Housing funds available for Hill, Woolsey wildfire

The State of California has received approximately $492 million to assist in recovery efforts following the wildfires that ravaged parts of the state in 2017 and 2018.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated the monies from the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief to assist in rebuilding areas damaged or destroyed by the Hill and Woolsey fires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties as well as the Carr, Camp and Mendocino Complex wildfires, which affected Shasta, Butte and Lake Counties.

The state will allocate the funds to community groups that will decide what should be done to assist in the recovery effort.

The money comes as part of a larger, $1.5 billion recovery package, which includes funding for seven states hit by natural disasters in 2018, including hurricanes Michael and Florence, which affected Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina, respectively. Texas also received funding, due to severe flooding and storms, as did Hawaii, from severe flooding and storms and the eruption of the Kilauea volcano.

“Last year’s disasters left damaged homes, businesses and infrastructure in their wake,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “These recovery dollars will help the hardest-hit communities in these states and allow for residents to put their lives back together again.”

State shuts down El Rio well over safety concerns

On Friday, May 17, the State Water Resource Control Board asked the United Water Conservation District to assist with emergency water diversion to a neighborhood in El Rio after tests earlier in the week showed dangerous levels in nitrates in a water well that serves the community.

The well, operated by Vineyard Avenue Acres Mutual Water, serves 364 houses in the community north of Oxnard. On May 10, the State notified the company that the well needed to be shut down due to unsafe and elevated levels of nitrates.

United Water provided hoses to connect to a different well to provide water to the affected homes.

United Water says that the issue may have stemmed from being unable to divert water in the quantities required, adding that only 16,000 acre-feet of water was permitted to be diverted following heavy rains over the winter months.

The City of Oxnard released a statement, noting that the city’s water is not supplied by VAAMW and that it is “clean and safe” following concerns raised on social media. 

Candidates sought for Thousand Oaks open space agency

The City of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Recreation and Park District are seeking candidates interested in conserving open spaces and managing natural resources as part of the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency.

The agency, referred to as COSCA, helps to develop a “land management framework for the conservation of natural open space land areas” and assists with coordination of land use decisions as well as helping to achieve goals of the general plan regarding open spaces.

There is one open position with a term ending in July 2023.

To apply, applicants must be a city resident or reside within the CRPD boundary and will be required to file a Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Conflict of Interest Form 700 within 30 days of appointment and annually thereafter after thorough vetting.

For more information, visit www.toaks.org/committees. Application material may also be requested from the City Clerk Department, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks or by calling 805-449-2151.

Ventura County Disaster recovery plan adopted

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors have adopted a Disaster Recovery Plan in hopes of creating an efficient process following a major disaster in the county.

The plan, adopted on Tuesday, April 30, was created following the Thomas Fire. Reviews of county response to the disaster found that there existed a need for a comprehensive plan to guide recovery efforts following “extraordinary emergency situations.”

“When a disaster occurs, it is our duty to create order out of chaos,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “The plan includes a series of checklists that allow for the prompt formation of a recovery team. The checklists and the remainder of the plan provide a ‘roadmap’ for establishing a recovery team, integrating with other jurisdictions and working with incident teams and state and federal recovery teams.”

Hazardous materials, debris removal, as well as assistance for housing, financial and mental health services are included in the plan.

For the latest information on disasters in Ventura County, visit www.readyventuracounty.org.