Corps releases inspection ratings for Yuba County levees

Published April 17, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Inspections by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District rated a rural Yuba County levee system as unacceptable and gave a minimally acceptable rating to the urban levee system near Linda and Olivehurst.

The Sacramento District conducted a periodic inspection of the two levee systems Dec. 14, 2010 – Jan. 7, 2011. Initial findings were provided Nov. 18, 2011 for review to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and reclamation districts 784 and 817, which are responsible for maintaining the levee systems. Final reports were presented to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board March 22, 2013. The most serious deficiencies throughout both systems were encroachments, erosion, bank caving and rodent control. Unacceptable vegetation was noted during the inspections, but in neither system did vegetation result in an overall unacceptable rating.

“Levee inspections are all about making sure that a levee can reliably do what we expect it to,” said Meegan Nagy, Sacramento District levee safety program manager. “Our findings help the agencies that own and maintain these levees prioritize levee fixes – and help the public understand their flood risk and make informed decisions about their safety.” 

Inspection findings also determine levee systems’ continued eligibility for the Corps’ rehabilitation and inspection program, the Corps’ authority to provide federal assistance for flood fighting and repairing levees damaged by floods or storms. Systems rated unacceptable were found not to meet Corps levee safety criteria and are ineligible for federal aid in repairing flood or storm damage to levees until their deficiencies are corrected.

“The Central Valley Flood Protection Board and reclamation districts 784 and 817 are continuing to work collaboratively to resolve encroachment and maintenance issues with a goal of achieving an acceptable rating on all the levee systems,” said Len Marino, Chief Engineer for the Central Valley Flood Protection Board.  “The Board and our reclamation district partners share a common commitment to public safety and flood risk reduction.”  

The Corps will continue to provide flood fighting assistance for both systems, regardless of their status. When the maintenance problems have been corrected, the levee maintaining agencies may request a re-inspection of the levee system, and regain active status in the program if they’ve been adequately addressed.

Of the more than 6,500 miles of levees in the Central Valley, about 1,760 are in the Corps’ Levee Safety Program. Annual inspections of California levees sponsored by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board are conducted mostly by the California Department of Water Resources, with the Corps inspecting 10 percent of those levees annually for quality assurance. The Corps does not own or maintain any levees in the Central Valley, but continues to work with the board and local maintaining agencies to complete levee improvement projects and reduce flood risk throughout the valley.
Chris Gray

Release no. 13-016