City of Woodland
300 First Street
Woodland, CA 95695
WOODLAND, CA – The Lower Cache Creek Feasibility Study is back underway following a multi-year hiatus to allow for additional study by the State and the City of possible impacts of flood risk reduction projects. The US Army Corps of Engineers-led study, in partnership with the City of Woodland and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB), aims to identify a locally-supported flood risk reduction project to provide protection for the City of Woodland and adjacent critical infrastructure, including Interstate 5.
The study commenced in late 2013, but was put on hold in January 2015 at the request of the City and CVFPB. At the time, the USACE had narrowed its study to two flood protection alternatives. Both proposed to collect floodwater leaving Cache Creek, intercept the water before reaching Woodland, and divert it to the Yolo Bypass. One of the two alternatives proposes to convey floodwater into the Cache Creek Settling Basin before reaching the Yolo Bypass. The other alternative, which would divert water directly to the Yolo Bypass, seemed likely to be eliminated from further consideration due to higher costs. Both alternatives had issues that needed to be better understood to gain local and state support.
“We needed some time to do a deeper dive on some issues that could jeopardize support for the Corps’ preferred plan,” said City Manager Paul Navazio. “This included project costs, potential impacts to areas north of the City, and sediment transport – particularly mercury – into the Cache Creek Settling Basin.”
During the pause, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded an Urban Flood Risk Reduction grant to the City, the proceeds from which paid for a UC Davis study on sediment transport, along with an engineering analysis that evaluated areas north of the City to ensure that a plan could be developed that benefited the entire community, not just the urban area.
“We can’t support any plan that does harm to those outside the protected areas,” said Mayor Enrique Fernandez. “We also needed to confirm some of the cost estimates to make sure we develop a project that maximizes opportunity for federal funding support.”
“The additional work that was done indicated that the Corps’ plan would not have adverse impacts on the sediment trapping efficiency of the Cache Creek Settling Basin, or to residents north of the project area,” said Bill Edgar, President of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board. “The work performed by the State and City was critical in solidifying state support.”
The results of the analyses were provided to the USACE in mid-2016 to improve the study’s level of detail and reduce uncertainties related to the project cost. By that time, however, the USACE Headquarters had classified the study as inactive. Approval for its reactivation required some assistance and support from Congressman John Garamendi and the CVFPB.
Garamendi’s office was notified on August 28 that the USACE Headquarters will reactivate the study, which will start with identifying the scope, schedule and funding necessary for its completion.
“Ensuring the safety of the communities I represent is my top priority in Congress,” said Garamendi. “Working in conjunction with city leaders in Woodland and the US Army Corps of Engineers, we were able to secure support in Washington to reactivate the Lower Cache Creek Feasibility Study, which will move the City of Woodland one step closer to securing better flood control and smarter pathways to economic development.” On Wednesday, Garamendi sent a letter to the Corps urging full funding for an expedited completion of the study.
Ultimately, the City’s goals are to increase public safety, meet state and federal requirements for urban flood protection, reduce the cost of flood insurance, and facilitate economic stability for the City by allowing responsible, smart development.
The USACE will use the results of the study to identify if there is a Federal interest in a project to manage the flood risk. If the USACE determines there is a Federal interest in a project, it will issue a Chief’s Report, recommending to Congress that the project be authorized, and making the project eligible for federal funding. It can also help in identifying and securing additional state funding.
For more information, contact City of Woodland Principal Utilities Engineer Tim Busch at (530) 661-5963.
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