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Participants sought for flood management plan

Central Valley flood protection is entering a new era as work on an updated, comprehensive management plan gets underway.

This month, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) officially launched a process to coordinate improving the valley’s flood control efforts under the Central Valley Flood Management Planning (CVFMP) Program. The process began for the Sacramento area Wednesday, when DWR held a regional forum in West Sacramento as part of the effort to strengthen levees in the state-federal flood management system.

The forum’s goals were to increase understanding of the area’s flood risk, raise awareness of the CVFMP Program and recruit people into the planning process.

"We’re trying to decrease the chance of disruptive floods," said Ken Kirby of Kirby Consulting Group. "As long as we continue to live and work and play in the flood plain, there will always be a danger of flooding."

The forum, held in West Sacramento’s City Hall Galleria, brought together agencies, organizations and individuals concerned about flooding by the lower Sacramento River. Those taking part included staff from the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the city of Galt, Solano County, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, the Sacramento Area Council of Goverments and several reclamation districts.

Under California Senate Bill 5, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law in 2007, the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) must be adopted by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board by 2012, and by 2015, progress must be made toward 200-year flood protection in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys to enable governments to approve flood plain development. Both CVFMP and CVFPP are part of a larger, statewide flood management called FloodSAFE California.

The CVFMP Program is being developed to reduce the chance of flooding and to lessen the consequences of any floods. The program will assess the current condition of levees and other aspects of the flood protection system, build people’s understanding of local flood risk and integrate flood-management efforts.

State propositions 1E and 84 provided $4.9 billion to be used from 2007 to 2017 to help DWR improve flood management in California.

The CVFMP Program is required to document everything that makes up the Central Valley’s current flood control system. The program must also develop a flood control system status report that analyzes how the system’s working, assesses the risk of levee failure and recommends solutions to fix the system.

The program will focus on areas protected by levees in the state-federal system. However, communities protected by other levees will be included in the study area.

On Wednesday, DWR began recruiting people for CVFMP work groups. Some at the forum expressed doubt over being able to take part after hearing that 40 hours of work per month would be involved.

DWR staff believes there will still be more than enough participants who can provide a broad perspective for the process, said DWR spokesperson Elizabeth Scott.

Work groups get underway within weeks.

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