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Emergency Channel Helps Keep Tijuana River Valley From Flooding

Audio

Aired 12/8/09

San Diego police are warning Tijuana River Valley residents to move their families and livestock to high ground before heavy rains begin again. The emergency drainage channel the city dug in the river valley helped prevent flooding.

San Diego police are warning Tijuana River Valley residents to move their families and livestock to high ground before heavy rains begin again. The emergency drainage channel the city dug in the river valley helped prevent flooding.

San Diego City work crews began digging an emergency drainage channel at the mouth of Smuggler's Gulch in the Tijuana River Valley in October. The goal was to help prevent flooding like last year's.

City workers still have about 600 feet to dig to finish the channel.

Ben McCue is with the conservation group Wildcoast, and he says the emergency drainage channel worked well. He spoke to KPBS from his cell phone while surveying storm damage in the river valley.

"The good news is that the Tijuana River Valley is not flooded and horses and property are safe. The flip side is that all that got washed through is all in the estuary or in the ocean."

McCue says a few feet of sediment collected in the channel. The bare berm, or dirt mound, the federal government left after building the border fence contributed to the build up.

McCue estimates the storm also washed more than 1,000 old car tires into the valley.

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