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Construction efforts to begin on storm-damaged Arroyo Grande Creek

Arroyo Grande levee
Posted at 10:07 PM, Sep 08, 2023

Efforts are in place to repair the Arroyo Grande Creek levee after it was damaged by the series of heavy rains this past winter.

Friday afternoon, we caught up with several Oceano neighbors who remember January’s rain like it happened yesterday.

“It is wonderful, beautiful here, but in the winter, it does flood,” said Yolanda Garcia who lives in Oceano.

“You had to stay home; you couldn’t really go anywhere,” added Aaron Martinez. “I knew a lot of people who had the evacuation or whatever, but it didn’t affect me none.”

 Oceano woman Shelly Prindle meanwhile, says she felt those impacts firsthand. She says she has been homeless since the January 9th storm completely washed out her RV.

“There was nothing left. Totally washed out, still back there. I have only been back there once, maybe twice. But I lost everything back there,” Prindle told KSBY.

Prindle says she was one of the dozens of Oceano residents who had to evacuate their homes after the south levee of the Arroyo Grande Creek overflowed and flooded the area.

 “There was no control,” Prindle recalled. “I normally live in a flood area. I built it up high with sand tires and doing it right. But, when the water broke loose from the top up here, it flooded everything.”

Prindle says she worries that another heavy storm could cause even more damage to the area.

Meanwhile, officials with the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department say on Monday, they will begin Phase One of their construction on the Arroyo Grande Creek, which should continue over the coming months.

 “It is really important, especially since people were losing their homes and RVS. I think it is important to get things back to normal,” Martinez said.

“If they got in and took out all the debris, it would be good,” said Shelly Prindle.

County leaders say Phase One of their construction will entail the removal of vegetation and sediment in the channel to restore its capacity back to its conditions before the storms.

Officials with the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District add that Phase Two will consist of repairs to the damaged levee that were caused by over-topping and seepage from the heavy winter storms.