Cache Creek flood study may be expedited under water bill
The House on Wednesday night approved a nearly $3 billion bill to improve the nation’s ports, dams and harbors, protect against floods, restore shorelines and support other water-related projects.
As part of that legislation, Congressman John Garamendi, D-3rd District, was able to insert language that will expedite a Cache Creek flood study through the Army Corps of Engineers.
Woodland has been seeking completion of the study for some time to provide greater protection to the north and northeast side of the community.
“The Sacramento Valley is one of the most flood prone areas in the entire country,” stated Garamendi. “My district has 782 miles of levees, providing flood protection for urban and rural communities alike, which is why this legislation is so important to the region.
“This is the third Water Resources Development bill I’ve worked on during my service in Congress, and I’m pleased that it advances numerous projects that will make my constituents safer,” he added. “This legislation, and my continued work with Army Corps of Engineers local and national leadership, will help reduce the risk of future flood events.”
Also included in the bill was reauthorization of the National Levee Safety Initiative, which provides funding to map non-federal levees across the nation; and language that makes it easier for the Army Corps to construct more environmentally friendly setback levees where appropriate.
The Water Resources Development Act would authorize a host of other projects nationwide, including nearly $1 billion for a massive project to stem coastal erosion in Galveston, Texas, and restore wetlands and marshes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The bill also would boost a project to deepen and expand the harbor in Savannah, Georgia, and direct the Army Corps of Engineers to study two dozen projects to reduce flood risks, improve navigation and protect against aquatic invasive species.
Lawmakers approved the bill 408-2, sending it to the Senate, where a similar bill is under consideration.
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the water projects bill targets important investments in the nation’s harbors, ports, locks, dams, inland waterways and other infrastructure.
“You don’t have to live near a port or a major waterway to experience” the benefits of these projects, he said during House debate.
Water-resource projects directly affect “how efficiently the things we buy get onto store shelves and how quickly the goods we produce get to markets around the world,” Shuster said. “They grow our local, regional and national economies, and they create good-paying jobs.”
Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., hailed the Savannah harbor project, in particular, noting that the harbor has become a major hub of exports of chicken and other products. About 11 percent of all sales in Georgia are goods that have moved through state ports, Woodall said, with nearly 10 percent of the state’s employment related to ports.
If approved by Congress and signed by the president, the water-projects bill would be the third two-year authorization in a row approved by Congress. The 2014 and 2016 laws came after Congress failed to approve a water-resources law for more than seven years because of partisan differences.