Improving the River Park Levee Slope
In the past, some residents whose property is next to the River Park levee obtained permits to install landscaping and vegetation terraces at the bottom of the levee, also known as the levee toe. For some, these features were even permitted on the levee slope. Over time many of these landscape features were not maintained and eventually became overgrown or deteriorated. Many sites became a mysterious lump on the side of the levee or a mound at the levee toe. These encroachments interfere with our ability to mow and traverse the levees on foot. They also limit our ability to inspect the levees and identify new problem areas during a flood event.
Keeping Levees Accessible and Safe
In an ongoing effort to keep our levees accessible and safe, the American River Flood Control District developed a collaborative project with River Park residents to improve the condition of their levee slope. To maintain a clean and uniform levee slope and a levee toe with clear access for maintenance and flood inspection, in 2008 the District began working with numerous landowners to remove abandoned encroachments. We used a long-reach excavator positioned at the top of the levee to remove deteriorating retaining walls, debris, and mounds of dirt. The result was a clean levee slope free of obstructions that will no longer compromise levee safety. We then restored each site with a grass seed mix and erosion control straw and wattles (a tube of straw used to slow water run-off). With the help of participating landowners, we placed timed watering systems at each site to provide the optimum amount of watering for healthy germination. These sites now have a lush mat of grass to help the slope resist erosion.
Requesting Service in Your Area
This successful effort was a great opportunity to connect with the community and provide information on the importance of uncluttered, well-maintained levees. Numerous residents approached us during the work to ask what we were doing. We are happy to offer these services to anyone expressing interest in seeing a cleaner levee behind his or her home. Based on these contacts, we added numerous sites to the 2008 and 2009 schedule. We welcome the continued support and interest of our neighbors in River Park. If you live next to the levee anywhere in the District and want to request these services, call (916) 929-4006.
Flood Fight Training
Every fall there are the reminders that winter is coming. Leaves change colors and start to fall; clouds gather and sprinkle us with rain; and, if you are around Cal Expo, you'll see crews of levee maintenance personnel and flood fighters flock to the annual Flood Fight Training along the American River levee. You will see new recruits and old hands training to properly fill and install sand bags and practice other necessary tasks like applying plastic wave wash protection to levee slopes.
Each year the District's crew as well as the crew of the County of Sacramento and other local levee maintenance districts gather for training in Flood Fight Techniques. This training is provided by the State of California's Department of Water Resources and the trainers are veterans of flood fight situations all across the state.
These lessons learned may help us meet problems in the next inevitable high water event in Sacramento. We are truly fortunate to have them share their expertise with our staff and others in the flood control community.