O.C. wants to improve a crucial flood control channel; Huntington Beach planners weigh in Tuesday

Children ride alongside the East Garden Grove Wintersburg flood channel, at left. The Huntington Beach Planning Commission will consider possible improvements to the channel Tuesday.
(File Photo)

Structural improvements to a crucial flood control channel in Huntington Beach will be considered Tuesday by the Planning Commission.

The Orange County Flood Control District is proposing enhancements to the structural integrity of the East Garden Grove Wintersburg channel, which carries runoff from cities including Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

The channel runs through Huntington Beach to the ocean, traversing the sensitive Bolsa Chica wetlands.

Commissioners will be considering whether the county’s proposed improvements, installing sheet pile walls in the channel between Graham and Goldenwest streets, conform to the city’s general plan, a city staff report says. State code requires regional agencies to get approval from cities before public works projects can be carried out.

The sheet pile walls will allow for the future removal of the current earthen slopes that are subject to erosion. The improvements are part of a larger structural upgrade to the channel, the report says.

In May, the county was granted approval from the commission to install a debris collection system in the flood channel to prevent trash from polluting the Bolsa Chica wetlands or the ocean.

The channel was one of several earthen channels built in the 1950s.

In 2007, county supervisors declared a local emergency when a deteriorating levee in the Huntington Beach channel was feared to pose a serious flooding threat to hundreds of nearby homes. A $10-million repair project ensued.

In the past, activists have said the failure of the flood banks in a severe storm could cause significant damage to the Bolsa Chica wetlands.

The commission meeting is slated for 7 p.m. at the Civic Center Council Chambers at 2000 Main St.