Topic: Levees

Overview

Levees

California would not exist as it does today were it not for the extensive system of levees, weirs and flood bypasses that have been built through the years, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Levee breaches being repaired on swollen Mokelumne River near Lodi

A levee break reported Monday afternoon on the north bank of the Mokelumne River levee near Lodi is being filled while crews are sandbagging a second break on the river’s south bank, the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services reports.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Lost Slough levee breaks, but gets patched up for now

A levee partially broke late Thursday in the Delta region of south Sacramento County, but officials said the problem was mostly patched up by nightfall.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Storm surge: Levees under patrol as water problems in Delta grow

Flooding concerns intensified in the the Delta on Wednesday as huge volumes of water surged down creeks and streams into the low-lying river estuary.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

A new plan to protect homes from flash floods in the California desert

In the desert north of Interstate 10, channels carved into the sand by rushing water attest to the powerful floods than can suddenly sweep down from the Indio Hills during storms.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Commission fines island owner $772,00 for altering levees

A small-island owner already threatened with a $4.6 million fine by one state agency has been fined $772,000 by a state commission for changing levees and waterways to create a private kite surfing club for business executives.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Leaders vent frustration for long-delayed Pajaro River levee project

Outgoing Rep. Sam Farr addressed a 23-member panel bringing together local representatives from four counties, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, municipal flood control staff members and the two candidates running to replace him on Nov. 8, Casey Lucius and Jimmy Panetta. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Wallace Weir: A new beginning in California’s river management

A project to rebuild the Wallace Weir, a century-old levee northwest of Sacramento, could help both farmers and salmon. Bringing together a coalition of unlikely allies, it promises a more sophisticated approach to water management.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

$8.6 million contract will restore 770 acres as part of J Levee project

Since 1998 there have been slow but steady changes along the Sacramento River. … The next local project for River Partners involves the first phase of the J Levee project just south of Hamilton City.

Aquafornia news Yuba-Sutter Appeal-Democrat

Levee work to create 200-year flood protection

Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority is in the middle of a $7.2 million construction project to bring the Western Pacific Interceptor Canal levee to the 200-year flood protection level.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Natomas levee project ready to begin (with audio)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the go-ahead to begin a nine-part levee-improvement project for the Natomas Basin in Sacramento. … The levees are part of a system that diverts watershed runoff into the American River.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin planners earn plaudits for game to promote flood risk awareness

Staffers with the county’s public works department and Community Development Agency were recently recognized for their creative approach to engaging residents in a discussion on sea-level rise, earning a public outreach award from the state chapter of the American Planning Association for their creation — the board game the “Game of Floods.”

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

Blog: St. Helena, California — Dealing with a field-of-dreams levee, residual risk, and a flood of controversy

A new $37.2[1] million levee in the town of St. Helena, on the floodplain of the Napa River, has a colorful history and has been stirring local acrimony since its inception. … There are clearly positive elements of the St. Helena levee project, but also numerous missteps that have mired the project in dissent and even, opponents argue, threaten to bankrupt the town. With important planning and zoning decisions now pending, the St. Helena levee is a case study for other communities to examine before they consider all of the options for flood-risk management.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Levee ‘armoring’ along the American River Parkway draws concerns

Years of rumbling dump trucks and backhoes placing 2.75 million tons of rock “armor” along nearly a dozen miles of riverbank is an unpleasant thought for many who bike, jog, fish, bird-watch, golf, boat and swim along the lower American River Parkway.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Scientists say levees can increase flood risk and long-term damage (with audio)

New research shows people living behind levees on flood plains may have a greater risk of flood damage than if the levees had not been built. The research examined the long-term flood risk, probabilities of levee failures and resulting economic losses along the Mississippi River, but the science applies to levee systems worldwide.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama’s budget plan serves California some familiar fare

The $4.1 trillion spending plan offers familiar funding levels for border control, Central Valley levees, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta restoration and military base improvements.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sacramento levee repairs are in president’s proposed budget

Thirty-two-million dollars for Sacramento levees is in President Obama’s budget request for the next fiscal year and in the Army Corps of Engineers’  work plan for this year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

First-of-its-kind $12 parcel tax proposed for all nine Bay Area counties

In a milestone for San Francisco Bay restoration that also raises questions about who should pay to protect property from rising seas caused by climate change, a low-profile government agency is expected to place a $12 annual parcel tax on the June ballot in all nine Bay Area counties.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles River gets $3.6 million in emergency funding for flood prevention

Officials of the city, county and Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that there will be $3.6 million in emergency federal funding for flood prevention measures along the Los Angeles River following the first El Niño-related storms this week.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Los Angeles River banks to be raised for El Niño

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin work next week to temporarily raise the banks along nearly three miles of the Los Angeles River to improve flood protection during El Niño storms, officials announced Friday, just days after the watercourse roared to life during heavy rains.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Disaster officials brace for havoc from historic El Niño

Federal disaster officials warned Tuesday that El Niño-fueled storms in California could inflict millions of dollars in damage this winter — from mud-soaked homes to broken levees to downed electrical lines — and said they’re taking steps to minimize the toll.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

$8.5 million funds more levee work in Sutter County

The funds, from the Department of Water Resources’ Flood Systems Repair Program, will allow the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency to improve a section of levee near Laurel Avenue south of Star Bend, further expanding a multi-year project to raise the flood protection in urban and rural areas to 200- and 100-year levels, respectively.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Panel scrutinizes levee plan

A state plan to prioritize levee upgrades in the Delta is drawing criticism from independent scientists.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Q&A: Calif. is falling apart; here’s why

Steven P. Erie, a political science professor at UC San Diego, says that if California infrastructure were a student in his class, he’d give it an “F.” 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

#drylandsCA – A wildfire in front of us, drylands all around us

It’s one thing to read about crumbling water infrastructure, another to bump down a road, beneath water level, after freaky July rains in the middle (end? beginning?) of an epic drought.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Crews work to strengthen Feather River levees

Work is underway in Butte County to shore up Feather River levees that date back to the pioneer era.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Feather River levee repair work resumes (with audio)

After months of delay, work on a Feather River levee repair project north of Yuba City has resumed.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Flood plan comes at a cost

The plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calls for improving 23 miles of levees, from Mosher Slough in the north to French Camp Slough in the south. This is intended to protect much of Stockton from catastrophic floods worsened by climate change.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

SMART and state in property disagreement after levee break

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are involved in a dispute over a failed levee that is flooding sensitive wetlands near the Mira Monte Marina.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Yuba City officials lobby for levee funding in D.C.

Local officials took steps to acquire federal funding for the Feather River West Levee project during a lobbying trip last week to Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Controversial study to prioritize funding for Delta levees

Flooding may seem a distant threat at the moment, but that’s the subject of a meeting Monday as a state agency pushes forward with a study of which Delta levees should be first in line for future funding.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Indian burial sites put flood control agency between conflicting state and federal orders

The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency has been given another week to decide what to do with hundreds of Native American remains and artifacts dug up by construction crews last year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New campaign of levee work planned along Sacramento River

A massive new round of levee improvements is ahead for Sacramento over the next decade, this time focusing primarily on the Sacramento River south of downtown. … The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency unveiled the package of projects recently and are planning a series of public meetings in April.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Caring about Delta levees during a drought

When the sun is shining and our rivers are low, we tend to forget about levees. However, you can’t ignore the 1,100 miles of levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … This video is a simulation of what would happen if a severe earthquake hit the western Delta, causing widespread failure of levees. 

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Corps a no-show at meeting to settle dispute over Feather River levee project artifacts

The parties in a dispute over the fate of cultural materials discovered in Sutter County have expressed a willingness to solve the issue, but the path toward an agreement remains uncertain and time is short.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Status of Native Californians remains have levee work in limbo

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the [United Auburn Indian Community] UAIC disagree about the return of the items uncovered last summer during the Feather River West Levee project, even as both sides meet to resolve the issue.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Promise of protection surfaces on 20th anniversary of Pajaro flood

The debate over flood control raged for years before the Pajaro River gushed through a break in the levee at Murphy Crossing in the early morning hours of March 11, 1995.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Feds propose levee plan to protect Stockton

The federal government has released a long-awaited $800 million plan to protect Stockton from future floods, but the plan is not as ambitious as local officials would have liked.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sacramento River flood project has hope for more funding

Residents of Hamilton City have not left fear of flooding behind them. Yet, hopeful news was found in President Barack Obama’s federal budget.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Levee project gets $44 million

California has committed another $44 million to the Feather River West Levee project — not the entirety of the funding the project needs but enough for construction to continue unhindered in 2015.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Editorial: Natomas’ future

More than a decade ago, an SN&R writer interviewed Sacramento native Joan Didion about her then-new book, Where I Was From. Part of the conversation involved the development of Natomas, which Didion remembered fondly. “It was always so beautiful,” she said, “even when it was underwater.”

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Delta Stewardship Council accepts Delta Levee Investment Issue Paper

The Delta Levee Investment Strategy project is an 18-month multi-agency effort led by the Delta Stewardship Council to update priorities for state investments in Delta levees.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Build smarter in Natomas basin

The return of major construction in Natomas is finally on the horizon, thanks to the shoring up of levees protecting the basin from floods.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Feds poised to lift building moratorium in Natomas

Housing and commercial development could resume in Sacramento’s Natomas region as soon as June, more than six years after flood risks prompted the federal government to shut down construction.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Gov. Brown declares state of emergency in Marin, three other counties

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday declared a state of emergency for Marin, Mendocino, San Mateo and Ventura counties after a series of severe winter storms damaged roads and highways throughout the state.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose: Overwhelmed pumps led to Alviso flooding; residents say it’s a ‘wake-up call’

When the last big December storm was at its peak, overflowing storm drains and flash-flooding streets gave San Jose’s bayside community of Alviso an all-too-real reminder that if not for the levees and pumps, they’d be underwater.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Reconciling fish and fowl with floods and farming

Floodplains are extremely productive habitats for native fish and birds, yet floodplains in California are cut off from rivers by levees and development. … Recognizing these constraints, reconciliation ecology encourages land and water managers to re-engineer human-dominated landscapes to be more hospitable for native species without significantly diminishing human uses. California’s Yolo Bypass, an engineered floodplain on the Sacramento River, is an excellent case study of this new approach to native species conservation.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Gov. Jerry Brown touts water bond measure at Stanford summit

Gov. Jerry Brown pitched his plan Monday for a water bond and a rainy-day fund at a Stanford University water conference. … He called his water plan a “four-term effort.”

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Beetle remains an obstacle to fixing levees

Small half-inch to 1-inch beetles — or at least the bushes where they live — will continue to be a costly obstacle for those who maintain or fix Yuba-Sutter levees.

Video

Delta Warning

15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks, 16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.

Maps & Posters

Delta Sustainability Map
Published 2006

This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability. The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management
Updated 2009

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management explains the physical flood control system, including levees; discusses previous flood events (including the 1997 flooding); explores issues of floodplain management and development; provides an overview of flood forecasting; and outlines ongoing flood control projects. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2010

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.

Maps & Posters

The Delta Map
Released Oct. 2001

The Delta, convergence of California’s two great water delivery systems and major rivers is depicted in this 36×24 inch map. The map graphically depicts the importance of the Delta — what it is, where it is and how water flows through the area. The 2001 map now includes Delta waterways, pumping facilities and canals, Los Vaqueros Reservoir, and many proposed projects and studies in CALFED’s 2000 Record of Decision. 

Maps & Posters

California Water Map
Updated December 2016

A new look for our most popular product! (A perfect holiday gift for the water work in your life, order by Dec. 19 so it will be shipped in time for Christmas).

Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and manmade reservoirs and aqueducts - including federally, state and locally funded projects - the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Levees
Aquapedia background

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Levees

With the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta crucial to California’s overall water supply, roughly 1,115 miles of levees protect farms, cities, schools and people.

Since the 19th century, levees—from the French word ‘lever’, or ‘to raise’— have been erected to protect “reclaimed” marshland, popularly referred to as Delta islands. The levees were built to prevent flooding and allow cultivation of the rich soil while protecting public infrastructure such as highways and pipelines.

Levees
Aquapedia background

Levees

California would not exist as it does today were it not for the extensive system of levees, weirs and flood bypasses that have been built through the years, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

These levees have been in place dating back to 1850, when California first joined the union.

Western Water Magazine

Meeting the Co-equal Goals? The Bay Delta Conservation Plan
May/June 2013

This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying California’s long-term water supply reliability.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.

Western Water Magazine

Levees and Flood Protection: A Shared Responsibility
May/June 2012

This printed issue of Western Water discusses several flood-related issues, including the proposed Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, the FEMA remapping process and the dispute between the state and the Corps regarding the levee vegetation policy.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Levees and Flood Protections: A Shared Responsibility
May/June 2012

Levees are one of those pieces of engineering that are never really appreciated until they fail. California would not exist as it does today were it not for the extensive system of levees, weirs and flood bypasses that have been built through the years.

Western Water Magazine

Finding a Vision for the Delta
March/April 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the problems tied to the Delta.

Western Water Magazine

A Significant Challenge: Adapting Water Management to Climate Change
January/February 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines climate change – what’s known about it, the remaining uncertainty and what steps water agencies are talking to prepare for its impact. Much of the information comes from the October 2007 California Climate Change and Water Adaptation Summit sponsored by the Water Education Foundation and DWR and the November 2007 California Water Policy Conference sponsored by Public Officials for Water and Environmental Reform.

Western Water Magazine

It Can Happen Here: Assessing California’s Flood Risk
November/December 2005

This issue of Western Water examines the extent to which California faces a disaster equal to or greater than the New Orleans floods and the steps being taken to recognize and address the shortcomings of the flood control system in the Central Valley and the Delta, which is of critical importance because of its role in providing water to 22 million people. Complicating matters are the state’s skyrocketing pace of growth coupled with an inherently difficult process of obtaining secure, long-term funds for levee repairs and continued maintenance.

Western Water Magazine

Flood Management 2004: A System in Peril
September/October 2004

This issue of Western Water analyzes northern California’s extensive flood control system – it’ history, current concerns, the Paterno decision and how experts are re-thinking the concept of flood management.

Commands