USA: WRRDA to Provide Benefits for California Waterways

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Chair of the joint House-Senate Conference Committee, released a summary of the benefits for California in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) conference report.

The final agreement provides critical flood protection, restores important ecosystems, and maintains ports and navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods throughout the State of California.

Senator Boxer said: “In my home State of California, Sacramento faces some of the nation’s most severe flood risks. I am so pleased that this bipartisan legislation includes critical flood control that protects lives and property in California. It also includes important reforms to strengthen our ports, including in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and restores critical ecosystems, such as the Salton Sea. I look forward to moving this critical legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law as soon as possible.”

The WRRDA conference report authorizes four new projects in California that have undergone extensive review by the Corps of Engineers and have been recommended by the Chief of Engineers, making them eligible for federal construction funding.

Natomas Basin: WRRDA authorizes over $1 billion to strengthen the levees in the Natomas Basin in Sacramento to safeguard over 100,000 residents and protect over $7 billion in property;

San Clemente Shoreline: The conference report authorizes $99 million for construction and continuing maintenance of coastal protection measures along the San Clemente shoreline. The project will protect critical infrastructure, including an important passenger and freight rail link, and increase recreational opportunities;

Orestimba Creek, San Joaquin River Basin: WRRDA authorizes approximately $45 million for flood control measures in the San Joaquin River Basin to protect the City of Newman. The project includes over four miles of levees designed to withstand a 200-year flood. It will protect critical local infrastructure, including rail, water supply, roads, and emergency response facilities. It would reduce expected annual damages by 94 percent;

Sutter Basin: WRRDA authorizes approximately $689 million for a flood control measures in Sutter River Basin, including Yuba City. The project would strengthen 41 miles of existing levees, reducing expected annual damages by approximately $50 million.

The WRRDA conference report also authorizes programs and sets priorities that address California’s needs.

Ports and waterways in the United States moved over 2.3 billion tons of goods in 2012, and California has some of the busiest ports in the world. These ports and waterways require dredging, maintenance and modernization to ensure the efficient, safe and timely movement of goods.

Press Release, May 16, 2014

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