The Long-Stalled SJ River Bypass May Move Forward

From The Manteca Bulletin – Efforts to complete the widening of Paradise Cut that would significantly improve flood protection for urbanized areas of Manteca, Lathrop, and Stockton may finally move forward.

The San Joaquin Area Flood Control Area (SJAFCA) is positioning itself to be the lead agency to shepherd the project involving widening the seven-mile long Paradise Cut where it branches off the San Joaquin River and passes beneath Interstate 5 just north of the Interstate 205 interchange to where it connects with the Old River. Engineers have determined expanding the Paradise Cut would reduce flood stages significantly at Mossdale Crossing — 1.8 feet under a 50-year event as well as under a 100-year event such as the 1997 flood that inundated 70 square miles between Manteca and Tracy and caused property losses in excess of $80 million. (more)

White House launches climate initiatives to arm communities against floods, extreme weather

From The Washington Post – The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a request for information Tuesday to guide how it would update the National Flood Insurance Program’s flood plain management standards, which have not been changed substantially since 1976. It is also seeking input on better protecting the habitats and populations of threatened and endangered species in the face of these risks. FEMA’s request for input comes less than two weeks after the agency raised rates for many homeowners living in flood-prone areas, factoring climate risk into its policy premiums for the first time. The future impacts could be large; a report from the First Street Foundation released Monday showed that the effects of climate change will place 1.2 million additional residential properties at serious risk of flooding over the next 30 years. Some states and localities have developed their own flood mapping to guide building policies; a July report from the Government Accountability Office found that many of FEMA’s flood-plain maps are outdated and do not reflect how climate change may affect flood risk. (more)

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Groundwater recharge is an important water management practice in California.

From The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) – A variety of supply sources and methods are used to intentionally recharge aquifers. Common methods include filling dedicated recharge basins or ponds, directing water to unlined canals and riverbeds, injecting water through wells, and using extra surface water (when available) to avoid pumping (“in-lieu recharge”). There is also growing interest in recharging aquifers by applying extra irrigation water to croplands, or by spreading water on fallowed fields and natural landscapes. Supply sources include local floodwaters, surface water imported from other regions, and recycled water. (more)

Water Education Foundation (WEF) Floodplain Science and Management Symposium

October 13-15, 2021 – Join via livestream

The Sacramento River Science Partnership (SRSP) is hosting a virtual Floodplain Science and Management Symposium focused on the Sacramento River watershed. Decision-makers, managers, scientists, and project proponents from across state and federal resource agencies, academic institutions, NGOs, and landowning and growing communities have been invited to join a conversation about floodplains’ role in salmonid recovery and management questions related to more intensively managed floodplain projects. (more)

Feature: First Field-Based Assessment of Levee Risk in the Delta

Written by Robin Meadows, produced by Estuary News

Aerial view of Bacon Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – USGS/Wikimedia Commons. Like other islands in the central Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Bacon Island has subsided below sea level and is encircled by a levee to keep the water out. “All it takes is one bad spot in a levee to flood an island,” explains UCLA engineer Scott Brandenberg, lead on an ongoing study assessing risk in Delta levees. “This is a really hard problem to solve for sudden shocks like floods and earthquakes.” The Bay Area has seven significant faults, and an earthquake could potentially flood a number of islands at the same time. This would draw salty water into the Delta from the San Francisco Bay, contaminating the fresh water supply for two-thirds of Californians as well as millions of acres of farmland. (more)

Congress approves $80 million for Sites Reservoir

From the Chico Enterprise-Record – “Congress approved a government funding bill last week that threw $80 million at the Sites Reservoir in California in order to keep the project on track.

The project is meant to hold 1.5 million acre-feet of water for the state to be used during droughts for agriculture, community usage and environmental need, said a press release issued Tuesday by the organization behind the Sites Reservoir. “Flexible water storage is needed now more than ever,” said Jeff Davis, chair of the Sites Reservoir Committee. “Sites has a unique collaboration between local, state and federal partners for an affordable, permittable and buildable water storage project for California.” The Sites Reservoir, which would be located in both Glenn and Colusa counties, is a facility that does not require a dam and instead collects storm water from the Sacramento River, the release said. (more)


After Wildfire, California Geologists Prepare for the Next Hazard: Debris Flows

From the Sierra Sun Times – October 3, 2021 – As firefighters bring some of this year’s most devastating wildfires to heel, California Geological Survey (CGS) geologists are already scouting the blackened ground for signs of a secondary hazard – potential debris flows.

Debris flows follow infernos and can sometimes be just as dangerous to life and property.

What Causes Debris Flows? After wildfires eliminate the trees and undergrowth on sloped areas, only bare soil, rock, and fire debris is left on the surface. When it rains hard and long enough in a burned area, that material turns into a slurry several feet thick traveling downhill faster than a person can run, capable of damaging structures, burying roads, and clogging streams. (more)

DWR Water Wednesday – Flood Preparedness Begins With You

From the DWR Division of Flood Management

Start: Wed 6 Oct 2021, 1:00 PM
End: Wed 6 Oct 2021, 1:30 PM

Floods are a natural part of California’s water cycle. While most occur in winter, they can happen during any month and anywhere in the state. So how do we prepare for them? Join Division of Flood Management Outreach and Communications Specialist, Nikki Blomquist, to learn about different types of floods that we face and how you, your family and community can be flood ready.

Watch on YouTube or register and join on Zoom to ask Nikki questions.


Developing tools to model impaired streamflow in streams throughout California

From the California Water Blog – Droughts are extreme, but not necessarily extreme events — at least not in the way we humans usually experience events as discrete, episodic occurrences. Droughts are continuous and exhausting; they can come out of nowhere and take us on a rollercoaster of waiting for precipitation to come, measuring when it does, and hoping it will be enough to keep our rivers flowing for human use and healthy ecosystems. Droughts may feel so extreme that they should be a rare occurrence, but they are a natural part of California climate. To effectively and reliably manage water, we need to know (1) how much water needs to be in a river to protect species and ecosystems, (2) how much water is actually in the river, and (3) what is the gap between the two? There is currently a group of scientists from universities, agencies, and NGOs that developed a framework and set of tools to answer the first question for all rivers in California – known as the California Environmental Flows Framework (CEFF). (more)