Oak Creek Area Slowly Recovers From Flood Disaster

Six months ago, a torrent of rain washed a huge flood down the Oak Creek canyons north and west of Independence. The deluge brought down a major mudslide through Mt. Whitney Hatchery, the Oak Creek residential area and onto Highway 395. The recovery has inched along.

The disaster destroyed dozens of homes and the hatchery race ways for trout. Since then, Caltrans and DWP have worked to clean up the mess and manage the unruly waters of Oak Creek.

They diverted the north fork to keep too much water out of the stream bed to avoid more damage. This week, Caltrans, DWP and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office removed the diversion and let the waters flow free down hill.

Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio reported to the supervisors that the Department of Water Resources had checked the situation and determined there was no immediate danger to removal of the diversion structure.

The water coursed back down hill and Carunchio said that property owners and others should watch for results. He said that a continued Declaration of Local Emergency would help keep a handle on the situation.

The Board voted unanimously to continue that declaration.


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