Flood Prone Sacramento

Sacramento has a 100 year flood protection level, which means there is a 50% chance we will flood; scary news every rainy year, which this one appears to be, based on the first storm of the season and another coming in Friday.

This article in the Sacramento Bee about the Natomas levees, points out the obvious.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento voters have made funding flood control a priority. They gave SAFCA’s work a massive boost in 2007 when they approved a local property tax assessment for flood protection – not just in Natomas, but citywide. This money allowed SAFCA to seek bond funds, approved by statewide voters, to undertake the Natomas work.

“Construction started in 2008, and it is a massive project. In some stretches, the new levee is 3 feet taller and 350 feet wider. The construction cost by the end of 2011 is estimated at $360 million.

“Where the levee could not be widened, some sections include new slurry walls up to 100 feet deep to prevent seepage through sand layers underneath the levee.

“The project employs about 200 people, according to SAFCA.

“We literally wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning to the sounds of large Caterpillars,” said Matt Breese, a homeowner on the land side of the Garden Highway levee along the Sacramento River. “It’s shake, rattle and roll all day long, all through the house.”

“Early on in the project design, Breese was told he would have to give up his house for the project. Later, SAFCA changed the design to build the levee around him.

“But Breese still lost a large slice of his front yard, along with several large shade trees. The property is now surrounded by a chain-link fence, noise and dust, and Breese’s three children lost access to farm fields they used to play in.

“I’m not sure we’ve been through the worst of it yet,” he said. “But there’s always a silver lining, and I truly believe, once it’s done, it’s going to benefit the community.”

“The eventual goal is to provide 200-year flood protection for Natomas. That means the risk of flooding would be about 13 percent over the life of a 30-year mortgage, compared with an estimated 50 percent risk now.

“The corps needs funding now just to achieve a 100-year level of protection in Natomas. It will need more money in years ahead to meet the 200-year goal.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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