County of Santa Barbara flood control manager Jim Stubchaer (second from right) | Credit: Anika Duncan

During his years as flood control manager for the County of Santa Barbara, Jim Stubchaer built 13 debris basins on the South Coast and participated in the response to floods and debris flows between 1962 and 1989. To honor Stubchaer’s legacy — unquestionable but mostly overlooked in everyday life — his colleagues, friends, family, and county officials gathered at the foot of Mission Creek on Monday morning to unveil a plaque that described his achievements.

Near the creek where it flows beneath State Street, the small crowd took turns describing Stubhcaer as a brilliant engineer whose dedication to his work reflected his care for the people of Santa Barbara and the county itself. Stubchaer retired in 1989, but during his long tenure, he was a first responder on the debris flows that followed the Coyote Fire in 1964, a week-long storm event in 1969, and the Romero Fire in 1971. He also oversaw the design and construction of more than a dozen debris basins in the South County foothills, while also promoting financial stability in the district by maintaining sustainable cost recovery policies.

Stubchaer was instrumental with the construction of the Central Coast Aqueduct and the development of the 1.3-mile Lower Mission Creek Flood Control Project. The recently completed project sections located near the railroad station prevented flooding during the massive storms of this past winter.

First District Supervisor Das Williams and Public Works Director Scott McGolpin were in attendance to express their appreciation to Stubchaer and his lasting impact on the county. In their remarks, they said the permanent plaque will forever pay tribute to a man who worked selflessly for the betterment of the community.


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