WASHINGTON, DC – Over the weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for most levee construction in America, approved part of the Sutter-Butte Flood Control Agency’s (SBFCA) Section 408 permit. This approved permit will allow SBFCA to begin construction immediately on a portion of the Feather River West Levee Project. The one mile stretch of levee along the Shanghai Bend in Sutter County is at an elevated risk of flooding after sustaining damage in recent high water events. The levee has already failed twice, with the last failure causing 38 deaths. While this approval covers some of the higher risk levees on the Feather River levee, approximately 95,000 people remain at risk of flooding until the Corps approves construction for the remaining levees and repairs are completed.
“We thank the Army of Corps of Engineers for listening to the Sutter-Butte community on the importance of immediate action to fix the Shanghai Bend levee. This investment will save lives, and we’re pleased that on this stretch of the Feather River, no one will have to live with the regret of inaction,” said Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA3) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA1). “Democrats and Republicans on the local, state, and federal levels have worked closely to make it clear that the region speaks with one mind on the need to protect our constituents from disastrous flooding. This is how government is supposed to work. We look forward to the Army Corps’ final approval on the entire Section 408 permit so the remaining portion of the Feather River levees can also be repaired.”
Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA3) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA1), who represent Sutter and Butte counties respectively, sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers
last month urging expedited review of the permitting needed for the Feather River West Levee project, including the Shanghai Bend. During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing last month, Garamendi told Gen. Walsh of the Army Corps that the Sutter-Butte Levee Project is of “utmost importance to Yuba City and the surrounding communities” and highlighted the Shanghai Bend section (video and a transcript are linked here
“We’re glad we’re seeing progress on the Shanghai Bend. However, our districts are home to hundreds of miles of rivers, and from the Delta to the Feather River, we’re one calamitous rainstorm away from an entirely preventable tragedy. Congress must do much more to adequately fund levee construction and repair. Flood risk is inevitable; flooding in areas with substantial populations is man-made,” said Congressmen Garamendi and LaMalfa.
The Shanghai Bend levee project is shovel ready, and it is imperative for construction to begin no later than July, because the Feather River levee must be completed before the next flood season begins this fall.