STORMWATCH


  • Reservoir and Levee Operation - ​On February 26th, DWR and the contractor began moving equipment from the reconstructed main spillway in case the flood facility needs to be used. The USBR will increase releases from Shasta and Folsom reservoirs in order to maintain safe space for inflow potential from projected precipitations and snowpack melt.  With the Feather River expected to rise 14 feet, the Yuba Water Agency began spilling water from New Bullards Bar Dam on February 25th. Work is being done on J Levee on Sacramento River near Hamilton City, and crews worked to repair levee leak along Cache Creek.

  • Governor Emergency Proclamation - On February 21st Governor Newsom issued an emergency proclamation for 21 counties to help communities respond to and recover from severe winter storms that have caused flooding, erosion, mudslides, power outages, and damage to critical infrastructure.  The Governor expanded the declaration for five more counties on February 28th.



LEGISLATIVE ISSUES


  • Delta Senator Proposes Oversight of WaterFix - Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced SB 204 to require the Delta Conveyance, Design and Construction Authority (DCA) to submit information to the Legislature before approving design and construction contracts for the WaterFix twin tunnels project. 
  • Changes to Definition and Regulation of Wetlands - The State Water Resources Control Board is nearing the end of a ten-year rulemaking process that will expand the definition of waters of the state and determine when and where water board permits for any activities is necessary for dredge and fill activities. The water board will vote on adoption at their meeting on April 2, 2019. The federal definition of the Waters of the United State (WOTUS) has also been released by the USACE and U.S. EPA, which will replace the much-litigated definition adopted during the Obama Administration.  Fewer ditches and ephemeral features will be considered jurisdictional.  EPA and USACE held public meetings and webinars in February to explain the proposed changes. The deadline to comment on the new definition is April 15, 2019.  
  • Flood Insurance for Farmers Act - Congressmen John Garamendi (D-Davis) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Chico) have reintroduced legislation, H.R. 830, to provide farmers access to discounted rates under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and lift the de facto construction and repair prohibition of agricultural structures in high flood risk areas designated by FEMA. 
  • Governor Appointments - Governor Newsom announced Wade Crowfoot as the new Secretary of Natural Resources. Crowfoot previously worked for Newsom when he was Mayor of San Francisco and has worked in the Brown Administration, for the Environmental Defense Fund and the Water Foundation.
  • Sacramento Region Benefits from Federal Flood Protection Funding - The fiscal year 2019 federal budget includes $53.5 funding for flood protection projects in the Sacramento Valley.  The Natomas Basin levee project will receive $22.6 million, the Sacramento River Bank Protection Project will receive $19.25 to construct erosion protection on the Feather River, and Hamilton City will receive $6.6 million to complete a multipurpose project. Funding is also designated for preconstruction engineering and design work for Lower San Joaquin River and West Sacramento projects.
  • Federal Water Infrastructure Bill Signed Into Law - President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act (S. 301) authorizing $6.1 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for reducing flood risks and additional funds for improving the nation’s rivers, harbors, and drinking water supply.  The bill will also defund programs that Congress deems “inefficient.” The WRDA legislation also includes the Water Workforce Development bill language establishing a federal grant program to fund $1 million per year for training and career development of workers in the water and wastewater industries.  With nearly 50% of water industry employees eligible to retire in the next 5-10 years, the new program is intended to attract younger and more diverse work force.
  • Governor Brown Signs Budget Bill - On June 27, 2018 the Governor signed the fiscal year 2018-19 Budget Bill which includes a $295 million general Fund augmentation for Central Valley levees. He also signed the resources budget trailer bill, SB 854, which includes amendments to the Delta Levee Maintenance Subventions Program (Section 50 of the trailer bill, page 123) the Association negotiated with the Administration to prevent the local cost share from doubling on July 1, 2018 by deleting the sunset provision to make the current 75% cost share permanent.
  • CCVFCA Submits Budget Request - The Association submitted a budget request to the Legislature for annual $100 million General Fund appropriation for ongoing levee improvements and routine maintenance and a one-time $400 million appropriation to fund the repair of levees damaged in the 2017 storm events.
  • Proposed DWR and CVFPB Budgets - Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) report reveals a 76% reduction in DWR's budget from $2 billion to only $475 million due to how bond revenues are accounted for on an annual basis and same level of funding as last year, $9.6 million, for the Central Valley Flood Protection Board to fund their activities and 47 staff positions. However, the CVFPB's budget allocation is entirely reliant on General Fund and not bonds, so the LAO recommends the Board submit a report on February 1, 2019 that describes their progress in generating operating revenues from other funding mechanisms such as permit fees, levee inspection fees, fines for encroachment violations, renewing lease and royalty agreements with higher rates, and collecting assessments through the Sacramento San Joaquin Drainage District.
  • President Trump's 2019 Budget - Federal budge for 2019 proposes $5 billion nationwide for U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Civil Works Program, including further levee improvements for Yuba City, Natomas, and Hamilton City (see page 10).
  • Legislators Form Delta Caucus - Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Jim Frazier announced the formation of a legislative Delta Caucus to provide a collaborative venue for keeping the Delta delegation updated, briefed, and educated on the important policy issues affecting their region.

910 K St., Suite 310, Sacramento, CA, 95814

(916) 446-0197

Melinda Terry, Executive Director

CALIFORNIA CENTRAL VALLEY

FLOOD CONTROL ASSOCIATION

Resources and information for flood managers, elected officials, and those living in Central Valley floodplains.



Together for the flood fight -- since 1926.

CALENDAR ALERTS

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March 20 – CCVFCA Flood Forum, Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento, 10:00 am
March 21 – DSC adopt Smith Canal appeal findings, 110 W. Fremont St, Stockton, 10:00 am
March 27Symposium on Flood/Drought, Scripps Institute, San Diego
April 15 – Deadline to comment on new WOTUS definition


REMINDER - CCVFCA FLOOD FORUM

The annual Flood Forum will be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at a new location – The Dante Club, 2330 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento.  A panel of speakers will discuss the potential opportunities and challenges associated with an upcoming study to evaluate the feasibility of re-establishing the Sacramento San Joaquin Drainage District property assessment. Speakers will be:  Leslie Gallagher, Executive Office of CVFPB; Scott Shapiro, partner at Downy Brand LLP; and Tim Washburn with the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency.  ​​​



LATEST NEWS


  • CVFPB Adopts New Encroachment Fees - In November 2018 the flood board approved regulations establishing fees for encroachment permit and inspection. If the regulations are approved by the Office of Administrative Law, then the board staff anticipates the fees being implemented (collected) sometime in Spring 2019.
  • FERC Releases After-Action Report on Oroville Dam Incident -  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission convened a panel to review and identify any shortcomings of the Commission’s dam safety program. Their report found that dam inspectors failed to identify structural problems due to overlooking technical details during safety evaluations. FERC will now determine how to address the recommendations in the report.
  • Feds Worried Oroville Dam Can’t Withstand Large Flood - Just as DWR announced completion of main spillway repairs at Oroville, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent a letter to the State claiming the dam cannot handle a mega-flood.  
  • Nutria Control ​- The rodents of unusual size known as Nutria are a threat to crops and levees.  CDFW has issued protocols for identifying and reporting sightings of Nutria and best practices to prevent canal failure and flooding.
  • Making State’s Infrastructure Climate-Safe - A work group comprised of scientific and engineering experts released a report regarding making California’s infrastructure more resilient to growing threats of climate change.  It provides a framework for incorporating climate change impacts into planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of critical infrastructure.
  • Federal Agency Overwhelmed by Disasters - A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) claims the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was forced to rely on uncertified workers in key roles when multiple hurricane disasters and subsequent wildfires in California stretched their staff beyond their limit. In a letter responding to the GAO report critical of federal emergency response capabilities, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged the nation’s ability to respond and recover from multiple concurrent disasters was tested in 2017.  Unfortunately the report did not provide any recommendations for improving disaster response in the future.
  • CCVFCA Comments on USACE Categorical Permission - Pursuant to a Public Notice by the USACE Sacramento District proposing use of Categorical Permission for certain minor alterations of the SPFC project, a CCVFCA comment letter supporting adoption of this new policy was submitted.  RD 17 letter was also submitted.
  • Court Rules Schools and Roads Required to Pay Property Assessments -  In 2015, CCVFCA filed a brief supporting RD 17's appeal of lower court decision on flood protection assessments, so is pleased by recent court decision to clarify inconsistency between water statutes and State Constitution. A recent Third Court of Appeal decision concluded that schools and roads are no longer exempted from paying local property assessments because the Constitutional provision added by Prop. 218 supersedes other existing statutes. 
  • DWR Discusses Sacramento Bypass Setback Levee Project - At the November Coordinating Committee, DWR described the flood reduction and habitat benefits of Lower Elk Horn project proposing to set back the northern levee on the Sacramento Bypass and the adjacent levee on east side of the Yolo Bypass.
  • FEMA Disaster Deductible - DWR and CA State Association of Counties (CSAC) submit comments to FEMA on their conceptual proposal to require state and local government agencies to pay a deductible before receiving federal disaster assistance.
  • Flood Funding Fact Sheet - A recent PPIC flood funding fact sheet asserts that flood risk is growing in the Central Valley, but funding for flood management is not. The Public Policy Institute of California claims that at a minimum the state needs to spend $34 billion to upgrade levee infrastructure over the next 25 years -- $1.4 billion per year -- twice the current level of flood management expenditures.
  • Searchable Online National Levee Database - Ever wonder which Central Valley project levees are ineligible for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) PL 84-99 funding (RIP)?  Ever wonder when the last Periodic Inspection report was done on a USACE project levee and what the results were?  Ever wonder what the official name of a particular levee segment is?  All this and more has been entered into the National Levee Database (NLD) developed by the USACE that allows numerous ways to search including finding reports on levees located within your state, zip code, or address.  Authorized by Congress in 2007, the database contains information to link activities, such as flood risk communication, levee system evaluation for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), levee system inspections, flood plain management, and risk assessments.  

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Learn more about legislative, legal, and regulatory flood control issues.