Watch CBS News

Dozens of flood control projects underway in Sacramento area

These flood control projects are underway across Sacramento area
These flood control projects are underway across Sacramento area 02:01

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento has some of the highest flood risk in the nation, and the sunny skies and receding rivers mean flood control crews can get back to work on projects that protect the region.

There are two dozen projects underway right now including eight new projects this year. It's an effort to help protect the Central Valley from strong storms that can cause lakes and rivers to rapidly rise.

"We've seen some pretty significant flooding in this region, and then we've seen the most recent set of winters where we've had atmospheric river conditions back to back and we see the extremes of climate change," said Michael Conner, assistant secretary with the U.S. Army.

Several billion dollars are being spent to strengthen levees and expand flood control capacity.

"We have a responsibility to protect our homes, our families, our business," Congresswoman Doris Matsui said.

Matsui is touring some of the construction sites this week, including a new levee in West Sacramento that's set back from the river to reduce erosion.

It also creates a natural buffer zone for wildlife and recreation.

"We started thinking about instead of fighting nature, why can't we look to see how we can work with nature," Matsui said.

At Folsom Lake, giant new stop logs are being delivered which will be attached to the current dam gates. Each metal beam is 50 feet wide and 10 feet tall. The dam gates are being raised an additional three feet to hold back more water during wet winters.

Expansion is also underway to modernize the Sacramento weir. The project will nearly double the capacity, allowing floodwaters to be diverted into the Yolo Bypass and away from Downtown Sacramento.

"That weir was over 100 years old," Matsui said. "That's good progress."

"We know whatever the risk has historically been, it's going to be greater," Conner said.

If Sacramento does not achieve a 200-year level of flood protection by next year, all new residential and commercial construction projects could be suspended.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.