California’s rivers have bestowed many gifts – water, abundant agriculture, transportation, recreation and wildlife – and have shaped our history. But we haven’t always treated our rivers well in return. In the first 150 years of statehood, Californians built thousands of miles of levees that eliminated natural floodplains and reduced Central Valley wetlands by 95 percent.
ProPublica and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting hired engineers at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to build a physical model of four levee scenarios to see how levee height and placement choices can put surrounding communities on the floodplain — the low-lying land near river channels — at greater risk of flooding.
If 200-year flood protection isn’t secured — or at least a financial and implementation plan in place by July 1, 2016 — development of the Great Wolf Resort and family entertainment zone, The Trails at Manteca, and other residential projects in southwest Manteca won’t take place.
“A major roadblock to completion of critical levee repairs in Sacramento’s Natomas basin was cleared Tuesday when President Barack Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act into law.”
“In Congress, seniority still matters. Although lawmakers can no longer earmark funds for home-state projects, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has written into a massive water bill a measure that promises to bring more money to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.”
“The House passed the closest thing so far this year to an infrastructure bill – a $12 billion-plus bipartisan measure authorizing 34 water projects, ranging from flood protection in California and North Dakota to deepening the Port of Savannah and widening a Texas-Louisiana waterway that services the oil industry.”
“The House of Representatives, on a vote of 412-4, approved legislation to move an array of Sacramento-area flood control projects forward, concluding [Rep. Doris] Matsui’s nearly four-year quest for the bill.”