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West Sacramento News-Ledger

West Sacramento Officials Tour Levee Improvement Project

Apr 30, 2024 02:50PM ● By Angela Underwood

Mayor Martha Guerrero and Col Chad Caldwell-Sacramento District Commander stand at the April 22, Earth Day tour of the new Southport Levee Improvement Project. Photo courtesy of the City of West Sacramento

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Earth Day in West Sacramento involved more than just planting some trees.

April 22, the annual day dedicated to the planet's health, involved a comprehensive tour of the Southport Levee Improvement Project. Officials, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District Commander Col. Chad Caldwell, Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Mayor Martha Guerrero, gathered to enjoy the fresh land and fruits of the city's labor.

"More than 77,000 plants, trees, and shrubs were planted during construction of the setback levee, creating a 120-acre ecosystem for critters and waterfowl," West Sacramento public information officer Paul Hosley said.

The Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006 quickened cities all over the Golden State to immediately begin managing their levees. One of those cities is West Sacramento. The West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency reports that it "is working quickly and efficiently to face the challenges of stricter flood control standards imposed by the state in 2006 that must be met by 2030," according to the city website. 

Greg Fabun, City of West Sacramento Flood general manager, said the Southport Levee project is vital to West Sacramento's overall, "providing an increased level of flood protection that incorporates modern levee design standards and recent climate change modeling."

The city currently has two ongoing levee projects, the Yolo Bypass East and the Sacramento River West North, along with other completed projects, including the Southport Levee, which is 5.6 miles long and extends from river mile 57.2 to river mile 51.6. 

Southport Levee Improvement Project

 Pictured here is an overall view of the new Southport Levee Improvement Project vegetation growth in the last two years. Photo courtesy of the City of West Sacramento

The $80,000,000 construction created flood risk-reduction measures, addressing "deficiencies of through-seepage, under-seepage, slope stability and geometry, erosion, encroachments, and non-compliant vegetation," according to the city website.

When the project was underway, it promised a greener future, stating that "it would provide opportunities for ecosystem restoration and public recreation," as well as meeting federal and state levee design criteria.

The promise was kept and displayed during the Earth Day tour, which was attended by Councilmembers Verna Sulpizio-Hull, Quirina Orozco, Dawnte Early, and Assistant Secretary of the Army Michael Connor. Fabun said the levee improvements provide at least 200 years of flood protection for West Sacramento residents.

"The floodplain and habitat restoration components of the project allowed for on-site mitigation for the Southport Levee Improvement Project, with additional habitat available for future levee project impacts," Fabun said.

According to Fabun, the levee project's significant financial sponsor is the federal funding made possible through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which paid up to 65% of the project costs. The remaining 35% was paid for by the State of California and the West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, 70% and 30%, respectively.

"Without the United States Army Corps of Engineers and its contributions, plus support from Congresswoman Matsui, these projects would not be feasible," Fabun said.

Officials say even greener pastures are to come. The top of the setback levee will have pavement and an additional 5.6 miles of Class 1 bike lanes, adding to West Sacramento's 61-mile-long trail network.

Chad Caldwell Verna Sulpizio-Hull Quirina Orozco Dawnte Early Martha Guerrero Doris Matsui Michael Connor

 From left are Col Chad Caldwell-Sacramento District Commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, West Sacramento City Councilmember Verna Sulpizio-Hull, Councilmember Quirina Orozco, Councilmember Dawnte' Early, Mayor Martha Guerrero, Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Assistant Secretary of the Army Michael Connor. Photo courtesy of the City of West Sacramento


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