Following one of the largest wildfires in California’s history, water supplies across Northern and Central California became at-risk for millions due to the 2013 Rim Fire in the Sierra Nevada region, including Turlock Irrigation District’s Don Pedro Reservoir which suffered damage due to washed down silt and debris.
As a long term restoration process continues to be underway through the U.S. National Forest Service, state funded disaster assistance has been made available to several districts that were affected by the Rim Fire, including TID who has been working alongside state agencies to receive financial support.
In a recent meeting, the TID Board of Directors appointed staff members Wes Monier, Jason Carkeet and John Perry as their designated authorized agents to provide assistance to the California Office of Emergency Services for all matters pertaining to the Rim Fire as the district seeks state reimbursements for the incurred damages.
“The Rim Fire burned a significant portion of the Tuolumne watershed, altering the way in which runoff drains into the river and eventually the Don Pedro Reservoir,” explained TID spokesperson Calvin Curtin. “Although recovery is underway, the damaged landscape will continue to affect the watershed for years to come.”
Although TID co-owns the Don Pedro Reservoir with the Modesto Irrigation District, TID functions as the reservoir operator, making the district responsible for seeking the state disaster assistance. To date, TID has incurred costs of approximately $167,000 for staff time, equipment, labor and signage due to the damage at the Don Pedro Reservoir.
“Since TID provides critical irrigation water to area growers, we are looking for assistance in protecting this valuable asset,” said Curtin.
According to TID staff, the $167,000 in costs is eligible for partial reimbursement due to the wildfire, which has since been applied for through Cal OES. A report by Earth Economics for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission found the damages to the ecosystem and local economy due to the 2013 Rim Fire – which was started by a hunter’s illegal campfire – to be over an estimated $800 million.