Army Corps of Engineers EIR Environmental Impact Report (California) EIS Environmental Impact Statement (Federal)

–  –  –

The San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project is a response to the flood hazard along San Pedro Creek in Pacifica, California. This response reflects a series of interactions between and among many different elements at different levels (macro, meso, and micro) within the specific environment of the San Pedro Creek Watershed.

Understanding the influences of these elements and interactions provides insight into why and how the hazard response developed and potential issues to address in future responses. Many different individuals, groups, organizations, and policies influenced the planning and development of the San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project, including city staff, local residents, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the environmental movement. The goals, values, and experiences of individuals acting in intermediary or meso-level roles significantly influenced the flood control project by guiding an individual’s action within their meso-level role.

Overview Located several miles south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast, Pacifica has experienced repeated flooding along the lower reaches of San Pedro Creek (Map 1).

Since the urbanization of San Pedro Valley in the early 1950s, major floods have occurred in 1962, 1972, and 1982. The 1982 flood alone impacted almost 200 residential and commercial structures, causing over $5 million in damage

Kelsey McDonald - Thesis 1

MAP 1. San Pedro Creek Watershed, Pacifica, California. Source: Jerry Davis 2004.

(USACE and City 1998a, 7). Over the last few decades, the San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project responded to this flood hazard with a plan to alter a lower reach of San Pedro Creek.

Pacifica is just one of many communities dealing with a flood hazard. The average annual property damage due to flooding (riverine and coastal) in the U.S.

exceeded $1 billion as of 1993 (FEMA 1993), but severe flooding in the Midwest in 1993 alone caused an estimated $12-$16 billion in damage (Interagency Floodplain Management Review Committee 1994). Given the still increasing damages due to natural hazards worldwide (Tobin and Montz 1997), natural hazards research continues to be of essential importance for exploring ways to mitigate potential hazard damages, 60 years after Gilbert White’s initial research into the flood hazard (White 1945).



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