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October 2007

THE CLEANING OF TISDALE BYPASS

   For decades, Family Water Alliance has voiced concerns over flood control in hopes to draw attention to the state of disrepair that our flood system is in.  Looking at the history of how our flood control Tisdale Bypass is shown in July 2003 filled with vegetation and habitat.system was created and maintained, it is easy to see what must be done today to protect our homes, business, farms and land from catastrophic flooding. 
     Today, we all have a reason to celebrate.  The Tisdale Bypass is currently being cleared out.  For over twenty years, very little maintenance has been done to the bypass, which is our safety valve during a flood event.  The bypass has been allowed to become clogged with sand, silt, vegetation and woody debris.  It is estimated that over two million cubic yards of sediment will be removed from the bypass at a cost of $4.7 million.
     Through the Department of Water Resources, DeSilva Gates Construction started the sediment removal project in August and it is expected to be completed by mid November.  The mitigation for the project will require 81 acres of forest riparian wetlands habitat, 227 acres of herbaceous seasonal wetlands, 16 acres of unvegetated waters, and 4 acres of open waters within the bypass and at other locations.  The trees along both sides of the bypass will remain in place. 
     During the sediment removal project there will be sixteen earthmovers hauling material six to seven days a week.  Numerous environmental permits and certificates had to be acquired prior toTisdale Bypass in late August 2007 freed from debilitating vegetation and debris leaving the channel clear for high river flows. construction including, CEQA, a 401 Water Quality Certificate from California Regional Water Quality Control Board, a Resolution Waiver for waste discharge requirements, a biological opinion from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a letter of no adverse affects from National Marines Fisheries Service, a Department of Fish and Game Streambed Alteration Agreement, Reclamation Board Encroachment Permit, and three U.S. Army Corps Nationwide Permits.  While it is evident that this project took many state and federal agencies working together, it is in the light of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina that such work is being done. 
     It is great to see that the State is looking out for the public safety of north state residents and starting to rehabilitate our flood control system.  This is a step in the right direction to protect our communities and livelihoods here in Northern California.  The State’s efforts deserve to be applauded.  It took not only FWA, but our north state legislators, concerned farmers and landowners, and Reclamation and Levee Districts, to reinforce the need to clean out the Tisdale Bypass and protect our north state communities. ■

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