President’s Budget and Work Plan announcements tab $188 million for Sacramento District projects

From USACE – Sacramento DistrictMore than $188 million of Sacramento District funding, primarily for Northern California flood risk management work, was outlined in two separate budget releases on February 10, adding to an already robust district workload. President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal would fund two Sacramento District projects in his plan for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works program. Continued upgrades to Natomas Basin levees leads the way with $131.5 million. Construction to improve 42 miles of levee surrounding the Sacramento area suburb has ramped up in recent years with construction work underway in four different sections of the project. The other project in the budget sits across the Sacramento River from Natomas in West Sacramento, which is targeted for $2.028 million to continue ongoing design efforts for authorized levee improvements around the city. Three Sacramento District projects are expected to achieve significant milestones thanks to additional Corps of Engineers work plan funding allocations for fiscal year 2020, it was also announced on Monday. (more)

Reclamation Awards $3.5 Million for 19 Projects That Will Inform Water Management Decisions

From California Water News Daily – The Bureau of Reclamation announced that 19 projects have been selected to receive $3.5 million in WaterSMART Applied Science Grants to develop tools and information that will inform and support water management decisions. WaterSMART Applied Science Grants provide funding to non-Federal entities for the development of tools and information to support water management for multiple uses. Six of the 19 projects selected are in California and will receive more than $1 million in funding.  (more)

CA Water Commission: Headwaters to Floodplains Initiative

From – Recently, the Department of Water Resources, Office of Floodplain Management launched a new safety initiative called Headwaters to Floodplains which applies an integrated regional watershed management approach to the realm of flood management.  The initiative is intended to enhance public engagement and facilitate sharing innovative flood risk reduction ideas and projects on a watershed basis. At the January meeting of the California Water Commission, Mike Mierzwa from DWR’s Office of Floodplain Management briefed the Commission members on the new initiative.  He is a civil engineer with extensive expertise in hydrodynamic modeling and the planning of large scale water systems.  He’s also been part of DWR team working on the public benefits for the Water Storage Investment Program. Mr. Mierzwa began by noting that headwaters and floodplains are places where Californians live and work. “We’re focused in on the land use connectivity with flood risk and consequences and the cooperation, so if there’s one key thing I could stress today, it’s this theme of cooperation at all levels of government as to how we manage flood risks.” (more)

California’s risk of a flooding catastrophe – in Los Angeles

Advanced Science News – There is a flooding catastrophe awaiting California — not only in the Sacramento Delta, but in the Los Angeles region. The Great Flood of 1862 is best remembered for filling the Central Valley of California with flood water, bankrupting the State, and forcing government to move from Sacramento to San Francisco. However, it also struck southern California hard as many small towns were completely destroyed, and the region was cut off for weeks from communication with state leaders in San Francisco and Sacramento. In 1862, there were less than 15,000 people living in Los Angeles and the region was mainly used for cattle grazing. But today, there are 14 million people and a trillion-dollar economy. The Los Angeles region is the entertainment capital of the world, a renowned tourist destination, a major manufacturing center, and the busiest port on the west coast of the U.S. And flooding itself is fundamentally different from the Central Valley—the Los Angeles region experiences ultrahazardous flooding characterized by high velocity flood flows, high loads of sediment, and unpredictable flow paths. (more)

Solano County judge denies Friends of Putah Creek challenge

From Davis Enterprise – Solano County Superior Court Judge D. Scott Daniels on Jan. 22 denied a challenge by the Friends of Putah Creek that the Central Valley Flood Protection board should have required a more extensive environmental review before issuing an encroachment permit to allow restoration work on the creek. “The court finds that the Flood Board was a responsible agency and had no duty to review all environmental arguments (the Friends of Putah Creek) raised during its determination whether to issue the subject encroachment permit, and that its review was appropriately limited to flood control,” Daniels stated in his decision. (more)

Newly Appointed Board Member: Brian Johnson

The Central Valley Flood Protection Board is happy to announce its newest Board member, Brian Johnson, has been appointed today by Governor Newsom. Johnson has been California director at Trout Unlimited since 2011, where he was director of the California water program from 2005 to 2011. He was an associate at Shute, Mihaly & Weingerger LLP from 2000 to 2005, associate director for communications at the Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President from 1993 to 1997, and manager of Energy Star Computers for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation from 1991 to 1993. Johnson earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School. Welcome, Brian!

CA Water Commission: Update on the Water Storage Investment Program

From – At the January meeting of the California Water Commission, staff updated the commissioners on the status of the projects in the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP).  Amy Young, the Commission’s WSIP Program Manager, updated the Commission on the program schedule going forward, recent activity by the applicants, and how the projects will be coming before the Commission. In 2018, the Commission completed the application review process and made Maximum Conditional Eligibility Determinations or MCEDs for the eight projects under the Water Storage Investment Program.  In order to receive the funding, applicants must complete certain requirements spelled out in Prop 1 and the Commission’s regulations for the program, so applicants have been moving forward with their projects to meet the statutory and regulatory requirements of the WSIP.(more)


Sediment loading key to predicting post-wildfire debris flows

From PHYS ORGMudslides, or debris flows, can occur when rainfall washes away the buildup of sediment in mountain channels. Roughly equal parts water and sediment, debris flows are strong enough to carry large boulders downhill and threaten communities on or near the mountains. The debris flows in January 2018 that hit Montecito, California, killed 23 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Authorities attributed the mudslides to the wildfires that swept through the area the previous month. Vegetation holds back the sediment in these steep landscapes, but as the vegetation burns during a wildfire, gravity transports the sediment from the hillsides down to the channel in a process called dry sediment loading, said Roman DiBiase, assistant professor of geosciences at Penn State. (more)

CENTRAL VALLEY FLOOD PROTECTION BOARD: Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

From – Historically, the San Joaquin River has supported large chinook salmon populations. However, since the Bureau of Reclamation’s Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River became fully operational in the 1940s, much of the river’s water has been diverted from the river for agricultural uses.  This has resulted in about 60 miles of the river bed going dry in most years and the river no longer being able to support salmon populations. In 1988, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other conservation and fishing groups sued the Bureau of Reclamation and the Friant Division contractors of the Central Valley Project (CVP) in the case, Natural Resources Defense Council v. Rodgers. (more)

CVFPB 1/25/2020 Board Meeting: Informational Briefing on the 200-Year Goldfields Levee Project

New Feature: Upcoming Board Meeting Informational Briefing.

Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA) is seeking an encroachment permit at the February Board Meeting for the proposed 200-Year Goldfields Levee Project . TRLIA will provide an informational briefing on the proposed project, which primarily consists of an approximately 2.6-mile levee extension starting at the upstream terminus of the existing Yuba River South Levee, loosely bounded by the Yuba Goldfields to the north, Hammonton-Smartville Road to the south, Apex Lane to the west, and Hammonton Road to the east. The new levee will extend the current federal levee system to high ground. Construction is scheduled to begin in Spring 2020. (link)