Everything You Need to Know About San Luis Reservoir

From mavensnotebook – California.com – Nestled in the heart of California’s vast Central Valley lies a shimmering oasis, a testament to human ingenuity and the ongoing quest for water management: the San Luis Reservoir. This magnificent reservoir, holding both natural beauty and immense significance for the Golden State’s water system, is much more than just a large lake. Here’s everything you need to know about this impressive structure. Water is pumped into the reservoir primarily from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta during periods when water is abundant. The reservoir then releases the stored water during dry periods, ensuring a consistent water supply for agricultural, municipal, and industrial users downstream. The water stored in San Luis Reservoir not only quenches the thirst of urban areas such as Los AngelesSan Jose, and San Francisco, but also irrigates the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, which contribute significantly to California’s economy. The reservoir acts as a buffer, ensuring that water is available throughout the year, especially during California’s frequent and sometimes prolonged droughts. (more)

Latest Version of FMA’s (Floodplain Management Association) Report Available – Highwater Mark

Contents include:

  • Letter From the Chair
  • Federal/National News
  • State News
  • Nominations are Now Open! (Leadership in FMA)
  • Call for Articles
  • 500-Year Flood Protection Added to ASCE Standard
  • Recent Activities at NOAA’s CA NV River Forecast Center
  • How is the NFIP Responsible? – PART 2
  • At the Confluence of Emerging and Professional



You can access it using the web address below: https://issuu.com/fmanews/docs/fma_newsletter_august2023?fr=sZTMzMDY1MDE3Njc

New State Budget Maintains Water and Natural Resources Funding in an Uncertain Economy

From Public Policy Institute – When it comes to state funding for water and natural resource projects, California has typically turned to general obligation bonds as the first resort. These bonds enable the state to borrow funds and pay them back over many years using General Fund dollars. The historic budget surpluses of recent years have shaken up this long-standing arrangement: awash in tax revenue, the state seized a rare opportunity to directly allocate large sums of General Fund dollars for water and natural resources. After two years of largesse, however, that funding source may be drying up—and we may see a return to general obligation (GO) bonds. In the past two fiscal years, California took advantage of budget surpluses to allocate more than $12 billion from the General Fund to multi-year water and natural resource investments. With the recent budget shortfall, the state made some modest cutbacks (7%). (more)

About the Watershed

From EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) – EPA addresses water pollution from the watershed approach, a comprehensive framework for addressing water resource challenges. The effects of pollution and stressors (such as dams, water diversions and invasive species) in one part of an aquatic system can negatively impact other parts of the system. Restoring water quality is most effective when pollution sources, stressors and solutions are identified for the entire watershed. The watershed approach facilitates participation from interested stakeholders, optimizes use of environmental laws, and fosters local stewardship necessary to generate and sustain water quality improvements. Water quality problems are more completely characterized when a diverse group of stakeholders are invested in identifying sources and solutions. Science and technical information can be generated with direction from stakeholder groups and used to identify options for addressing the most pressing watershed vulnerabilities. The community investment generated by this process is important for ensuring that water quality improvements persist over time. (more)

Living with Extreme Floods in California

From California Water Blog – Floods and their consequences are a reality for many worldwide, including those living in California. This reality is evidenced by pictures of people stranded on roofs surrounded by water, people paddling down water-filled streets in makeshift boats, and farm fields and orchards covered in standing water. However, there is also growing acceptance that floods are natural, recurring events that have positive aspects, especially where they support migratory waterfowl, enhance fisheries, and sustain wetlands and their high diversity of organisms (Mount et al 2023). In fact, most communities on large rivers globally rely on annual flooding for soil nutrient replenishment, transportation, and maintenance of larger ecosystems that supply food resources (e.g., Amazon, Nile, Okavango, Ganges, Mekong rivers). In California much of our most productive farmland is actually former floodplain, including the once vast wetlands of the Central Valley and the bed of Lake Tulare (Moyle 2023). Most of our cities also are partially built on former floodplains. It is no wonder then that levee building, from the beginning, has been a major activity in the state (Kelley 1989). (more)

Water Foundation Visit: Dos Rios Ranch Preserve

From the Water Foundation – In May and again in June, the Water Foundation and our longtime grantee River Partners, brought together a number of partners–including friends and colleagues from American Rivers, Sustainable Conservation, and the California Indian Basketweavers Association to visit the Dos Rios Ranch Preserve, to learn about the 2,100-acre river and floodplain restoration site and how more such projects can be supported. The Dos Rios Ranch Preserve is a public-private floodplain restoration project that was developed to improve habitat for fish and wildlife while also boosting the resiliency of communities in California’s Central Valley by mitigating flood risk, recharging groundwater for use in dry times, capturing carbon naturally, ensuring access to cultural gathering sites for California tribes, and increasing recreational opportunities for California communities. The Preserve has been inundated with floodwater from an incredibly wet winter and a record snow pack that continues to melt, demonstrating its value to communities and ecosystems nearby and downstream and exemplifying the wisdom of advance planning and investment in multi-benefit water resources management. (more)

Permitting Reform Legislation to Benefit Sites Reservoir

From AgNet West– Sites Reservoir is one of the projects that will directly benefit from recent reforms to permitting requirements for water and energy infrastructure projects. The Sites Project Authority commended Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature for passing the legislative package. Projects certified by Newsom are eligible for a simplified approval process to bring the crucial infrastructure online at a quicker pace. “We are grateful to Governor Newsom and the State Legislature for their leadership on such a challenging aspect of our regulatory process,” Executive Director of the Sites Project Authority, Jerry Brown said in a press release. “Their actions to incorporate these policy changes will expedite securing our water supplies to become more resilient to a changing climate. These actions strike the right balance—time saved and costs reduced for delivery of critically important water projects like Sites, while still providing our communities and environments proper safeguards.” (more)

USACE Sacramento District: Natomas Basin – Reach A

From USACE, Sacramento District – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in partnership with the California Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB), California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA), will be constructing 3.5 miles of levee improvements along the Garden Highway levee from Farm Rd to Gateway Oaks Dr. This work is part of the American River Watershed Common Features – Natomas Basin project authorized by Congress in 2014. Geotechnical engineering analyses have shown that the levees are susceptible to seepage and many portions of the levee have significant landside slope stability and long-term operations and maintenance concerns. Upcoming levee improvements are expected to begin in 2022, and will address identified deficiencies by constructing an adjacent levee to widen the existing levee, installing seepage cutoff walls up to 145 feet deep, and constructing landside seepage berms. (more)

Cool Spring Was ‘Best Case Scenario’ for Snowmelt and River Levels

From ABC10 – Spring was unusually cool in Northern California this year, allowing for a manageable snowmelt period in what could’ve been a far more dangerous situation. While flooding due to snowmelt has certainly done damage to many valley and foothill communities following the record winter, the cool weather pattern to start the year has prevented the widespread, catastrophic flooding that could have occurred under different circumstances. California has spent the last few months mainly under the influence of low pressure systems. The systems have kept the region cool and allowed for a manageable snowmelt period. Sacramento so far has experienced one of its coolest Junes on record and is over three degrees below average. (more)

Threatened Species Return to Spawn In Sacramento River

From the Oakdale Leader – Dozens of adult sturgeon and hundreds of other large fish including threatened Chinook salmon have moved safely from receding floodwaters within the Yolo Bypass back to the Sacramento River thanks to the coordinated operation of the Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage among the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), NOAA Fisheries and Yolo County. Over one recent 48-hour period when the Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage was opened, the facility’s fish-counting sonar counted 55 sturgeon passing through the facility to the Sacramento River to migrate upstream and spawn. Sturgeon are large fish that often measure 6 to 7 feet long and certain species can live over a century. They must reach the river to spawn, which they do only every few years. (more)