September 15, 2023


SANTA ANA, CA — Today, following the release of a draft supplemental environmental assessment of the Santiago Creek flood control project from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Representative Lou Correa (CA-46) released the below statement: 

“I appreciate the Corps for releasing this environmental assessment today, and for ensuring my constituents remain aware of the issues that matter most in their community,” Correa said. “However, I remain concerned not only about the cost-effectiveness of and need for the proposed work in my district—which was originally requested by the County of Orange decades ago—but the negative impact its completion may have on the neighborhoods surrounding Santiago Creek as well.”

The release of this environmental assessment begins a 60-day public comment period—extended from the standard 30-days per the request of Rep. Correa in a letter he penned to the Corps in July, in which he also highlighted that “[a] groundswell of opposition toward the project, especially from residents living in the most impacted neighborhoods that run from I-5 to the Santa Ana River, continues to grow.” In the same letter, Correa thanked the Corps for agreeing to host another public forum at his request, and requested a meeting with Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellmon, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the Corps, to specifically convey community concerns. 

“My constituents and I understand the need for flood control measures in our neighborhoods, and in fact, many of my constituents have proposed alternative solutions that deserve serious consideration,” Correa continued. “Thus far, their thoughtful ideas, including expanding basins and reservoirs upstream of the Creek, are non-starters with the Corps—and it is incredibly disappointing. I will continue to make sure I represent the people of Santa Ana and be their voice at the table—and I urge every member of the Santa Ana community to make their voices heard during the public comment period, just as I will.”

In March, Rep. Correa also sent a letter to Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Jessie Lopez, highlighting that “it appears the meager flood control benefits of this project do not justify the exorbitant costs,” continuing that “[t]he negative impacts of the project on residences adjacent to the Creek do not justify the proposed major construction project.”

Per Correa’s request, a public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 2, 2023, at the County Conference Center located at 601 N. Ross Street, Santa Ana, California 92701. The meeting will provide the public an opportunity to submit verbal and/or written comments on the adequacy of the draft environmental documents. Additional information on the public meeting will be available on the Orange County Public Works website

BACKGROUND: Congress authorized the Santiago Creek Project as part of the Santa Ana River Mainstem (Mainstem) project in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 to provide flood control protection. In 1989, the Corps entered the initial cooperation agreement with the local sponsors, including the County of Orange. In the Balanced Budget Act of 2018, Congress directed the Corps to complete several projects, including the Mainstem project with 100% cost-share borne by the federal government.

The Mainstem project crosses three counties and includes several features, including Santiago Creek. The proposed work at the Creek between I-5 and the Santa Ana River is part of the last project to be completed as part of the Mainstem project.