Sutter County residents are invited to a community barbeque June 9 to celebrate completion of Phase 1 of the Feather River West Levee Project and emergency repairs to nearly three miles of Yuba City levee. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at Shanghai Bend.
The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency is a local government agency jointly formed by Sutter County, Butte County, and the cities of Biggs, Gridley, Live Oak, and Yuba City, to repair 44 miles of levees from Thermalito Afterbay below Oroville Dam in south Butte County south to the Sutter Bypass. The goal of the project is to reduce flood risk and eventually remove more than 34,000 properties from FEMA Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Levee repairs were scheduled to be completed in two phases. Phase 1, consisting of more than 30 miles of slurry walls and/or berms, has been completed. A portion of the repairs have been completed on Phase 2, a nine-mile section from south of Starr Bend to the Sutter Bypass, but there are eight more miles to complete. SBFCA expects five more miles to be completed next year, pending federal financial participation
The repairs were needed because levees along the west bank of the Feather River suffered from potential underseepage and through-seepage. Similar problems caused major levee failures in Yuba City in 1955, and Yuba County in 1986 and 1997.
The levee improvement program is designed to:
- Increase public safety by providing 200-year flood protection to Biggs, Gridley, Live Oak, and most of Yuba City, and improve flood protection for the less populated areas south of Yuba City.
- Save property owners tens of millions each year in mandatory flood insurance costs by delaying or preventing FEMA floodplain mapping.
- Allow cities and counties the freedom to implement general plans, which will soon be severely restricted for any urban or urbanizing community without 200-year flood protection. This would not apply to rural communities (areas with fewer than 10,000 residents).
- Maintain the rights of property owners to make substantial improvements to property without new state or federal land use restrictions.
- Sustain and grow the local economy by creating construction jobs, protecting property values, and allowing for responsible residential, commercial and industrial development.