H-NIPOMO

Dec 21, 2010 9:52 PM by Ariel Wesler

Neighbors blame construction fence for recent flooding

As people living in Nipomo prepare for next storm, some say a construction fence is partly responsible for blocking debris in the north creek, which caused major flooding on Sunday. Others say the debate surrounds who's responsible for the debris.

Dan Diaz is known as the "Nipomo Creek Dog." He keeps a watchful eye on the creek to make sure it flows smoothly. He says a construction fence blocked the debris.

"It caught the fence that the guys had across here to do the work and it backed up the water," Diaz said.

That flooded a triplex off Branch Street, east of Beechnut Avenue.

"All this debris right here they pulled out of the creek because it was also part of the problem," Diaz said.

A problem also affecting neighbors like Carlene Rowland a few doors down.

"The creek is almost level with my property. That's all silt and sand. . .so it's gonna be pretty scary with the next storm coming in," Rowland said.

But neighbors say the problem runs deeper. Rowland spent the morning picking up debris and blames nearby farmers for the mess.

"It's their debris from the farms and they just tend to let it go in the creek because it's not affecting them," Rowland said.

"We prune the trees every year, and we chop and mulch that in the orchard," said Rollie Cavaletto, who owns Cavaletto Ranch.

He says farmers in the area are responsible people and the only one to blame is mother nature.

"You get six inches at a time and it'll wash everything out," Cavaletto said.

With another storm approaching, neighbors are doing whatever they can to stay above water.

They say the culverts San Luis Obispo County Public Works installed are doing their job and have greatly reduced flooding in the area. The construction fence has been removed from the creek. The county says it will look into why it was left there.

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