Topic: 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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 Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Extreme wet weather in Louisiana and California highlights urgent need for newer, smarter strategies

It’s not often that communities in California and Louisiana face similar water challenges. California is better known for having too little water and Louisiana too much – both challenges exacerbated by climate change. But record-setting wet winter weather led both states last week to release significant amounts of water from reservoirs and rivers to prevent flooding, underscoring the need for new approaches to build climate-resilient communities across the country.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Why it’s important to prepare for drought during a deluge

In the midst of the wet winter storms bringing rain and snow to California this year, you might not expect drought preparations to be among the state’s current priorities. And yet, they need to be. In this post, I’ll explore why to set the stage for a blog series that explores what the state can do to prepare for the more frequent and intense droughts we expect in California’s future. The series draws on work my colleagues and I did for California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Portfolio solutions for water – flood management

The Sacramento Valley’s flood management system is a good example where a portfolio of actions has greatly reduced flood damages and deaths, with relatively little management expense and attention in a highly flood-prone region. This case also illustrates how the many individual flood management options presented in the table can be assembled into a diversified cost-effective strategy involving the many local, state, and federal parties concerned with floods.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

‘Major problem’ floods Tulare County homes, crews work to pump water

A “major problem” in southeast Tulare County forced hundreds of people out of their homes and endangered thousands of animals. … Tulare County Sheriff’s Department was sent scrambling to notify residents in the area of Strathmore that Frazier Creek Canal spilled over and water levels were rising. Frazier Creek is directly linked to the Friant-Kern Canal. … Friant-Kern Water Authority officials later determined the flooding wasn’t caused by “overtopping” of the Friant-Kern Canal’s banks. The issue was drainage from Frazier Creek.

Aquafornia news Soundings Magazine

Collecting stories of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

For a region so crucial to the growth of California as we know it today, you might think there would be libraries full of books about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. And yet, as UC Merced scholar Gregg Camfield wrote several years ago, the most obvious thing about the literature of the Delta “is how little there is.” Advocates of the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas are trying to collect those scattered bits and pieces in a new anthology of the Delta.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

$35 million contract issued to strengthen levees

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a $35 million contract to continue the Sutter Basin Project – strengthening a stretch of Sutter County levees. The project will allow repairs to continue on approximately five more miles of the Feather River west levee between Tudor Road and Cypress Avenue in south Sutter County, according to a press release from the corps.

Aquafornia news The Daily Journal

EPA sets stage for Cargill plans in Redwood City

A long battle over development of the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City may soon return after the EPA declared the site exempt from the federal Clean Water Act — causing concern by environmentalists and the city’s mayor. The Environmental Protection Agency announced its decision earlier this month, effectively removing one of several barriers to development of the 1,400-acre Bayside property.

Aquafornia news Healdsburg Tribune

Opinion: A river runs through us

We love our Russian River for its eternal beauty, its nurturing forces, its quenching properties, its recreation and play and its renewing spirits. We love our river — except when we don’t. And right now we are distraught over the destruction its breached muddy torrents visited upon us yet again.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Floods disrupt Northern California farms

Swollen rivers and creeks fed by atmospheric-river storms caused flooding with both short-term and long-term impacts for California farmers. Mary Ann Renner, a dairy farmer in the Humboldt County town of Ferndale, said the flood from the Eel River was not the worst she’s seen—but was close.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville continues to rise as Hyatt Powerplant releases stay steady

The state Department of Water Resources announced that releases from the powerplant were being increased from 1,750 cubic feet per second to 5,000 cfs. Ten-day projections show the lake reaching 835 feet on March 14, according to DWR. The department has said it does not anticipate that it will utilize the rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway anytime soon; however, crews have been making preparations in case its use becomes necessary. The spillway becomes usable once water reaches its gates at 813 feet, which should happen Tuesday morning.

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Aquafornia news Popular Science

Why California’s droughts and floods will only get worse

The dramatic shift from dry to wet this winter hints at what’s to come. Scientists predict that California’s total precipitation will remain close to constant in the future, but it will fall in a shorter window of time, with more of it as rain. The state will also experience greater variability—more very wet and more very dry years. These findings highlight the need to capture rainfall and improve aging infrastructure. Here’s what to expect from California’s wet seasons, now and in the future.

Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Legislation would add local reps to Delta council

Four new voting members, each appointed by representatives of the Delta region, would be added to the Delta Stewardship Council if a bill authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier becomes law. … Frazier introduced Assembly Bill 1194 this week. It would increase the voting membership of the council to 11 members.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done

But the river remains an unpredictable force, one that could give rise to even more destructive floods in an era of increasingly extreme weather, experts say. … County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins has her sights on the opportunities to tame floodwaters in the river’s middle reaches, starting near Windsor and upstream, where it broadens and meanders more freely in a floodplain less constricted by roads and other development.

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Aquafornia news The Tribune

With two storms brewing, forecasters concerned about flooding in Sierra Nevada, Central Valley

The southern Sierra Nevada is expected to see a pair of storm systems in the coming days that could create “significant flooding” over several burn scars in the area, according to weather officials. … Next week’s storm, which is expected to hit the area midweek, is the primary source of concern. “That storm could bring between 2 and 5 inches of rain,” said Kevin Durfee, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “If those rain amounts do materialize, we could be looking at some significant flooding over the burn scars, and rising water levels in rivers and streams.”

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

California Senator proposes $400M bill to fix sinking Friant-Kern Canal

State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) said Senate Bill 559, will “help secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million toward restoring lost (delivery) capacity on the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.” … The $400 million would be appropriated from the state general fund to the Department of Water Resources to administer the repairs.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Northern California river floods 2,000 buildings

A Northern California river flooded 2,000 homes, businesses and other buildings and left two communities virtual islands after days of stormy weather, officials said Wednesday. The towns of Guerneville and Monte Rio were hardest hit by water pouring from the Russian River, which topped 46 feet (13 meters) late Wednesday night. It hadn’t reached that level for 25 years and wasn’t expected to recede again until late Thursday night.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Widespread flooding across Bay Area forces road closures, evacuations

The Russian River has surpassed flood levels after an extraordinary 48 hours of rainfall, and by Wednesday morning the waters had blocked all roadways into and out of the town of Guerneville. By 6 a.m., all routes out of the 4,500-person town of Guerneville were blocked by the rising water, which was creeping closer to 41 feet — nine more than the flood level of 32 feet — with an additional five feet expected.

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Aquafornia news Scientific American

Weak El Niños like this year’s may become rarer with warming

In the long term scientists suggest that El Niños—or, at the very least, their effects on weather and climate events around their world—may become more severe as the planet continues to warm.

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Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Recent rainstorms cause portion of Feather River levee to erode

Rains over the past several weeks have caused erosion to a recently improved portion of levee along the east side of the Feather River and protecting Marysville. But officials say the damage is superficial and doesn’t pose a threat to public safety.

Aquafornia news SFGate

Atmospheric river poised to slam Bay Area Tuesday: Here’s what you need to know

Meteorologists say the storm appears moderate in strength, but it’s slow moving and the steady rainfall across three days could amount to significant rainfall totals.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: How can California capture more water? Competing interests will have to compromise

If you stand on a fragile levee of the Sacramento River these days and watch the chocolate brown water rushing toward the delta only a few feet under your boots, one can’t help but wonder why the state and federal governments aren’t capturing more of this precious resource. Why is all but a tiny fraction heading out to sea?

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wet February almost eliminates drought in California

February storms have almost eliminated drought conditions from California. The U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday that just over 67 percent of the state is totally free of any level of dryness. Just under 30 percent is classified as abnormally dry, and less than 4 percent remains in either moderate or severe drought.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area forecast: ‘Atmospheric river’ storm may hit next week

One week after an atmospheric river storm pounded Northern California, causing flooding, mudslides and traffic headaches, another one appears to be forming in the Pacific and is set to arrive early next week. Computer models show the storm hitting Monday or Tuesday, with the North Bay and parts of California farther north taking the brunt, although that could change, experts say.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rare L.A. mega-storm could overwhelm dam and flood dozens of cities, experts say

Although it might sound absurd to those who still recall five years of withering drought and mandatory water restrictions, researchers and engineers warn that California may be due for rain of biblical proportions — or what experts call an ARkStorm. … In heavily populated areas of the Los Angeles Basin, epic runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains could rapidly overwhelm a flood control dam on the San Gabriel river and unleash floodwaters from Pico Rivera to Long Beach, says a recent analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘It’s a mess.’ Atmospheric river brings record-setting rain to Sacramento, Northern California

The wet weather broke a daily rainfall record in Sacramento, with 1.6 inches of rain recorded at the Sacramento Executive Airport over 24 hours. But the state’s network of flood-control dams and levees appeared to handle the deluge without major problems. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning Wednesday morning for the Sacramento Valley, and it was expected to remain in place until 6 p.m. Thursday as heavy and moderate rainfall was forecast to continue through Thursday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CALMatters

Opinion: Newsom can confront climate change by restoring rivers, habitat

Our floodplain reforestation projects are biodiversity hotspots and climate-protection powerhouses that cost far less than old-fashioned gray infrastructure of levees, dams and reservoirs. They provide highly-effective flood safety by strategically spreading floodwater. Floodplain forests combat the effects of drought by recharging groundwater and increasing freshwater supply.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area forecast: Atmospheric river to bring heavy rain

A powerful “atmospheric river” storm is expected to pummel Northern California starting Tuesday night and deliver heavy rain, gusty winds, downed trees, power outages and rough driving conditions Wednesday and Thursday. … The storm should bring up to 5 feet of new snow in the Sierra Nevada, forecasters said. The National Weather Service announced flash-flood and high-wind warnings for the Bay Area, along with Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2 million plan to kill them

California’s San Joaquin River Delta is in danger of being overrun by voracious beagle-sized rodents. The state has a plan to deal with them, but it’s going to take a lot of time and money. Nutria, a large South American rodent, have become an invasive species in several states, including Louisiana, Maryland and Oregon.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Climate resilience: Reconnecting creeks to tidal baylands

A new approach to flood management around the San Francisco Bay could trim maintenance costs for water agencies, restore habitat for endangered species, and help protect against rising seas. What links the three? Sediment. Winter storms push sediment down creeks that flow into the Bay and, long ago, these waterways fanned out when they reached the edge. Sediment settled there, nourishing tidal baylands — salt marshes and mudflats that are rich in wildlife, and also buffer the shore from storm surges, the highest tides, and sea level rise. Today few of these low-lying tidal baylands remain.

Aquafornia news KCRA

Engineer: Twin Tunnels project could endanger vital levees

The proposed tunnel path stretches 35 miles from west of Elk Grove to just below Discovery Bay. The tunnels would take water from three intakes along the Sacramento River to existing aqueducts south of Discovery Bay, and then the water will be sent to Southern California. Along the proposed path, there are at least 22 levees that would sit above the tunnels….  The concern is not so much the levees themselves, but the kind of soil that is below the levees.

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Nutria threat continues to grow in farm counties

The nutria invasion of California continues. Greg Gerstenberg, a biologist and nutria operations chief with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said 372 nutria had been trapped in the state as of Jan. 10. Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation, wants farmers and others who maintain levees to be aware.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

He’s ‘famous’ for measuring California’s snow. Now, he’s retiring after 30 years — sort of

A simple web search will pull up nearly a million articles, videos and photos featuring Frank Gehrke. He’s no fashion icon like Kim Kardashian or a dogged politician like Gov. Jerry Brown. But he has broken a lot of news. … For 30 years, you might have seen Gehrke on TV, the guy trudging through snow with a measuring pole, talking about how deep the pack is each winter on the evening news. He retired from his post as the state’s chief snow surveyor in December, but he’s not letting go of his snowshoes and skis anytime soon.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Key California ag region ponders what’s next after voters spurn bond to fix sinking Friant-Kern Canal

Land subsidence from overpumping of San Joaquin Valley groundwater sank portions of the Friant-Kern Canal, the 152-mile conduit that conveys water from the San Joaquin River to farms that help fuel a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy. A plan to fix it helped sink the $8.8 billion Proposition 3 bond measure last November. Now San Joaquin Valley water managers are trying to figure out another way to restore the canal, not only to keep farmers farming, but to aid the valley’s overtaxed groundwater aquifers. By Gary Pitzer in Western Water.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Flood control veteran to leave post

The work to provide Yuba-Sutter with the highest level of flood protection possible isn’t yet complete, but the levees are much better today, having had the oversight expertise of the head of the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency. After more than seven years with the agency, SBFCA Executive Director Mike Inamine announced he would be leaving this week for a job with the California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom appoints Wade Crowfoot to lead Natural Resources Agency

Wade Crowfoot will lead the agency that oversees state parks, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, among other offices, Newsom announced Friday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water projects could be tapped to pay for Trump’s border wall

Officials have given President Trump a plan to divert funds designated for Army Corps of Engineers projects in California and Puerto Rico to help pay for a wall along the southern border, a leading member of Congress said Thursday. … The projects include raising the height of Folsom Dam on the American River in Northern California, protecting Lake Isabella in Kern County from leaking as a result of earthquakes, enlarging the Tule River and Lake Success in the Central Valley and building shoreline protections in South San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

State breaks, shifts levees to restore natural floodplains

At the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, a few miles west of Modesto, work crews removed or broke several miles of levee last spring and replanted the land with tens of thousands of native sapling trees and shrubs. It’s part of a growing emphasis on reconnecting floodplains to rivers so they can absorb floodwaters. This shift in methodology marks a U-turn from past reliance on levees to protect cities and towns.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Trump administration sits on billions in storm protection money

 In February, following a string of severe natural disasters in 2017, Congress provided a record $16 billion for disaster mitigation — building better defenses against hurricanes, floods and other catastrophes. Eleven months later, the Trump administration has yet to issue rules telling states how to apply for the money.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Let it flow: In about-face, state breaks and shifts levees to restore natural floodplains

At the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, a winter of heavy rains could inundate about 1,200 acres of riverside woodland for the first time in 60 years. That’s by design: Here, a few miles west of Modesto, work crews removed or broke several miles of levee last spring and replanted the land with tens of thousands of native sapling trees and shrubs.

Aquafornia news

America’s second biggest levee system is keeping Sacramento dry — for now

Not long after the Gold Rush of 1849, California became a state and made its capital in Sacramento. It seemed a logical choice. The city was served by the two of the state’s biggest rivers, the Sacramento and American, at a time when a lot of goods and people moved via river traffic. It was somewhat centrally located. But, there was the occasional flood. Every spring, the snowcap in the Sierras melts, leaving a significant amount of water in the Central Valley, where Sacramento sits. The city engineered a levee system to control the seasonal flooding.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Levee project estimated to cost $77 million

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin advertising for bids on a Feather River West Levee construction project estimated at $77 million. According to a staff report published earlier this year by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, the project would make improvements to approximately 4.9 miles of levee.

Aquafornia news KQED News

These invasive 20-pound rodents could wreak havoc on California agriculture

Merced County sweet potato farmer Stan Silva hadn’t even heard the word “nutria” until a few months ago. He’s still never seen one, but he’s worried about the damage these 20-pound rodents with big orange buck teeth could do in California if they’re not eradicated. “It would be devastating,” Silva says. “They can basically ruin the ag industry here — they get in your fields, burrow into your canal ways, your waterways.” They can also tear up crops and levees, making the state’s water infrastructure more vulnerable.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Preventing the next big flood

Marysville is one step closer to being the most protected city in the Central Valley from flooding, experts say, with the recent completion of a stretch of slurry wall in part of the ring levee project.  Last week, crews completed a portion of the Marysville Ring Levee project – Phase 2A North – located between the 10th Street and Fifth Street bridges.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

California Conservation Corps members work on flood control skills on Delta levee

Two-hundred members of the California Conservation Corps from as far away as San Diego and Fortuna descended on a Delta levee bordering southwest Stockton’s Van Buskirk Park on Tuesday to practice their flood control skills. … CCC Communications Director Dana Howard, also on hand to observe Tuesday’s training exercise, took the opportunity to announce the recent opening of the Corps’ first newly constructed facility in Northern California in decades.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Levee District 1 to celebrate 150 years

When it comes to flood fighting, the men and women who’ve worked for Levee District 1 have seen it all – from tragedy to triumph. Those still around have plenty of stories to tell. The public will have an opportunity to hear some of those stories during the district’s 150th anniversary celebration on Oct. 26. The district is responsible for operations and maintenance of 16.15 miles of levee spanning from Pease Road to Marcuse Road in Sutter County.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

When Water Worries Often Pit Farms vs. Fish, a Sacramento Valley Farm Is Trying To Address The Needs Of Both
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: River Garden Farms is piloting projects that could add habitat and food to aid Sacramento River salmon

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a refuge like the ones that were lowered into the Sacramento River at Redding to shelter juvenile salmon.  Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.

And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.

Aquafornia news ProPublica / Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting

Flood thy neighbor: Who stays dry and who decides?

When rivers flood now in the United States, the first towns to get hit are the unprotected ones right by the river. The last to go, if they flood at all, are the privileged few behind strong levees. While levees mostly are associated with large, low-lying cities such as New Orleans, a majority of the nation’s Corps-managed levees protect much smaller communities, rural farm towns and suburbs such as Valley Park [Missouri].

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Earth being moved to Hamilton City levee

A steady stream of trucks has started carrying dirt to what will be a new levee to protect Hamilton City. The trucks started rolling Monday, carrying dirt from a pile at the north end of Canal Road that is left from the excavation of the Glenn-Colusa Canal.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Could West Sacramento be forced to pay up if river floods? Mayor and residents disagree.

The West Sacramento City Council voted 4-1 last month to begin a process that would convert an independent district in charge of levee management into a subsidiary of West Sacramento, and allow the council to replace the district’s board of directors with appointees or the council members themselves. Reclamation District 900 has operated independently since 1911, managing 13.6 miles of levees that provide flood protection along the Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

J Levee replacement gets $8 million more from feds

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday that the additional money would be available to the Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project in the current fiscal year. … It is the first in the nation being constructed under the Corps’ guidelines to develop projects that include both flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration.


Bay-Delta Tour 2018

Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaWe traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Invasive nutria’s discovery in Delta sets off alarm bells

Sometime after Tim Pelican arrived at work Monday, a farmer stopped by to deliver a package to San Joaquin County’s agricultural commissioner. The farmer’s package contained a dead nutria, a 2½–foot-long, 20-pound beast that looks like a beaver but is smaller and has a round, ratlike tail and white whiskers.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to the Delta

ON THE ROAD: Park Near Historic Levee Rupture Offers Glimpse of Old Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Big Break Regional Shoreline will be a stop on Bay-Delta Tour May 16-18

Visitors explore a large, three-dimensional map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Along the banks of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in Oakley, about 50 miles southwest of Sacramento, is a park that harkens back to the days when the Delta lured Native Americans, Spanish explorers, French fur trappers, and later farmers to its abundant wildlife and rich soil.

That historical Delta was an enormous marsh linked to the two freshwater rivers entering from the north and south, and tidal flows coming from the San Francisco Bay. After the Gold Rush, settlers began building levees and farms, changing the landscape and altering the habitat.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Public input sought in Marysville levee project

Modifications were made to construction plans for an upcoming phase of the Marysville Ring Levee project. … The Marysville Levee Commission, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are proposing changes to their original plans for an area located along the existing levee to the southwest of Marysville, between the Fifth Street Bridge and E Street Bridge. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento moves to buy levee easements for Sacramento River trail

The view from Don Murphy’s expansive backyard is breathtaking. The Sacramento River rolls gently past as birds float in the mid-winter fog. It is nearly silent, except for the infrequent car driving along a delta road across the river. … Now a fight is heating up over who should have access to that serenity.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

BREAKING NEWS: Brown administration working to scale down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects, a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Close look at $28.5 million levee repairs in Sacramento Valley

The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency got to work on emergency levee repairs following last winter’s high waters and the Oroville Dam evacuation. Seepage, boils, sink holes and water erosion were signs of severe distress. The $28.5 million project, mostly funded by the state, is geared up to complete by Christmas.

Tour Nick Gray

Bay-Delta Tour 2019
Field Trip - June 5-7

This tour traveled deep into California’s water hub and traversed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay and included a ferry ride.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Officials express confidence when sizing up area levees

Considering the events of this past winter and the problems they posed to Yuba-Sutter levees, officials are confident the improvements made over the past several months will withstand the upcoming flood season.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Flood experts say California levees need much more money

California needs to spend another $100 million a year to keep the state’s levee system sound, according to state flood control experts. At a press conference marking flood preparedness week Monday at a levee repair site near Sacramento, Bill Edgar, president of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board said the levees will need a $17 billion to $21 billion investment over the next 30 years to protect the seven million Californians at flood risk.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Repairs begin for levees that suffered critical damage this winter

The California Department of Water Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers are repairing 30 sites that suffered “critical” damage this winter and are preparing to fix another 10.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Landmark California plan puts floodplains back in business

Something monumental happened on August 25 in California water management that received almost no media attention: It became official policy to reconnect the state’s major rivers with their floodplains. The action by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, an obscure panel appointed by the governor, clears the way for the state to embrace projects that allow floods to recharge groundwater. … The timing coincides with two other major state programs.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s drift away from levees continues

After more than a century of building levees higher to hold back its rivers, California took another step Friday toward a flood-control policy that aims to give raging rivers more room to spread out instead.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Feds OK Yuba City levee work

The heavy work is now underway on emergency repairs to the nearly 3 miles of levee protecting the heart of Yuba City. The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency received federal approval Tuesday night to proceed wth the work.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Work to fix damaged levee begins in Yuba City

Work crews with heavy machinery started emergency repairs Thursday to a levee that protects Yuba City, and was damaged by high flows during the Oroville Dam spillway emergency. The $28.5 million project will create a seepage cutoff wall and rebuild 2.9-miles of levee along the west side of the Feather River that protect 80,000 people.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta survives latest ‘test’

The engineers who scrambled to prevent Delta farms from flooding this year have long insisted that the levees surrounding those low-lying islands are not as fragile as they’re sometimes portrayed to be.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Work underway on Marysville Ring Levee’s ‘weakest link’

Construction work on a portion of the Marysville Ring Levee – deemed by a federal agency as the “weakest link” in the city’s levees – began earlier this month along Highway 70. … John Nicoletti, a levee commissioner for Marysville, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has assessed the ring levee and found that Binney Junction is the city’s most vulnerable point.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

As Kings River recedes, evacuees assess flood damage amid work to close levee breaches

The flooding is the result of more than a week of high temperatures that have rapidly melted mountain snow, filling Pine Flat Reservoir and prompting the Army Corps of Engineers to send a surge of water into the Kings River to make room for more runoff behind the dam. The river surge tested levees along the Kings in a way some residents has never expected.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

To protect Pine Flat Dam from being overtopped, more water sent down Kings River

Water releases from Pine Flat Dam were ratcheted up Thursday as federal officials worked to prevent the reservoir from overtopping the dam. … Crews from Kings County and the Kings River Conservation District responded to a small breach in a levee on the south fork of the Kings River between Grangville and Highway 198.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Levee managers talk issues with DWR

The Department of Water Resources invited downstream levee maintaining agencies and county emergency operators to a meeting in Oroville on Monday to discuss ways of improving operations and planning for future emergency situations.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

West Sacramento breaks ground on largest levee project (with audio)

The Southport Levee Improvement Project along the Sacramento River is one of four designed to bring West Sacramento up to the state-mandated 200-year level of flood protection.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Sobering’: How sea level rise could swamp Stockton

A worst-case sea level rise increase of 10 feet to 12 feet by the year 2100 would utterly transform Stockton as we know it today. Climate Central, a New Jersey-based climate science nonprofit, recently published maps depicting what this unlikely, yet still “plausible,” scenario might look like. 

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Break in California levee system could contaminate Bay Area drinking water supply (with video)

A five year survey released by the California Department of Water Resources reveals half of the levees that guard California cities from a major flood don’t meet modern standards, and if a levee were to break in the wrong place, it could cut off the drinking water supply to the Bay Area for months or even years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Rains end, but flooding dangers loom if massive Sierra snowpack melts too quickly

The rain has largely stopped after one of the wettest winters in California. But as spring temperatures begin to climb and snow in the Sierra Nevada melts, the threat of flooding has communities across the Central Valley on edge. … The concerns are magnified in some areas by subsidence, a festering problem exacerbated by five years of drought in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

After the storms: A fresh look at the work of setback levees

Rivers were swift and wide this winter with heavy storms adding up to the wettest winter in 122 years. People who have lived in the Sacramento Valley for decades remember flooding from their youth, when towns were evacuated, homes were lost and topsoil washed away.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Delta levee and ratepayer protection bills pass first hurdle

Two bills that would protect Delta levees and ratepayers were passed in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday. Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s two bills — AB 732 and AB 791 — passed through their first hurdle. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Appeals Court: School district on hook for flood projects

The Manteca Unified School District must pay to fund local levee improvements, just like any other property owner in the area, an appeals court has found. One attorney says the decision is good news for the small levee districts across the Delta charged with protecting farms and cities from floods.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Nature provides its own flood control. Time to use it? (with audio)

After millions of dollars of flood damage and mass evacuations this year, California is grappling with how to update its aging flood infrastructure. That has some calling for a new approach to flood control – one that mimics nature instead of trying to contain it.

Aquafornia news Western Water on Tap

Crisis at Oroville may be basis for renewed operations criteria – Coming snowmelt poses a problem in San Joaquin Valley

In the wake of a near disaster at Oroville Dam caused by heavy runoff and a damaged spillway, the former chief of flood operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said last week it may be time to reconsider how the reservoir is operated to avert such dilemmas.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Riverbanks collapse after Oroville Dam spillway shut off

When state water officials scaled back their mass dumping of water from the damaged Oroville Dam this week, they knew the riverbed below would dry up enough to allow the removal of vast piles of debris from the fractured main spillway.

Aquafornia news New York Times

In California, a move to ease the pressures on aging dams

Until a few weeks ago, the McCormack-Williamson Tract in the California Delta was an island of low-lying farmland, more than two square miles protected from the surrounding rivers and sloughs by earthen levees.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Levee patrols: First line of defense against floodwaters

Roberts Island hasn’t flooded severely since 1884. Yet here they are, fourth-generation farmer Mike Robinson and his son, Michael, spending their Friday night inspecting every inch of the 15-mile levee from a truck crawling along at 5 mph.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Rural California levees besieged by pounding wet winter

Billions of dollars in flood projects have eased fears of levee breaks near California’s capital and some other cities, but state and federal workers are joining farmers with tractors in round-the-clock battles this week to stave off any chain-reaction failure of rural levees protecting farms and farm towns.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Levee managers: Need five miles of repairs to Feather River

A state management and local reclamation district in Yuba City say repairs are required to Feather River levees as they connect to the Highway 99 bridge.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Big test still to come as San Joaquin River keeps rising

Splashes of sunshine and some modest bits of good news cast San Joaquin County’s flooding problems in a slightly more optimistic light on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Levee system battered by record rainfall from ‘atmospheric river’

As the latest major storm to saturate California got in its final licks Tuesday, the state deployed all the weapons in its flood-control arsenal — including farm tractors, pontoon boats and controlled releases from mountain reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin River levee break forces 500 out; Don Pedro spillway opens

A 20-foot breach in a San Joaquin River levee that forced an evacuation order for a large swath of rural farmland was plugged by emergency crews late Monday, a levee engineer confirmed.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Creeks, rivers top banks after latest California storm

Creeks and rivers topped their banks, hundreds of homes were evacuated and several thousand people found themselves trapped in a rural hamlet as Northern California emerged Tuesday from yet another winter storm.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tyler levee holds; San Joaquin River rises

While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms, finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Emergency work starts on levee repair downstream from Oroville Dam

Emergency work on a levee at the confluence of the Feather and Sacramento rivers started Monday, with officials hoping to prevent damage.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

After years of drought, Sacramento confronts an old foe: flood risk

In the years before California’s drought, it wasn’t unusual for Sacramentans to spend winters worrying about floods. After more than five years with little rain, the past two weeks delivered a bracing reminder that the region remains vulnerable to rising waters and overtopped levees.

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.