City warns of flood risks at Camps Scott, Scudder

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power flood plain map projects a Bouquet Dam breach scenario. LADWP photo

The Santa Clarita City Council sent a letter Monday citing a potential dam break as a significant factor in the city’s opposition to the proposed use of Camps Scott and Scudder in Saugus as long-term facilities for violent juvenile offenders.  

Seven maps attached to the letter show the Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Ad-Hoc Subcommittee (JJRBG), the letter’s recipient, the areas that would flood if the Bouquet Dam – located 12 miles upstream from Camps Scott and Scudder – broke.  

“It is likely that the safety and wellbeing of those inside Camps Scott and Scudder could be in severe danger,” wrote Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda on behalf of the City Council. “Specifically, Camp Scott is projected to be inundated with approximately 26 feet of water within 50 minutes of breach in the Bouquet Dam.” 

The letter cited area mining activities and wildfire as contributors to the increased severity of the damage caused by debris flow following a potential dam failure. Miranda wrote that environmental review of the proposed plan, along with community outreach, will be “critical” for assessing the suitability of the facilities. 

“Had a proper environmental document been performed, many of these issues would have surfaced as part of a larger analysis of the appropriate use of this location and would clearly indicate that Camps Scott and Scudder are unsafe and unsuitable for the proposed use included in the (Department of Juvenile Justice) Plan,” he wrote. 

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power maps – modeled in 2018 – project that the flood wave from a potential dam breach would reach Camp Joseph Scott in 50 minutes at a peak speed of 15 feet per second.  

Five minutes later the wave would reach Camp Kenyon Scudder, which would be inundated with 3 feet of water, at a velocity of 3 feet per second. The flood waters would proceed down Bouquet Canyon Road to the Santa Clara River through Valencia, then along the riverbed to the Pacific Ocean in Ventura County. 

The city’s letter stated that the county has until Jan. 1, 2022, to submit a final plan to the state. 

“It is critical that this committee utilize the balance of the remaining time, prior to the deadline, to ensure that the decisions made on the transition of DJJ youth is in the best interest of the youth served in the facilities and surrounding communities near the facilities,” Miranda wrote. 

Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to delay a decision on using Camps Scott and Scudder until at least late September.  

The board’s motion, proposed by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, asked county staff to investigate using all possible sites to house violent juvenile offenders in Los Angeles County. 

In May, the JJRBG recommended moving all juvenile offenders to the two Saugus facilities located in Bouquet Canyon.   

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