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$17 Billion Flood Protection Plan Proposed



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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, January 27, 2012

The plan deals with 17 billion dollars in projects to be performed in the next 25 years. 

Among the big ticket items are the expansion of several existing bypasses and the creation of two new ones.  One would be on the San Joaquin River south of Stockton and the other on the Feather River north of Yuba City.

DWR's Mike Mierzwa says flood protection can't be improved at the expense of the local habitat.

MIERZWA: "There's an issue of fish stranding.  The ideal from an ecological standpoint is, as that water level drops, portions of the bypass are still wet -to allow fish that are travelling up the bypass or down the pass to continue travelling."

The plan asks for 100-year flood protection to 27 rural California communities and 200-year protection to some larger ones.  Part of that protection would come from improvements to levees and levee access roads.

Mierzwa says the department still has some voter-approved bond money available, but at least 14 billion dollars will have to come federal, state, and local sources.

MIERZWA: "One could actually be a fee that's assessed on the beneficiaries, instead of it going to a bond, it could actually rotate into the state's general fund, but be earmarked for flood-management activities."

This is the first time the department has combined the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys' flood protection into one plan.

The Protection Board will take public comment and review the proposal. The board has until July to finalize a plan.

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