As the Sacramento Bee reports, our levees are still not up to snuff and while that has to be fixed, the longer range solution to flooding in the Sacramento region is the construction of Auburn Dam and the raising of Shasta Dam to its originally engineered height, as we have posted on previously.
An excerpt from the Bee article.
“Levees protecting most of the city of Sacramento and 15 other areas of the Central Valley were declared on Thursday to have failed federal maintenance criteria. As a result, those levees are no longer eligible for federal money to rebuild if damaged in a storm.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the declaration after concluding that a new state plan to improve Central Valley levees does not provide enough detail to ensure that maintenance problems, such as erosion and intruding structures, will be fixed.
“The affected areas include 40 miles of levees wrapping most of the city of Sacramento on the American and Sacramento rivers. This system of levees, known on flood-control maps as Maintenance Area 9, includes the south bank of the American River from about Bradshaw Road downstream to the confluence with the Sacramento River, then downstream from there nearly to Courtland.
“The problems, according to the Corps, include many locations where homes, swimming pools, fences and other structures are built too close to the levee, or in some cases, on the levee itself.
“The poster child for this problem is Sacramento’s Pocket neighborhood, where encroaching structures leave no room for the 15-foot-wide maintenance corridor required by the Corps.
“This is a long-standing problem, one that would be difficult and expensive to fix.
“We understand this costs money, and money is a fiscal challenge for local governments,” said Col. William Leady, commander of the Corps’ Sacramento district.
“Levee safety standards need to be as uncompromising as floodwaters are. That’s the rationale behind why we’re kind of being hard-line.”
“The development marks another point of conflict between the engineers and local agencies.
“In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Corps began imposing its maintenance criteria uniformly across the nation. Previously, it had allowed a measure of local flexibility for unique conditions.”