California bill would make levee encampments illegal

From KCRA3 A bill would enhance protections along levees and bypasses, as well as make it illegal to put up encampments on the structures, following a KCRA3 investigation. Assembly member Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, authored AB 137, which would prohibit people from altering the stability of levees or bypasses, as well as prohibit people from living and camping on the structures. The legislation would make it a misdemeanor charge. “I saw the story on KCRA3,” Cooper said. “For the past five or 10 years, we spent over $3 billion to shore up our levees. And we’ve seen levee breaks here in the Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and how devastating it can be.” A KCRA3 investigation found some encampments along Sacramento River levees in the Natomas area were digging and carving into the levee, posing a threat to thousands of homes on the floodplain. “The encampment site was about 25 to 30 feet in width and went down about 4 or 5 feet,” said Kevin King, with Reclamation District 1000. “Unfortunately, when that happens, it does compromise the integrity of the levee.” (more)

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Darren Suen has been selected for the Board’s new Policy Advisor position. He performed this function in Acting capacity for the last year, working to raise awareness about the Board’s role in flood management and to advance flood policies that support public safety and provide benefits to the environment and agriculture communities. Prior, Darren was the Department of Water Resources serving as Program Lead and Policy Advisor for the Assistant Division Chief of the Flood Management Division and the Deputy Director in Flood Operations Center during flood emergencies. Darren has a long career in program management and flood control, working in private, State, and federal agencies. Currently, he also serves as a member of the Elk Grove City Council. Congratulations to Darren!

Michael Wright has been selected to fill the Chief Engineer position beginning April 2, 2019. Michael has been with the Board since 2011. During his tenure, Michael has held multiple supervisory positions, including Enforcement Section Chief, Acting Operations Branch Chief, and Plan Implementation and Compliance Branch Chief. For the past eight months, he has been filling the Chief Engineer role. Congratulations, Michael Wright.