SLO to conduct flood prevention work near LOVR bridge
City reportedly vulnerable to increased rain and flooding because of changing climate
– The City of San Luis Obispo will begin a two-week flood prevention project this month, where Los Osos Valley Road (LOVR) meets Highway 101, to kick off routine maintenance in this section of the San Luis Obispo Creek watershed.
Additional work will occur later in the year further west along LOVR where Prefumo Creek flows near the Laguna Lake Golf Course.
While San Luis Obispo does not regularly experience floods, the region has been impacted by flooding during extreme storms in the past. And according to a 2021 report assessing the city’s vulnerabilities to climate change, San Luis Obispo is vulnerable to increased rain and flooding because of a changing climate.
“More extreme weather and floods are occurring around the world because of a changing climate and we expect to see more extreme weather here in SLO as well,” said City Biologist Freddy Otte, who works in the City’s Office of Sustainability and Natural Resources. “The city is doing necessary work now to prevent flooding, keep creeks flowing, and ensure water is contained in our waterways in preparation for more intense storms and extreme weather events.”
The work starting this month will occur under the LOVR bridge and in nearby wooded areas where San Luis Creek and Prefumo Creeks converge. Some traffic delays could occur. Because LOVR is a major gateway and serves as an evacuation route in the event of extreme storms in San Luis Obispo, the city must regularly maintain this location to prevent it from flooding. It is at higher risk of flooding because the two creeks converge in that area.
The location near Highway 101 spans across both private and public property, and the city is working with private property owners for this project. The two-week project near LOVR bridge requires about three to four weeks of preparation because there are a significant number of encampments that need to be cleared out.
“We know there are a number of encampments in this area, both on public and private property, and we are helping affected community members camping there find alternative places to stay,” said City Homelessness Response Manager Kelsey Nocket. “The environmental conditions at these camps have gotten so bad that it will take several weeks to clean out the area in preparation for the flood prevention work that is needed. No one should have to live in such conditions and in a location that is at high risk of flooding during storms.”
The city is reportedly directing anyone displaced by this necessary work to 40 Prado Homeless Services Center as an alternative place to stay because it is open and ready to provide shelter and support.