PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Flood Control District of Maricopa County hosted the annual Arizona Flood Control District Directors meeting Nov. 14.
In all, 15 counties were invited to the event that featured presentations and discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
"What I was most pleased to hear is that the Corps is listening to its project partners," said Michael Fulton, FCDMC director. "And, is making some real improvements to the 408 permitting process - improvements that speed processing times without sacrificing the quality of the product."
Section 408 ensures that the Congressionally-authorized benefits of a USACE project are not undermined by an alteration made by others, and that the alteration is not injurious to the public interest.
"Most of all, there is no substitute to establishing personal relationships with our Corps and Arizona [Flood] district partners," added Fulton. "These meetings help us all keep those relationships strong."
This annual meeting, similar to one held with seven Southern California agencies, discussed common interest issues like emergency assistance procedures, regulatory programs and permitting.
"This is a great opportunity for us to get to know the staff at the Corps ... that we deal with on our projects," said Kelli Sertich, FCDMC branch manager for policy, planning and coordination. "The overview of processes and new items from the Corps is valuable and then gives us a chance to ask questions when it’s being presented."
Col. Aaron Barta, District commander, toured several project sites and visited with municipalities and agencies during his four-day stay.
"The biggest take away is that the Los Angeles District is more than just LA," said Barta. "We are equally the Arizona District."
Barta made his first extended visit to Arizona since taking command July 19.
"Seeing the ground enables me to better advocate on behalf of the people within the flood plains," added Barta. "It also allows me to visualize what our proposals may look like in the decades to come."