ICYMI 3/30/23: Concerns Rise over SJ Valley Flooding

The Current Situation

Sierra Nevada Storage – UCSD/Scripps Institute 3/27/23
The following figure shows the most recent summary of reservoir water storage and reservoir-plus-snowpack water storage for the westward draining Southern Sierra Nevada, based on daily California Department of Water Resources’ reports of storage in 28 reservoirs
and of state-averaged snow-water content.

SHERRIF’S OFFICE: San Joaquin River Closed to Recreational Boat Traffic – 3/30/23
The San Joaquin River is closed to recreational boat traffic from the Deepwater Channel to the Stanislaus County line. The releases of water upriver, combined with heavy rains have caused the rivers & sloughs in the south Delta to reach extremely high levels on surrounding levees. Wakes from boats at high tides, could pose a risk to levee stability in some areas. Be proactive and stay safe!

As floods endanger the San Joaquin Valley, Newsom cuts funding for floodplains – CalMatters 3/29/23
River Partners is nearing completion on a 2,000-acre floodplain project called Dos Rios Ranch Preserve at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers. But Machado said other projects to restore the San Joaquin Valley’s floodplains have lagged. 
While the Yolo Bypass, which runs between Davis and Sacramento, is undergoing a substantial expansion, “there’s a proposal to do the same type of project on the San Joaquin River (that’s) never (been) finished,” he said. The Paradise Cut Bypass Expansion Project, just upstream from Stockton, has not moved past the planning stage. (The project has not been fully funded and is not part of the budget cuts.) 
“It’s been, like, 15 years in the making,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, an environmental justice group in Stockton. “We always lose on infrastructure funding here.”

Funding to protect valley towns from flooding yanked out of budget even as climate change increases threat – SJV Water 2/3/23
Advocates had worked for years to get that money into the budget, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor last fall. It would have supported up to eight projects throughout the valley, including two potentially along the Kern River.

“That was super disappointing,” said former Assemblymember Adam Gray, of the pending funding cut. Gray represented the Merced area for a decade before narrowly losing a bid for Congress this past fall. 

He said the funding would have gone to River Partners, a nonprofit river restoration group, to find “optimal locations in the San Joaquin Valley to do habitat restoration that would also provide flood control and groundwater recharge.”

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