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 Marin Independent Journal

Marin County seeks flood tax in Santa Venetia

Marin County flood planners are turning to Santa Venetia voters to help pay for an estimated $6 million project to upgrade the timber-reinforced berm that protects hundreds of homes from overtopping tides.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Over $1M in grants secured for Kings River improvements

The Kings River Conservation District, along with co-applicant Tulare Lake RCD, received this grant to help remove invasive species and debris from levees and riverbank along the Kings River, improve water flow, strengthen flood protection, increase carbon capture, and improve delivery of clean water to downstream users.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Department of Conservation awards grant for Kings River improvements

The Corcoran-based Tulare Lake RCD and co-applicant Kings River Conservation District, based in Fresno, were awarded $1,165,644 for the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project. With this grant, the partners will remove invasive species and debris from the 2,500 acres of levees and riverbank…

Aquafornia news Central Coast Public Radio

King tides project documenting a rising sea level future

“King tides are about one-to-two feet higher than an average tide, and it turns out that is about what we expect to see in California in the next few decades from sea level rise,” said Annie Cohut Frankel of the California Coastal Commission. “We invite the public to look at how these high tides are impacting our public beaches, our beach access ways, wetlands, roads and other coastal infrastructure.”

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Ignoring mega-flood risk — like California did with wildfire prevention — may spell disaster, experts say

Scientists expect flooding to get worse because weather extremes are growing as the climate crisis worsens globally, said UCLA Climate Scientist Daniel Swain. … Waiting to systematically address flooding issues, like California’s done with wildfire, could mean breaching of levees, Central Valley wide flooding and even flooding in areas like Los Angeles as the climate crisis worsens, said Swain.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: USGS unveils mobile flood tool for the nation

The U.S. Geological Survey announced the completion of a new mobile tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather and flood forecasts all in one place on a computer, smartphone or other mobile device. The new USGS National Water Dashboard, or NWD, provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers and the public…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

New law adds resources to combat invasive nutria

A bill that would send federal help to California and other states looking to eradicate an invasive swamp rodent has been signed into law.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Nutria — they’re big, buck-toothed and chew up California wetlands. Now feds add money to fight them

The pesky 3-foot-long, buck-toothed nutria is getting the better of California. The large rodent is chewing up rivers and wetlands and threatening to mow down farmland and infrastructure, and the state is struggling to contain it.  Relief may be on the way.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Is ecosystem change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta outpacing the ability of science to keep up?

Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean. Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers look to plant more rice acreage in the Delta

Now in its second year, a long-term project intends to learn whether rice farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta can succeed economically while helping to preserve the region’s uniquely carbon-rich peat soils.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato bayside levee project nears completion

Working over the last year, construction crews expect to complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres, or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had been diked and drained for agriculture and development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Aquafornia news E&E News

FEMA ends policy favoring flood walls over green protections

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a dramatic step to encourage communities to use environmentally friendly features such as wetlands for flood protection instead of building sea walls and levees.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Big infrastructure bill ‘isn’t dead’ as WRDA talks heat up

A high-stakes Supreme Court confirmation and COVID-19 negotiations may be the focus on Capitol Hill, but a sprawling water infrastructure bill is still advancing quickly behind the scenes.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Redwood City salt ponds subject to environmental protections, judge rules

A federal judge ruled Monday that a sprawling collage of salt ponds in Redwood City is subject to protection under the Clean Water Act — going against a previous decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that would have eased development along the bay.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Congress passes Harder bill aimed at invasive rodent

Congress has given final approval to a bill that would take on nutria, a giant rodent threatening waterways in the Central Valley and beyond. … The measure, HR 3399, would provide $12 million to California and several other affected states for nutria control, research and related efforts.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Can steelhead trout return to the L.A. River?

Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and California condor. This time, the species teetering on the edge of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a freeway.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Mega fires and floods: New extremes require a response of similar scale

Californians are understandably focused on the wildfires that have charred more than 3 million acres and darkened our skies – forcing us to find masks that protect us from both COVID-19 and smoke. But Californians should also pay attention to the multiple hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast this season. These disasters have much in common.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

How Measure AA funds are restoring the bay

Assessments of the worst-case scenario predict the Bay may rise a damaging 1.9 feet by 2050 and as much as nearly 7 feet by 2100. Restoring even a fraction of the Bay’s lost wetlands would provide long-lasting benefits.

Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Alameda to seek wetland park funding

The proposed ecological wetland park at Alameda Point, known as DePave Park, is another step closer to becoming a reality. On Sept. 15, four members of the city council gave thumbs up to moving forward with seeking a $2 million grant to pay for a master planning process.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The Gulf hurricane is a call to action to protect Californians from catastrophic floods

No California communities are more shaped by water than those in the Delta.  Water surrounds communities like Stockton.  Water shaped our history and still shapes our economy, quality of life, culture, and is essential for a healthy environment.  And for our communities, water-related disasters are devastating. We see proof of that every day.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

S.F.’s Embarcadero could be devastated by earthquakes and rising seas, study warns

The Embarcadero faces severe threats, with regionwide repercussions from both earthquakes that could undermine the city’s seawall and a rise in bay waters that could flood downtown streets and inundate BART and Muni tunnels, according to an exhaustive new study from the Port of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 considers flood control system overhaul

Zone 7 Water Agency’s failed flood control system needs a total revamp from the ground up, according to a consultant hired by the agency. The system can’t be saved by adding touches here and there. It will need a whole new rethinking, and will be expensive, said Eric Nagy, a principal with the firm Larsen, Wurzel & Associates in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Americans back tough limits on building in fire and flood zones

Americans support far more aggressive government regulation to fight the effects of climate change than elected officials have been willing to pursue so far, new research shows, including outright bans on building in flood- or fire-prone areas — a level of restrictiveness almost unheard-of in the United States…in California and elsewhere, officials continue to approve development in areas hit by fires.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Judge says owner of Suisun Bay island broke law

The owner of a Suisun Bay island violated the federal Clean Water Act when he destroyed marshland by building a levee and dumping dredged material while building duck-hunting ponds, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The ruling is the latest in a years-long battle between regulators and John Sweeney, who owns an island in Suisun Bay, a tidal channel and marsh area northeast of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Wetlands project moves forward

On Aug. 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a service contract to Adanta, Inc. of Napa to expand and enhance an existing wetlands on the Veterans Affairs (VA) property at Alameda Point. The wetlands project is being implemented to offset impacts to wetlands areas elsewhere on the VA property where a health clinic, offices and a columbarium cemetery will be built.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Franks Tract planners seek comments on final restoration proposal

Residents have until Wednesday to comment on a proposal for restoring Franks Tract, a 3,000-acre flooded island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, to marshlands. … The preferred concept that’s emerged after several public meetings would restore about 1,000 acres to tidal marsh habitat and deepen other areas to provide fill for the marsh. Community concerns regarding navigation and recreation would also be addressed…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

U.S. flood strategy shifts to ‘unavoidable’ relocation of entire neighborhoods

This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency detailed a new program, worth an initial $500 million, with billions more to come, designed to pay for large-scale relocation nationwide. … On the other side of the country, California has told local governments to begin planning for relocation of homes away from the coast.

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Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Major real estate website now shows flood risk. Should they all?

Realtor.com has become the first site to disclose information about a home’s flood risk and how climate change could increase that risk in the coming decades, potentially signaling a major shift in consumers’ access to information about climate threats.

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Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Major California water agencies partner with Scripps to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Monday it is partnering with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management before, during and after those seasonal storms. [The other affiliates are: Irvine Ranch Water District, Orange County Water District, Sonoma Water, Turlock Irrigation District, and Yuba Water Agency.]

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Aquafornia news SFGate.com

California’s war against nutria is getting bloodier. But it’s unclear who’s winning

Because the invasive 20-pound rodents pose a unique threat to California’s wetlands, the state has expanded the Nutria Eradication Program over the past year to a staff of 26 field operatives 100% dedicated to exterminating the swamp rat. Unlike just about everything else in the state, the war against nutria has been almost entirely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

WRDA 2020 may have to wait until lame duck

A new Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA, has made headway in Congress, most recently with House passage of a bill authorizing about $9 billion for Army Corps of Engineers flood and storm protection, environmental restoration and other projects. But with time running short before Congress breaks for the Nov. 3 elections, industry sources say water infrastructure legislation may be put off until an expected lame duck session.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Fish surveys in the estuary: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

The San Francisco Estuary is a dynamic and altered estuary that supports a high diversity of fishes, both native and non-native. … Since the 1950s, various agencies and UC Davis have established long-term surveys to track the status of fish populations. These surveys help scientists understand how fishes are responding to natural- and human-caused changes to the Estuary.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sea level rise could bring flooding to inland California

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, yet a world away from San Francisco, in an unincorporated and oft-overlooked area known as Marin City, sea level rise is rarely the first worry that comes to mind. Traditional flood maps for this predominantly Black and working-class community suggest that the area is safe from rising water until 3 feet or more. But sea level rise is a lot more complicated than just waves breaking over seawalls and beaches disappearing.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy, and Central Valley Flood Protection Plan updates

At the July meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, councilmembers heard briefings on the activities of the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Conservancy, and an update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara Valley Water District seeks $682 million parcel tax

After years marked by a historic statewide drought and devastating floods around downtown San Jose, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider has decided to ask voters to approve a parcel tax to pay for a wide variety of projects, from flood control to creek restoration, along with some costs of rebuilding the county’s largest dam at Anderson Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Focus on COVID might hamper state’s push against rising sea

The state will suffer dire long-term consequences if lawmakers set aside concerns about rising seas to focus solely on COVID-19, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warned Monday. Sea level rise will likely put at least $8 billion in property underwater by 2050, and could affect tens of thousands of jobs and billions in gross domestic product, according to studies cited by the office. Sea level rise and related flooding and erosion … also pose threats to water treatment plants, roads, marinas, ports and railways.

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Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Cache Creek flood control continues advancing

The effort is part of an overall plan to develop a Lower Cache Creek flood study through the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the California Department of Water Resources. And despite any objections to the project, it may be more than five years before the first spadeful of earth is turned to build the barrier.

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein, Kennedy introduce legislation to eradicate nutria

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) to introduce legislation to amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act. The legislation would authorize an additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states that implement initiatives to eradicate the invasive species.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wide-ranging water infrastructure bill easily passes House

Legislation authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to boost the nation’s water infrastructure, protect waterways from emerging contaminants, and bolster coastal shorelines sailed through the House Wednesday. On a voice vote, the House used a procedure reserved for mostly non-controversial legislation to pass the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020…

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Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Spellmon confirmed as Army Corps next chief

The Senate has confirmed Maj. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon as the Army’s 55th Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the Corps of Engineers, elevating him to one of the most crucial infrastructure-related positions in the federal government.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: High and rising: Flood risk in California grows

FEMA maps show that roughly 500,000 California properties are at substantial likelihood of flooding, with a 1% chance of being flooded in any given year. The study found that more than twice that amount—1.1 million properties—are already at this level of risk, and that an additional 150,000 properties will join them in the next 30 years, mainly because of rising seas.

Aquafornia news Rep. John Garamendi

News release: Garamendi secures wins for Delta and Central Valley in Water Resources Development Act

“I secured provisions in this bill to authorize and expedite construction of flood protection and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects, address harmful algal blooms in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and give local agencies greater flexibility in using federal Army Corps funds to meet local needs.”

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: House panel approves major water infrastructure measure

A multibillion-dollar measure that would help build, repair, and maintain a wide variety of water infrastructure projects sailed through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday. Approved unanimously by voice vote, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (H.R. 7575) would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers every two years to carry out specific projects and feasibility studies.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Can we talk? New nationwide flood maps provide opportunities for dialogue

For 50 years, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have unintentionally stifled conversations of flood risk. They have encouraged property-owners and governments at all levels to dwell on map details for one static event, rather than flood risks for a range of events… Now, First Street Foundation has released a new tool that can change how these conversations develop…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: New data reveals hidden flood risk across America

Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat… That new calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally, estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million shown on federal government flood maps. [See the map to explore county flood risk in California and the West.]

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Foster City levee nearly $20 million over budget

Voters approved a $90 million general obligation bond for the project in 2018, and construction was supposed to be complete by December of this year. Now officials are expecting the project to cost about $109 million and not be complete until September 2023.

Aquafornia news The Press

Franks Tract project sponsors seek input

The project — managed jointly by California Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Parks and Recreation — seeks to make changes in Franks Tract with the goal of improving water quality, providing enhanced recreational opportunities and improving the ecology for the benefit of native and desirable wildlife.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Forty miles of creek, six adaptation projects

As winter rains intensify with climate change, flooding will worsen in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s largest by population… The Coyote Creek system — 1,500 miles of waterways that drain a 350-square-mile watershed — connects half a dozen elements that are key to climate adaptation, from reservoirs to creek confluences to the Bay shore.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Sinking islands capture carbon credits

Encouraged by a recently vetted new method for creating carbon offsets from wetlands, a flurry of new climate adaptation projects on publicly owned islands strewn along the central Delta corridor aim to defend against sea-level rise, restore habitat, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Blog: Reach O levee work is underway!

Work has started on the Reach O levee improvements! The project will improve seepage and stability requirements within two miles of Eastside Bypass levees to allow for higher Restoration Flows.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Palo Alto Tide Gates, which prevent flooding in low-lying areas on Peninsula, to be replaced

Driving on Highway 101 from the South Bay, up the Peninsula, commuters zoom by nearly invisible infrastructure keeping the highway and nearby communities dry. Beyond the highway, at the edge of the San Francisco Bay, are levees and tide gates protecting roads and neighborhoods against high tides and storm flooding. Unless you visit the bay lands to walk the levee trails, you might never know these important structures exist.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

The $120m question: Paying for flood work

Existing residents in the 200-year-flood zone are not off the hook when it comes to paying for more robust protection. … That’s because fees assessed on new growth — homes, commercial and industrial concerns — being built in the flood zone only will cover a third of the bill.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Green infrastructure can be cheaper, more effective than dams

Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and state governments should heed those findings and increase funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and “living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.

Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Grimes receiving grant under flood risk protection program

Grimes and Knights Landing are among three projects that have been selected to receive grant funding under the second phase of the Small Communities Flood Risk Reduction Program, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

New study shows global warming intensifying extreme rainstorms over North America

The likelihood of intense storms is rising rapidly in North America, and the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, projects big increases in such deluges. … If the current rate of warming continues, Earth will heat up 5.4 degrees by 2100. Then, 20, 50 and 100-year extreme rainstorms could happen every 1.5 to 2.5 years, the researchers concluded.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Bay Area towns need to address sea-level rise. Will they?

The water keeps rising, shrinking the window for implementing solutions. Sea-level rise already threatens the bay shore, which, at about 500 miles, is half the length of the entire California coast. The worst is yet to come: The Bay Area needs to plan for a 2-foot rise by 2050 and up to 7 feet by 2100.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Disaster experts develop COVID-19 guidelines for water-related emergencies

In May, Cyclone Amphan made landfall in Bangladesh and eastern India. The category 5 storm forced around 3 million people to flee their homes. With this scenario in mind, a group of disaster experts published guidelines for political leaders and emergency managers so that they can prepare before the storms hit.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR enters ‘whale’s belly’ to combat climate change, protect water deliveries

A marshy tract known as Sherman Island is one of the most sensitive and geographically important locations for water conveyance in California. On May 11, DWR began a restoration project on the southeast side of the island that combats climate change while protecting statewide water supply.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Top 10 worst environmental decisions in California history

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization that led to these environmental successes.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Construction begins on Goldfields levee

The Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority plans to finish a levee improvement program at the Goldfields later this year that has been in the making since 2004 and will have cost approximately $500 million once all is said and done.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Central Valley Flood Protection Board: Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District feasibility study

The 2017 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan’s Investment Strategy looked at … retooling the Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District to provide a small continuous funding stream for ongoing expenditures of the flood management system. At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, consultants discussed the upcoming feasibility study.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

News release: Delta Stewardship Council appoints new lead scientist

Dr. Laurel Larsen, an expert in hydroecology, landscape dynamics, complex environmental systems, and environmental restoration, was unanimously appointed by the Delta Stewardship Council on Thursday as lead scientist. Most recently, Dr. Larsen has served as an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UC Berkeley.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Plant, restore soil, repeat. Could nature help curb climate change?

On a recent sunny, windy March day – just before COVID-19 sent the [San Francisco] Bay Area into lockdown – Dave Halsing stood on the trails at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and pointed out what used to be old industrial salt ponds. He noted how they’re gradually being restored into a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other ecosystems in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lewis MacAdams, famed crusader for the Los Angeles River, dies at 75

Lewis MacAdams, a poet and crusader for restoring the concrete Los Angeles River to a more natural state and co-founder of one of the most influential conservation organizations in California, has died. He was 75.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Bay Area sea level report explores cost of inaction

Led by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the report takes study findings from throughout the region to demonstrate the shared impacts of sea level rise ranging from 12 to 108 inches on housing, transportation networks, critical environmental habitat, jobs and disadvantaged communities.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cities are flouting flood rules. The cost: $1 billion

It’s a simple rule, designed to protect both homeowners and taxpayers: If you want publicly subsidized flood insurance, you can’t build a home that’s likely to flood. But local governments around the country, which are responsible for enforcing the rule, have flouted the requirements, accounting for as many as a quarter-million insurance policies in violation, according to data provided to The New York Times by the Federal Emergency Management Agency…

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Report: A Social Science Strategy for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

In the fall of 2018, a six-member independent Social Science Task Force was charged by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program to develop a strategy for strengthening and integrating social sciences into the science, management, and policy landscape of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This document summarizes the findings and recommendations of the Task Force.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Homeless camps damage California’s levees; proposed legislation would protect the barriers

California’s homeless crisis is one of the state’s top issues, but the least discussed aspect of this broad problem is the damage these homeless encampments cause to our levees. … Large trenches dug into the side of levees impact the integrity and stability of our protective barriers that are engineered to keep our homes and community from flooding.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

It’s time to revise estimates of river flood hazards

While studies attributing flood events to individual drivers can be valuable, ignoring interdependencies among these drivers as well as the effects of changing river morphology implicitly promotes simplified views of the challenges inherent to flood management. Further research must account for these interdependencies…

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

Low-lying Petaluma faces flooding from sea level rise: report

For decades, the discussion over flood mitigation in Petaluma has almost exclusively centered around storm surges and heavy rainfall events. Now, months after the city made its landmark climate emergency proclamation, attention is shifting to focus more on sea level rise and scientific projections that offer a glimpse into what could be a sodden future.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Opening the mouth of Walnut Creek

Paul Detjens is driving us from his Martinez office to a restoration site near the mouth of Walnut Creek on Suisun Bay, a project he spearheads as an engineer for the Contra Costa County Flood Control District. … The closer we get to our destination, however, the more industrial the landscape becomes, and the more improbable it seems that we’re in the right place to realize this vision.

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Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Follow her lead: Cindy Messer

Cindy Messer considers one of her greatest professional accomplishments also the toughest experience in her 23-year career. Messer was sworn in as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources the day after the Oroville Dam crisis began in February 2017… But within months, her boss retired, and she became acting interim director for the recovery phase.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Building bigger walls in San Francisco Bay to hold back rising waters

Spurred by a recent change in federal flood zone maps and a desire to prepare for rising seas, Foster City is in the process of raising its levees by 1 to 7 feet. Residents voted in 2018 to tax themselves in order to pay for the estimated $90 million upgrade. When the project breaks ground later this year, the city of 35,000 people will vault to the forefront of urban adaptation in the Bay Area to rising waters.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Without $175M levee upgrade, thousands in Manteca, Lathrop would need flood insurance

While the bulk of the $175 million goes toward addressing seepage issues along San Joaquin River levees, a dry levee in southwest Manteca plays a key role in making sure potential breaks along the San Joaquin south of RD-17 or levee failures on the Stanislaus River don’t flood portions of either city.

Aquafornia news U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Blog: Sacramento River levee improvements next step in $1.5 billion plan to modernize Sacramento-area flood infrastructure

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District awarded a $64 million construction contract on February 14 … for nearly three miles of levee improvements along the Sacramento River East Levee. This project will kick off major construction in the region to complete approximately $1.5 billion of work to upgrade levees along the American and Sacramento Rivers as well as widening the Sacramento Weir and Bypass.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

‘Unlike any disaster we have ever seen,’ says state agency about rising seas in Bay Area

An investigation by NBC Bay Area has found more than two dozen major construction projects worth billions of dollars – either recently completed or still in development or – located in areas along San Francisco Bay that scientific computer models show will be flooded or surrounded by water by 2050 or earlier.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pajaro River flood reduction project gets federal funds

A long-planned Pajaro River flooding prevention project has secured its first federal funding for engineering and design. Earlier this week, Rep. Jimmy Panetta announced that the Pajaro River Flood Risk Reduction Project had been provided $1.8 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2020 work plan budget.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Moving forward with infrastructure climate solutions

Congressional leaders unveiled a transformative vision of moving America and the environment forward by investing in 21st century infrastructure. The Moving Forward Framework outlines a five-year plan for bold investment in transportation and water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

The main focus of the program are the barriers to fish passage for salmon from Friant Dam to the ocean and back again. There are three key barriers: the East Side Bypass Control Structure which is in the flood bypass; Sack Dam, which is the intake for Arroyo Canal for Henry Miller irrigation system; and Mendota Dam which controls Mendota Pool. The program also needs to ensure enough habitat for the fish when they return to complete their life cycle,

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

At a panel discussion hosted by California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, the panelists discussed how by spreading out and slowing down water across the landscape can provide multiple benefits year-round by allowing farmers to cultivate the land during the spring and summer, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife in the fall and winter months.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Folsom Dam is being raised. What that means for droughts, boating and your flood insurance

Combined with a safer spillway completed in 2017, federal dam officials say the flood-prone region is on its way to 300-year or more flood safety, meaning there will only be a one-in-300 chance in any given year that the combination dam and downstream levee system will fail.

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Could Sacramento flood like New Orleans? It’s possible, but water managers are trying to make it less likely

Weak and problematic levees are a big reason why there was so much destruction when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. It cost Louisiana and Mississippi more than $150 billion dollars and killed more than 1,800 people. But could something like this happen in the Sacramento region? The answer CapRadio heard from levee experts is yes, Sacramento could see that type of flooding, but there are a lot of things that lower that risk.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County supervisors blast plans to move Delta tunnel project forward

Response to Wednesday’s action by the California Department of Water Resources to initiate an environmental impact report for a tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was not popular with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pajaro flood agency proposal considered by county board

Praising progress on a long-awaited Pajaro River flood prevention project, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors reviewed a proposed regional flood prevention agency that would oversee construction and operation of the $393.7 million initiative. By a unanimous vote, the county board directed staff to finalize a joint powers agreement at the center of the proposed Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Digging into levees: Homeless create unique safety issue for those living in Lathrop

Lathrop — like any other community — has a homeless problem. But unlike other communities, the homeless problem could imperil the community. That’s because a number of homeless in the Lathrop area have taken to digging holes into the base of levees designed to hold back the San Joaquin River at high water levels.

Aquafornia news Reuters

U.S. flood risk model to be publicly available in boon for homebuyers

A climate research organization will offer access to a risk model that predicts the probability of flooding for homes across the United States, giving the public a look at the data institutional investors use to gauge risk.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: The Delta’s sinking islands: A way of life hangs in the balance

The courtroom battle over 9,000-acre Staten Island is the latest conflict in the Delta over farming, wetlands and aging levees that, besides preventing flooding, preserve a way of life on the man-made islands. The suit, filed in 2018 by a group called Wetlands Preservation Foundation, accuses the California Department of Water Resources and the Nature Conservancy of failing to adequately protect wildlife or employ sustainable agricultural practices on the property…The stakes are high because the channels, islands and marshes that make up the Delta are a catch basin for most of California’s drinking water.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

When Sacramento became ‘Levee City’: 170-year anniversary of the flood that started it all

The river barreled over, sinking the streets of Sacramento in 6-feet of water. It was streaming fast, flooding the hotels and houses of Gold Rush migrants hoping to find fortune in the bountiful land of California.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Bay Area king tides offer a hint of what rising sea levels look like

King tides, a naturally occurring phenomenon that received a common name only a decade ago, are heading to California shorelines this weekend — and with them, a series of public events intended to show people the dangers posed by sea level rise.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: Update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan

While considerable progress has been made to improve flood management in the Central Valley, the vast region still faces significant flood risk. … It has been estimated that California needs to spend at least $34 billion to upgrade dams, levees, and other flood management infrastructure. Accomplishing these upgrades within 25 years would mean spending $1.4 billion per year—roughly twice the current level of investment.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Rapid changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta both diminish scientific certainty and increase science’s value

These changes will be substantial, multi-faceted, and often rapid. Some changes will be irreversible. Many changes are inevitable. Some will say today’s Delta is doomed. It will be important for California to develop a scientific program that can help guide difficult policy and management discussions and decision-making through these challenges.

Aquafornia news Government Technology

Atmospheric rivers can be too much of a good thing

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture that descend from the tropics to higher latitudes like from Hawaii to California. They used to be referred to mostly as a pineapple express. … A study by researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests that one of these events could cause catastrophic damage to California and its economy and thus the nation’s economy.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

The precarious future of Treasure Island: Rising seas and sinking land

The low-lying island, as well as neighboring Yerba Buena island, are also the site of a multibillion-dollar neighborhood development. The project calls for 8,000 new homes and condos that could house more than 20,000 people, 500 new hotel rooms, and over 550,000 square feet of commercial space. But how will climate change affect these plans?

Aquafornia news U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

News release: Levee improvement work along Sacramento River set to begin this week

Site preparation activity for upcoming levee improvements along the Sacramento River east levee will begin this week, kicking off a five-year U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to upgrade levees throughout the Sacramento region and widen the Sacramento Weir.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Federal cost analysis bolsters Pajaro River flood control efforts

During the 2019 Flood Prevention Authority Legislative Conference, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented a cost-benefit analysis in support of what is estimated to be about a $394 million project, an effort which would reduce significant flood risk to the city of Watsonville, Pajaro in Monterey County and adjacent agricultural areas…

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Scientists from UC campuses study floods

We’ve heard this about earthquakes – it’s not a matter of if but when the big one will hit. Well, some researchers also say it’s a pretty similar situation for a major flood in the area. A research project currently being undertaken at SoCal and NorCal UC campuses is looking at how flooding could impact the area, including socioeconomic issues.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Spillway gates conversation needs to happen

There were questions about the gates that release the water from Lake Oroville, even before the spillways broke up in February 2017. Those questions never really got answered. The focus was on fixing the obvious damage. We could get around to talking about the gates after that. Maybe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

What is an atmospheric river and why should Southern Californians keep their umbrellas handy?

They’re like a continuous conga line of moisture streaming across the ocean without interruption until they encounter an obstacle such as the coast ranges in California. These obstacles force the atmospheric river to start shedding its burden of moisture.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Can a new approach to managing California reservoirs save water and still protect against floods?

Known as Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO), the approach centers on using the latest forecast technology to plan for the arrival of atmospheric rivers. Those are the torrents of moisture in the sky that barrel into California from the Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric rivers are critical to the state’s water supply, accounting for as much as half of its annual precipitation. But they can also cause catastrophic flooding.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can a New Approach to Managing California Reservoirs Save Water and Still Protect Against Floods?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Pilot Projects Testing Viability of Using Improved Forecasting to Guide Reservoir Operations

Bullards Bar Dam spills water during 2017 atmospheric river storms.Many of California’s watersheds are notoriously flashy – swerving from below-average flows to jarring flood conditions in quick order. The state needs all the water it can get from storms, but current flood management guidelines are strict and unyielding, requiring reservoirs to dump water each winter to make space for flood flows that may not come.

However, new tools and operating methods are emerging that could lead the way to a redefined system that improves both water supply and flood protection capabilities.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Five steps to eliminate nutria threat

Through financial support from various grant funding, CDFA is implementing a five-phase process for nutria eradication that consists of survey, knockdown, mop-up, verification, and surveillance. CDFW staff have been working the landscape by dividing areas into 40-acre grids to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Caltrans hopes to keep Highway 37 from flooding this winter

State transportation crews are wrapping up paving and drainage improvement work along Highway 37 ahead of winter rains in an attempt to avert flooding, which in two of the past three years led to multiday closures of the critical North Bay commuter artery.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Bel Marin Keys restoration an important move

The start of work on the restoration of the Bel Marin Keys wetlands is another example of efforts to bring back the miles of wetlands that, over the past century, have been lost to development, other encroachments and years of sedimentation buildup.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Recognizing the Delta’s place in the greater watershed and beyond

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is hitched to so many things. Our estuary is a critical habitat for fish and wildlife, home to millions of people, and the hub of our state’s water delivery system. From the Sierra Nevada to the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, what happens in one part of the Delta watershed affects the entire estuary.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Living shorelines: Linking estuary habitats and building capacity to adapt to rising seas

A living shoreline is an alternative to ‘hard’ shoreline stabilization methods like rip rap or seawalls, and can provide numerous benefits such as nutrient pollution remediation, habitat, and buffering of shorelines from storm erosion and sea level rise. … At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Marilyn Latta from the Coastal Consevancy and Katharyn Boyer from San Francisco State University gave a presentation on living shoreline projects in the San Francisco Bay.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

Housing project pits regional goals against city plans

On Thursday, the East Bay city of Newark will consider approving 469 single family homes and 2,739 parking spaces at the edge of the San Francisco Bay shoreline, on a 430-acre parcel where conservation groups and state and federal agencies have for decades hoped to restore wetlands. … The proposal illustrates one way even straightforward and widely agreed-upon regional climate solutions can fall apart at the local level…

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Massive Bel Marin Keys marsh restoration begins

While breaking this levee would seem like a catastrophe, state and federal agencies intend to do just that. The purpose is not to unleash some biblical, punishing flood, but rather to allow nature to reclaim nearly 1,600 acres of wetland habitat.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Woodland ramps up Cache Creek flood control

Woodland city officials are continuing to build the case for Cache Creek flood control, recently approving $900,000 for another study that could be yet another downpayment on a multi-million dollar project ultimately paid for by federal, state and local governments.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Marcos kicking off $100 million Creek District improvements

San Marcos will start construction of its Creek District this year, with a $100 million plan to reduce flooding and improve habitat and traffic flow, officials said at a public forum earlier this week.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Valley Water adopts new policy to address encroachment concerns

In order to take care of environmental concerns and maintain our facilities in a safe and effective manner, we have identified about 900 encroachments on public lands managed by Valley Water that require resolution. … Valley Water has implemented a new process to resolve these encroachments by working with our community.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Residents – and wildlife – eager for revitalized lower L.A. River

Elizabeth Castillo looks on as her daughter Reynata plays with children at a playground near the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, California, in mid-October, hoping one day the river will be clean enough to kayak on. … In the last half-century, the LA River served primarily as flood control infrastructure, but open space and wildlife advocates fomented a movement to make it wild and accessible to all.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

White House nears infrastructure permitting changes

The White House has begun reviewing a plan to change the way it issues environmental permits for infrastructure projects. If the proposal is finalized, it could speed up National Environmental Policy Act reviews for roads, bridges, ports, pipelines, power lines, Internet trunks, and water systems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The next big California vs. Trump fight is over water and endangered species

Just how far will Gov. Gavin Newsom go in his high-profile fight with the Trump administration over environmental protections? The next few months will provide an answer, as Newsom is forced to take a stand on Trump rollbacks in a long-contested battleground — the Northern California Delta that helps supply more than half the state’s population with drinking water and fills irrigation canals on millions of acres of farmland.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Sonoma County residents along Russian River could benefit from $1.5 million in new flood aid

Russian River communities impacted by the 2019 flood may soon see some help, as a budget trailer bill signed last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom promises $1.5 million to the area that suffered 100 landslides and slipouts and faces at least $155 million in damage.

Aquafornia news ABC7 News

Bay Area marshes could help slow global warming

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was once one of the lushest marshlands in the state. The peat-rich soil made it an ideal place for some of the state’s first farms to pop up. Today, scientists are hacking their way through thick brush to see if restoring these marshes is a way to reduce carbon dioxide in the air.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California ramps up efforts to combat invasive swamp rodents

One of the most recent threats to California’s environment has webbed feet, white whiskers, shaggy fur and orange buck teeth that could be mistaken for carrots. … The swamp rodents, called nutria, are setting off alarms in California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

They’re big, furry and Congress might help California kill them all to save the Delta

A rookie California lawmaker plans to haul a 20-pound rodent carcass into Congress on Tuesday to press his colleagues for money to fight an invasive species wreaking havoc on his district. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, hopes a hearing on his bill will convince his colleagues that funding to stop invasive nutria in California’s Central Valley is sorely needed …

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom should sign SB 1 into law. Without its environmental protections, Californians will suffer

At least 85 different federal laws and regulations affecting California have been weakened or undermined by the Trump administration since January 2017. … That’s why I, along with many proponents, believe that Senate Bill 1 would safeguard our state …

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Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego’s climate crisis: Sea level rise will threaten Imperial Beach for decades

Imperial Beach regularly experiences flooding during high-tides and storms — climate change and rising oceans are threatening to make that flooding significantly worse.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Estuary News

Clout and cool science push land-river reconnection

Before all those thousands of miles of levees went in, the Central Valley had one of the West Coast’s largest salmon runs, with a million or more of these mighty fish returning each year. A big reason for the salmon’s suc-cess was that the valley was among the most extensive floodplains in the world.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Cache Creek flood solution top priority for Woodland council

It appears that Woodland is now in the “advancement” stage with the Army Corps of Engineers willing to work on a plan for longterm flood protection along the city’s northeast side. However, the effort could just as quickly be reversed, according to members of the City Council, if they don’t get farmers on board with their efforts.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Managing a non-native Delta ecosystem

The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta has more non-native species than native ones, and its estuary is considered the most invaded in the world. We talked to Jim Cloern—an emeritus scientist with the US Geological Survey and an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center—about this challenge.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

Want to prevent California’s Katrina? Grow a marsh

Something is amiss on Sherman Island, a whale-shaped swath of farm and grazing land at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. If you don’t know what ails the place, it might be hard to pinpoint the problem.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Bay is rising — are we moving fast enough to adapt?

There’s a lot to like about the Bay Area’s efforts to prepare for sea level rise: the collaborative efforts, the detailed studies and, laudably, the voters who are willing to tax themselves with an eye to future needs. But if the long-term threat is as grim as scientific projections indicate, local experts say the region needs to respond with increased urgency — an urgency that is at odds with the Bay Area’s often cumbersome decision-making processes.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta legal framework: ‘All the acronyms you need to know’

At the Association of California Water Agencies‘ spring conference, a panel of lawyers covered the basics of the legal framework for the Delta. The panel was billed as ‘All the Acronyms You Need to Know”, but no 1.5 hour panel discussion could possibly cover all that. However, the panel did a good job of hitting the main ones and highlighting current issues.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

California steps up multimillion-dollar battle to eradicate nutria from state wetlands

There’s no certain answer as to how the nutria population re-emerged after being declared eradicated in California decades ago but the population is spreading and causing serious concern. The Department of Fish and Wildlife was recently awarded $10 million to wipe out the large, invasive rodents and that effort is now well underway.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Costs soar for shoreline protections as SFO plans for rising seas

In 2015, the Board of Supervisors gave initial approval to a $58 million shoreline protection program to protect SFO from sea-level rise. But on Wednesday, the board’s Budget and Finance Committee approved an updated program that will now cost $587.1 million. City officials attributed the increase to new sea-level rise estimates and guidelines issued by the State of California…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

American River in Sacramento polluted by homeless waste and feces

A Sacramento Bee investigation found high levels of E. coli bacteria — a sign of fecal contamination — along the lower stretch of the American, where homeless camps line the banks, residents walk their dogs, and where thousands of swimmers dip into the water to escape Sacramento’s summer heat.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Newsom plan best to fix California water woes

We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s efforts in leading discussions with the United States Department of the Interior, public water agencies and environmental groups to craft voluntary agreements that will restore the ecological health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while providing California with clean, reliable water.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Canal plans to bypass subsidence with 30-mile parallel path

As the old saying goes, if you can’t go through something, go around it. And at an estimated cost of $357 million, the Friant Water Authority is contemplating a 30-mile parallel canal to circumvent the portion of the Friant Kern Canal that has been negatively affected by subsidence.

Aquafornia news Brentwood Press

State of California proposes plan for Delta levees

Last week, the Delta Stewardship Council held a public hearing to review proposed changes to how spending decisions on the maintenance of Delta levees are made, and the plan — known as the Delta Levee Investment Strategy — has drawn criticism from several sources.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Llagas Creek flood control project was decades in the making

After decades of costly floods — and 65 years after Congress first approved it — construction on Santa Clara Valley Water District’s flood control project along the Upper Llagas Creek, is finally happening.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

The state of California regrets to inform you that you can’t keep beagle-sized rodents as pets

Nutria, a giant invasive rodent originally from South America, might be the size of a beagle, but unlike a beagle you can’t keep them in your home. The California Fish and Game Commission is looking to correct a gap in the law that restricts what pets may lawfully be owned by including nutria among the list.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

State approves $20M for Bel Marin Keys wetlands restoration

Restoration of nearly 1,600 acres of wetlands near Bel Marin Keys is set to begin this year after the approval of $20 million in funding on Thursday. The state Coastal Conservancy voted unanimously during its meeting in Sausalito on Thursday to allocate the money to begin the first phase of construction…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

A panel of experts discuss how reactivating the floodplains can provide habitat and food for native fish and for migrating birds, and highlights the many projects and opportunities in the Sacramento Valley.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Redwood City Cargill development opposition emerges

More than 60 elected officials and environmental and community groups throughout the Bay Area are urging Redwood City officials to reject proposals to develop the Cargill salt ponds and rather have them restored as wetlands.

Aquafornia news California Sun

Podcast: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and a deep dive into the San Francisco estuary

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, the editor in chief of Estuary Magazine and long-time Bay Area science writer, talks about the resiliency of the largest estuary on the West Coast, the challenges facing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, and the potential impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Preparing California’s rivers for a changing climate

California’s rivers and streams have experienced enormous changes over the past 150 years, and a warming climate brings new challenges. We talked to Ted Grantham—a river scientist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about the state of the state’s rivers.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries

The study, published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS One, documented dramatic decreases in wetland habitat around San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and nearly 450 other bays, lagoons, river deltas and coastal creek mouths throughout the West.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Surviving the next drought: It’s political in California’s Central Valley

With the last drought in the rearview and the next one inevitable, the damaging run on groundwater has state water agencies and lawmakers mulling whether to spend hundreds of millions to patch up a federally owned canal. But critics say doing so would amount to a clear bailout for the state’s largest farmers.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin supervisors approve 3% hike in flood control fee

Marin residents living in the Ross Valley will see a 3% increase in the annual stormwater drainage fee to finance flood control projects. … Following the 3% increase, homeowners will be paying $149.28 annually. The Ross Valley has been dogged by flooding over the past century.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nutria infestation has Central Valley Democrat declaring war

Rep. Josh Harder has focused much of his first year in office on local issues such as water storage and the effects of almond tariffs on Central Valley farmers. Now he is training his attention on the nutria, a semi-aquatic rodent that has drawn the ire of environmentalists, farmers and local officials alike.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Blog: The problem with levees

They can be very valuable tools for managing flood risk—but we learned a century ago that relying on them exclusively won’t work.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County sues state water agency over drilling for tunnel project

San Joaquin County has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court asking the state Department of Water Resources to abide by local drilling permit requirements to protect wildlife and water quality in accordance with California law.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

The Yolo Bypass: It’s a floodplain! It’s farmland! It’s an ecosystem!

California’s biggest river—the Sacramento—needs a lot of room to spread in big water years. A floodplain project called the Yolo Bypass allows it to flood naturally, while also providing habitat for waterbirds, fish, and other aquatic species. We talked to Ted Sommer, lead scientist for the Department of Water Resources (DWR), about this versatile landscape.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Homeless digging into levees put California’s capital at risk

Sacramento remains one of the two most flood-prone cities in the nation along with New Orleans, according to experts. Now the River City faces a new water threat: homeless people setting up camp on—and digging into—the 1,100 miles of earthen levees that Sacramento and surrounding areas count on to protect them from devastation.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: How flood insurance and endangered species are connected

Most people would not associate flood insurance with the protection of endangered species. But over the past decade, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been the target of multiple lawsuits alleging that the agency has violated the Endangered Species Act by not considering the impacts of its flood insurance program on endangered species and their habitat.

Aquafornia news Express

California mega-storm warning: The major risk threatening the future of California

California is overdue for a mega-storm capable of drowning coastal areas in 20ft (6m) of water at any moment. Experts are preparing contingencies for wet weather so extreme it might tear open a 300-mile-wide ocean across the US West coast. … The devastation of such flooding could match the severity of “big San Andreas earthquakes”, according to the USGS.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Discovering Delta data online

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is arguably the most extensively studied and monitored ecosystem in the world. This has generated mountains of data on everything from the locations of the smallest fish to the water quality conditions of the largest reservoir. Knowing where to access the most up-to-date information can be a real challenge, but fortunately several online dashboards can help

Aquafornia news U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Blog: Hamilton City project combines flood management with ecosystem restoration

The community wanted to create flood relief for the people of Hamilton City; The Nature Conservancy wanted to find a way to restore native habitat. Area farmers wanted to reduce damages from flows that scoured their property along the edge of the river. The Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration project was able to address these problems with one solution.

Aquafornia news Glendale News-Press

L.A. River revitalization: Plan to connect Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills unveiled

A plan to connect two ecologically rich areas in Glendale’s Verdugo Wash has been endorsed by officials tasked with revitalizing the upper part of the Los Angeles River.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees

River towns can start by restricting floodplain development so that people and property will not be in harm’s way. This will create space for rivers to spill over in flood season, reducing risks downstream. Proposals to raise and improve levees should be required to take climate change and related flooding risks into account.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California pledges millions to battle enormous swamp rats

A growing menace in the form of 15-pound swamp rodents is threatening Delta waterways, and the state is throwing money, hunting dogs and birth control at the invasive pests which have the potential to destroy crops and wetlands.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Work continues to reinforce Lathrop levees

While elected officials in Sacramento work to secure funding to ensure that the levees along the San Joaquin River are reinforced to be able to withstand a 200-year flood, the City of Lathrop has been performing the work necessary to continue development within the floodplain while that work is completed. … The city has received financial backing from a number of developers that don’t want to see development stop until the costly repairs are mad.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - October 8

This event guided attendees on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: DWR’s climate change vulnerability assessment

In order to address the impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has authority.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Clarksburg flood risk reduction study presented to supervisors

Although flooding hasn’t occurred in Clarksburg since the construction of the levee system in the early 1900s, the community is considered a moderate to high hazard flood area, according to a county report. For that reason, a flood risk reduction feasibility study has been prepared for the town similar to those conducted for Yolo and Knights Landing with funds from the California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

News release: CDFW awarded $8.5 million to expand nutria eradication operations

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today was awarded $8.5 million in funding over three years by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy to expand its nutria eradication operations.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Judge rules FEMA must reconsider floodplains plan

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday to block the Federal Emergency Management Agency from moving forward with its plans to offer flood insurance to developers and property owners in 100-year flood zones in California, finding that the agency failed to consider effects development might have on endangered wildlife in those areas.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Sacramento finally responds to public safety concern along the levees

In response to a story that aired Thursday night on CBS13, the City of Sacramento is now responding and creating a task force to combat a growing public safety concern. Homeless campers are carving into levees that protect Sacramento from flooding, a break in the levee could be devastating.

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Great flood impacted Northern California region in 1862

When people think of natural disasters in California, they usually think of earthquakes, drought or wildfire. But the worst disaster to ever hit the Golden State was the Great Flood of 1862. When people of European descent first arrived in California, the native people told them tales of great deluges in which the rivers overran their banks and large areas of land were inundated. The newcomers paid little heed to these stories, and often settled in low-lying areas with easy access to water sources.

Aquafornia news Fox40

Civil engineers grade California’s infrastructure with a C-

Failing power lines and crumbling roads are just some of the major issues highlighted in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2019 report card. It’s an analysis that comes out every six years, grading 17 different areas of infrastructure including waterways, aviation and schools.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Restoring California’s great estuary

For centuries, the Delta was a dynamic and rich ecosystem of tidal wetlands, riparian forests, and vast seasonal floodplains. But about 98 percent of the native habitat disappeared after the Gold Rush and a population boom across the Golden State.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Newsom declares emergency in Santa Cruz and seven other counties for storm damage

The latest declaration will provide aid to local governments from the state’s Office of Emergency Services and directs Caltrans to request federal assistance. In addition to Santa Cruz County, the declaration will affect Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Mariposa, Napa, Solano and Tuolumne counties.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Exploring the Delta’s big questions

For the millions of Californians who live and work far from the Delta, it can be easy to overlook the splendor of the largest estuary in western North America. Whether you are one mile or hundreds of miles from the Delta, however, all Californians have a stake in the survival and preservation of this fragile, dynamic ecosystem that is also the keystone of the state’s water supply system.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

All that snow looks great, but when it melts, watch out L.A.

It’s not clear how much water this year’s snowpack will produce, but the record snowpack in 2017 produced about one million acre feet of water. That’s too much for a funnel only about one-third that size. That means that water managers have to figure out where to put the excess water as it melts off the mountains. And the problem becomes potentially worse if a warm streak hits and melts the snow fast

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Chris Orrock and the Sierra snowpack

Chris Orrock of the California Department of Water Resources joins the podcast to chat with John Howard and Tim Foster about what this wealth of snow means for California’s water reserves and flood dangers, and the implications for wildfires later in the year.

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Experts call for pre-planning, flood monitoring, community networks to combat disastrous wildfires

In an era of high population growth and sprawling urban and wildland development, fire and flood disaster officials have to plan in advance for post-fire problems… One strategy California and Colorado are working on is to build political alliances that combine forestry, water and land issues so that lawmakers at the state and even the federal level are provided with a more powerful, holistic view of the problems.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam spillway used for first time since evacuation crisis

It worked. Oroville Dam’s main flood-control spillway reopened for business Tuesday morning, releasing a gentle sheet of water into the Feather River for the first time since the 2017 crisis that sent 188,000 people fleeing for their lives. … It was a far cry from the scene two years ago, when the massive sinkhole in the spillway turned water releases into an angry, boiling mess…

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘A California water supply dream:’ Record snowpack measured in Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe region

California received some good news on Tuesday for the state’s water supply: The Sierra Nevada snowpack is well above normal, at 162 percent of average. This amount of snow is thanks to the more than 30 “atmospheric rivers” that brought storms this winter and spring. Chris Orrock, with the California Department of Water Resources, says … this is the fourth largest amount of snow in recorded history.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s water infrastructure to be tested this spring as massive winter snowpack melts away

With an early-spring heat wave in the forecast, it’s time to start thinking about what a massive amount of snowmelt will mean for the state — that water has to go somewhere, after all.

Aquafornia news KQED

Sonoma County still hoping flooding will be declared federal disaster

One month after destructive flooding tore through Sonoma County, residents are waiting for the state to decide if it will ask the federal government for a disaster declaration — a move that they say can bring them much-needed financial aid.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

SF to put seawall bond money to work

Five months after voters approved a bond measure to protect the waterfront from earthquakes and flooding from sea-level rise, San Francisco plans to start using the first batch of funds. Next week, The City is expected to introduce to the Board of Supervisors for approval a proposal to use $50 million of the $425 million Embarcadero Seawall Earthquake Safety general obligation bond approved by more than 80 percent of the voters in November.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Beat cops of the Bay: How the nonprofit group Baykeeper monitors polluters in Bay Area waters

This may be the bleakest shoreline in the Bay Area, and it isn’t just the industrial infrastructure that gives character to this place. Floating trash has collected along the docks, and the waters are contaminated by the loading and unloading of vast amounts of fossil fuels. A sign posted to a piling warns fishers not to eat anything they catch here.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Bay-Delta Tour is a once-a-year, don’t-miss opportunity to explore California’s vital water hub June 5-7

On our Bay-Delta Tour June 5-7, participants will hear from a diverse group of experts including water managers, environmentalists, farmers, engineers and scientists who will offer various perspectives on a proposed tunnel project that would carry water beneath the Delta, efforts to revitalize the Delta and risks that threaten its delicate ecological balance.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California water deal must include Delta, fisheries interests

Any new path on California water must bring Delta community and fishing interests to the table. We have solutions to offer. We live with the impacts of state water management decisions from loss of recreation to degradation of water quality to collapsing fisheries. For example, how can new and improved technology be employed to track real time management of fisheries?

Aquafornia news Estuary News

Putah Creek Pipeline for Salmon

Chinook spawned here historically, but in 1957 Putah Creek was dammed near Winters to divert water for Solano County. After that, hardly any salmon made their way up the creek. Then a lawsuit in the 1990s — and resulting restoration project — finally gave the fish what they needed to return after all these years.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Carmel River FREE project hits key milestone

A “landmark” initiative aimed at restoring Carmel River floodplain habitat and helping reduce flood risks for homes and businesses along the lower part of the river and lagoon has reached a key phase with the release of its environmental review document.

Aquafornia news KQED

FEMA details why it rejected state’s request for Oroville spillway funds

FEMA said that a wide range of pre-existing problems contributed to the deterioration of both the upper and lower sections of the massive concrete spillway. The agency argues that federal law, regulations and policy restrict payments only to work needed to fix damage stemming from a declared disaster.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Climate advocates cheer Trump policy shift on flood insurance

Climate advocates say an overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program being unveiled by the Trump administration will spur communities around the country to better plan for extreme weather, but could drive up costs for some homeowners. … It will tie premiums to the actual flood risk facing individual homes nationwide starting in October 2020. The current system sets prices based largely on whether a home is inside or outside of the 100-year flood plain.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Palo Alto prepares for sea level rise

With rising tides threatening to submerge the Palo Alto Baylands by mid-century, city officials agreed on Monday  they need to explore new barriers — both physical and legislative — to protect coastal area from sea level rise. These measures will be approved as part of a new Sea Level Rise Implementation Plan, a document that Public Works staff are in the process of putting together and that could have significant ramification for properties around the Baylands.

Aquafornia news KMPH News

Battle to eliminate destructive nutria in California is three years away

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has been battling the destructive Nutria for two years. State biologists believe it will be another three years before they win the war against the pesky rodent. The nutria is considered a triple threat to Valley wetlands, agriculture and water delivery systems.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Coding teams step up to solve dam problem

Dozens of computer coding teams from around San Joaquin County were tasked to create an app in roughly seven hours. The issue: following the destruction caused by the malfunction of the Oroville Dam in February 2017 and the evacuation of more than 180,000 people, could there be an app that can track dam leakage, seismic activity and other structural impacts and communicate with the appropriate individuals to help deter another disaster?

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Long-sought creek restoration in Pescadero takes major step

By allocating $1 million last week toward a creek restoration project set to rejuvenate threatened and endangered species and reduce flooding in Pescadero, county officials locked in funding needed to begin a dredging effort experts expect will give the Butano Creek a chance to reset.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

One increasingly popular way to control floods: Let the water come

When a wild river floods, water and sediment spills over its banks onto adjacent land, it builds up a natural floodplain. Floodplains allow a river’s high flows to spread out and slow down, forming temporary reservoirs that pool over the rainy season. That means more water percolating down into underlying aquifers … and less floodwaters barreling toward cities.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Life before the dam: ‘Houses floating’ down the streets of Visalia

The statewide snowpack has reached 160 percent of its annual year-to-date average and the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada can be seen from Highway 198. … But, if you think that’s a lot of rain, think again. Sunday marks the 113th anniversary of the 1906 flood, which filled Visalia’s downtown streets with about a foot of water. The water didn’t dissipate for 10 days.

Aquafornia news Mother Nature Network

This invasive 20-pound rodent could devastate California’s agriculture industry

They are a semiaquatic South American rodent a bit smaller than a beaver. Females can give birth three times a year and have up to 12 babies each litter. They are really good at tearing up crops, burrowing tunnels into levees, and other destructive behavior that is tough on farmers. And they’ve been discovered in California’s San Joaquin Valley, a major food-producing area.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Go deep into the nation’s breadbasket to explore water issues on the Central Valley tour April 3-5

Recent rains have left the San Joaquin Valley’s reservoirs in better shape, but groundwater depletion and the resulting ground subsidence continue to beset farmers and water managers. What will this year hold? … Your best opportunity to understand the challenges and opportunities of this vital resource in the nation’s breadbasket is to join us on our Central Valley Tour April 3-5.

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Delta tunnels oversight bill advances in Legislature

A bill from Sen. Bill Dodd that would increase legislative oversight of the controversial Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta WaterFix project and allow for more public scrutiny has cleared its first committee hurdle. The action comes less than a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wants to scale back the project proposed by former Gov. Jerry Brown to a single tunnel.

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