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Summer 2012

Central Valley's New Flood Plan

At the June 29th meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, the long debated Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (Flood Plan) was adopted. After 6 months of intense debate between rural agricultural community interests and the state, the final Flood Plan went into effect. 

A major concern with the draft Flood Plan that was released in late 2011, was the new Feather River Bypass and Cherokee Canal that would have directed flood water from the Feather River into a new Bypass just north of Colusa.  The Boards final adoption of the Flood Plan included a resolution that eliminated the Cherokee Canal from the final Flood Plan.  The resolution also included a clear commitment to work with farmers, landowners and rural communities to address the potential impacts to agriculture.

An additional victory for rural property owners was that the Board did not adopt over 7,000 pages of appendices that was developed by the Department of Water Resources that had received little or no public input.  Theses appendices included vague maps of where setback levees may occur.  The state developed these maps in an effort to come up with cost estimates for the Flood Plan.  Family Water Alliance along with many others had grave concerns about including the appendices when it was an impossible task to read the thousands of pages of documents attached to the Plan.

During the six months that led up to the adoption of the Flood Plan hundreds of farmers, landowners, and rural community members wrote letters outlining their concerns about the Flood Plans impact on agriculture. As a result of these efforts and countless meetings the final Flood Plan is noticeably better that the draft that was released in 2011.  The next phase of planning for the Flood Plan is expected to start in the coming months.  It is incredibly important that agricultural interested remain engaged in the planning process with the state and assure that the commitment made to the agricultural community materializes. 

The Flood Plan still includes bypass expansions and setback levees that would take farmland out of production and negatively impact rural counties.  Assuring that such measures are only implemented when there is a clear threat to the safety of the public will be a critical component of the future phases of the planning process.  This is the main reason that agricultural interested need to remain engaged for many years to come. 

Family Water Alliance is committed to assuring the interests of rural communities are made clear to the State during the planning processes.  We will continue to keep you informed about upcoming meeting and events.  To be added to our mailing list, please email your information to fwa@frontiernet.net.  ■

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