Sutter County, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today participated in a groundbreaking for the Star Bend Setback Levee in Sutter County, an important project for improving local and regional flood protection that he expedited last year. Funding for the project was fast-tracked in February 2008 when Gov. Schwarzenegger released $211 million in Prop 1E funding for four early implementation projects. The Lower Feather River Setback Levee project received $16.3 million of that funding, which Levee District One in Sutter County used to help speed up their construction timeline.
“This is a great day because we are breaking ground on a public private partnership that will improve flood safety – and it is expected to be done ahead of schedule,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Improving our critical levee system has been a priority of mine, and to date we have fixed more than 100 sites. Levee projects like this one are keeping people safe, putting people to work and helping us build a foundation for a prosperous future.”
According to water officials, a levee break at the Lower Feather River Setback Levee could flood southern Sutter County and the southern portion of Yuba City. This project is a step toward restoring 100-year-level flood protection to the Yuba City basin.
The other three early implementation flood safety projects are:
•Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, Natomas Levee Improvement Program (Sacramento County): $49 million.
•Reclamation District 2103 (Wheatland), Bear River North Levee Rehabilitation Project (Yuba County): $7.4 million.
•Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority, Feather River Setback Levee (Yuba County): $138.5 million.
Today’s groundbreaking highlights the Governor’s commitment to strengthening California’s flood control system. In addition to expediting funding from voter-approved Prop 84 and Prop 1E, the Governor has:
•Signed legislation in October 2007 that will lead to the development of a comprehensive Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, reform the Reclamation Board to improve efficiency, require cities and counties to increase consideration of flood risks when making land use decisions and create a new standard in flood protection for urban development in the region.
•Signed AB 140, the $4 billion levee repair and flood control bond element of the Strategic Growth Plan approved by voters in November 2006, and signed AB 142 that appropriated $500 million from the general fund to the Department of Water Resources for levee evaluation and repair.
•Declared a State of Emergency in February 2006 for California’s levee system and ordered the Department of Water Resources to develop a plan to begin immediate repairs to prevent catastrophic flooding and loss of life. As a result, and with funding from AB 142, 33 of the most vulnerable levee sites in Northern California were repaired.