One Increasingly Popular Way to Control Floods: Let the Water Come

Promoting floodplains as a way to refill aquifers, reduce risk from flood damage, re-create wildlife habitat and filter pollutants.

From KQED Science 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 — a layer of permeable rock, sand, gravel and silt that stores water — and less floodwaters barreling toward cities. Low points on a floodplain, or swales, also serve as food chambers for fish. For much of the last century, standard practice in California has been to channelize rivers, choking off high flows from their natural floodplains, in an effort to protect crops and cities. But that convention is evolving. In his state-of-the state address this February, Governor Gavin Newsom vowed to expand floodplain habitat in the Central Valley. This is one approach California is investing in to increase groundwater storage and reduce flood damage. (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.