Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Foolish land developments will lead to destructive developments on California rivers

Sacramento flood control problems are increased by continued developments on flood-prone lands

The Sacramento Bee newspaper has published two editorials on floodplains recently. People who care about river conservation and wise use of taxpayer money should pay close attention to these issues.

The editorial Second thoughts on West Sacramento's floodplain plan (Aug 20, 2007) describes how developer fees on new construction developments will be used to fund the local share of levee upgrades for flood control. Thus, more unwise development will be stimulated to help provide flood control funding for the unwise developments of the past. The Bee went on to say "if it pursues a Faustian bargain of using new development to pay for flood control, West Sacramento should at least consider how it phases in this development. Build on the highest ground first, and elevate structures (carports on the bottom, residences on the second floor). Plan for evacuations. West Sacramento needs to be a leader in floodplain management, especially with such a risky method of flood control financing."

The editorial No floodplain hypocrisy (Aug 21, 2007) describes how Sacramento is opposing Assembly Bill 70 which "would require cities and counties to share liability with the state when they approve new developments in the floodplain." "That position would carry more weight if Sacramento were taking prudent steps in Natomas, where the levees have been found to be substandard. Instead, city leaders recently asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency not to adopt any designations that would restrict development in Natomas. In other words, the city wants someone else -- federal and state taxpayers -- to bear all the risks of its decisions, while exerting no control over them."

For more information see California Assembly Bill 70 - 2007-08 Session - LegisWeb. The LA Times newspaper also supports Senate Bill 70 and Local liability for flood damage.

Sacramento CA flood risks are high and getting higher !!

Why are we talking about this in the middle of a hot, dry California drought-year summer? Foolish land development practices enable homes and businesses to be built in areas with very high risks of flooding. Then federal and state taxpayers are expected to pay for dams and other expensive flood control structures to protect these developments that shouldn't have been built in the first place. California has plenty of land that is not susceptible to flooding, so future development should be redirected into those areas. Katrina's devastation of New Orleans has temporarily raised our awareness of flooding issues, but I fear that we are slipping back onto business as usual.

More about: Sacramento CA Flood Control and California River Conservation.

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