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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why am I paying an assessment to the American River Flood Control District?

If you have an assessment on your tax bill labeled American River Flood Zone A, B, or C, your property is in the American River Flood Control District and may flood should one of the levees fail or be overtopped. Therefore, your property is receiving a special benefit by our levee maintenance and is being assessed in proportion to the benefit received.

2. What is the difference between ARFCD Zones A, B and C on my tax bills?

The District is divided into three geographic zones of benefit based on the levees which protect a particular property from flooding. Zone A is generally the area south of Dry Creek, north of Arcade Creek and east of Steelhead Creek; Zone B is generally the area south of Arcade Creek, north of the American River and east of Steelhead Creek; Zone C is the area south of the American River. The assessment for each zone is calculated by multiplying the total District operation and maintenance costs by the ratio of levee miles protecting that zone to the total levee miles maintained by the District. The assessment for each zone is then spread proportionally among the properties which make up that particular zone based on the land use (i.e. residential or commercial) and size of each parcel.

3. Who is SAFCA?

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency or SAFCA is the regional flood control agency. They are a joint powers authority formed by the City of Sacramento, Sacramento County, Sutter County, the American River Flood Control District and Reclamation District 1000. SAFCA has a 13 member Board of Directors comprised of elected officials from each of the joint power agencies. Their purpose is to be the local partner with the Army Corps of Engineers and State of California on the planning and construction of major flood control improvements such as the recent slurry wall work on both the American and Sacramento Rivers

4. Why do I pay a flood control assessment to both SAFCA and ARFCD?

The assessment paid to SAFCA funds their planning effort plus the local cost share of the major flood control projects. In addition to the slurry wall, future projects to be funded through SAFCA include outlet modifications to Folsom Dam for greater efficiency during floods and raising Folsom Dam seven feet. Typically, the local share for these projects is about 10% to 20% with the remainder funded by the Federal and State government. The American River Flood Control District or ARFCD assessments, on the other hand, are used to fund the day to day maintenance of the levees, small capital projects and the first response during a flood emergency.

5. How do I find out if I am in a floodplain and subject to flood insurance?

Under the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, if you are in the FEMA floodplain where there is greater than a 1% chance of flooding in any year (typically referred to as the 100 year floodplain) you must have flood insurance for any federally backed home loan. To find out if you are in the FEMA floodplain you should call 916-264-5061 if you live in the City of Sacramento or 916-874-7517 if you live in the County of Sacramento.

6. What should I do if I see a problem on the levee?

If you see a problem on the levee, immediately contact our District office at (916) 929-4006 and explain what you have seen. Whether during a flood or not, it is important that any leaks or boils be reported as soon as possible so our crews can assess the situation and take appropriate action to prevent degradation of the levee.

7. What is a levee “boil”?

A levee boil is caused by water seeping under the levee and pushing its way up to the surface on the landside of the levee. Since the water level is much higher in the river during a flood, the water being pushed under the levee is under pressure and when it reaches the surface it bubbles up like a small geyser, hence the term "boil". If the pressure is high, the water being forced under the levee may begin to push soil materials from within or under the levee. This can be a very dangerous situation because if enough material is eroded from underneath the levee, the levee could collapse allowing water to pour over the top and eventually fail the entire levee. The typical remedy for a boil is to ring it with sand bags high enough to equalize the pressure and stop the flow of water — or least reduce the pressure so no soil is being carried and the water flow is clear.