WEST SAFCA APPROVES LEVEE ROUTE FOR SACRAMENTO RIVER SOUTHPORT EIP PROJECT AND RELEASES CERTIFIED ENIVRONMETNAL IMPACT REPORT
On August 14, 2014, the City of West Sacramento Board of Directors voted to approve the proposed route for the Sacramento River Southport Project (“SRSP”). The SRSP is part of West Sac Flood Protect program, which has already completed 10 miles of levee improvement projects, including the I Street Bridge Early Implementation Program. The West Sac Flood Protect program is led by a three-member board including representatives of the City of West Sacramento, Reclamation District 900, and Reclamation District 537. The Flood Protect Program is the result of a 2006 study of the condition of the levees surrounding the City of West Sacramento. Based on the study’s results, the City determined that the levee system contained several deficiencies requiring substantial levee modifications to meet the current flood protection standards required by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the state-level Central Valley Flood Protection Board. The SRSP is the fourth project in the City’s drive to address vulnerabilities in local levies.
The SRSP seeks to modify approximately six-miles of levee along the southeast edge of the City, which has been identified as the most vulnerable portion of the levee system. The project area encompasses a 3.6 square-mile area containing 5.6 miles of the existing levee structure along the South River corridor. The project area also contains all of the potential soil borrow sites. The landside of the project area is bordered primarily by private agricultural lands containing rural residences. Two small bodies of water known as Bees Lakes are located next to the levee landside toe near the middle of the construction area. On the waterside of the levee near Bees Lakes are two marines and multiple boat docks. Having obtained approval, WSAFCA will likely begin making offers to property owners who own land within or near the SRSP area. It is also likely that takings will be required for a new road and right-of-way alignment included as part of the project. The project will also require removal of the following facilities: the RD 900 inactive irragation pump station, a cell tower near Linden Road, an overhead power line and telecommunication lines located along the landside toe of the existing levee, and underground telecommunication lines within the levee prism.
The Board of Directors also voted to adopt Resolution number 14-08-01, certifying the final EIR for the project. The City has stated that a secondary purpose of the project as providing ecosystem restoration and public recreation opportunities for the surrounding area. The Final EIR is available here.
Funding to improve the 52 miles of levees surrounding the City has been estimated at roughly $460 million. State and Federal partnerships pay for up to 90% of the City’s total levee improvement projects. Local funding mechanisms include property tax assessments and voter-approved measures. Another source of funding for the project is the Early Implementation Program (“EIP”), created by Proposition 1E and Proposition 84. The EIP authorizes the Department of Water Resources to make funds available to local agencies for flood risk reduction work.