State House Subcommittee Snubs Hamilton City Flood Damage and Ecosystem Restoration Project

Jun 18, 2013 4:36 PM

Today, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development released its funding recommendations for FY 2014, and failed to include funding for Hamilton City’s Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project.

“This is a terrible blow for us,” said Lee Ann Grigsby-Puente, President of Reclamation District 2140’s Board of Trustees. “We were very hopeful that the substantial efforts of Congressman Garamendi and Congressman LaMalfa on our behalf would sway the subcommittee. By continuing the ban on new starts, the subcommittee is subjecting the residents of the Hamilton City community to another year of risk of catastrophic flooding.”

“The dire need for increased flood protection has resulted in a $5M grant from the State, and millions of dollars of recommended funding by the President and the Senate, said Leigh McDaniel, the Glenn County Supervisor representing the Hamilton City area. “It is difficult to understand the subcommittee’s continued ban on new starts given the impact on Hamilton City.”

According to a press release from the Reclamation District 2140, The Hamilton City Project is a multipurpose flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration project. It consists of construction of 6.8 miles of setback levee to provide a more reliable form of flood protection to the community and agricultural areas. It also includes degradation of the existing “J” levee, and reconnection of approximately 1,400 acres of native habitat to the Sacramento River flood-plain.

Once constructed, the new levee will reportedly provide Hamilton City with protection against a 75-year flood event. Despite repairs performed by the County of Glenn over the last decade, and emergency work conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Water Resources, the Reclamation District described the existing J Levee as “in critically bad condition.”

“This project is vital to our public safety. Hamilton City has been evacuated six times in the last 30 years due to the threat of flooding,” said Larry Jones of the Glenn County Sheriff’s and head of Glenn County’s Office of Emergency Services. “We have explained this to the subcommittee several times, and our Republican and Democratic Congressmen both went to bat for us. “I am very concerned.”

Although dismayed, the local proponents are not giving up. They hope that the Senate will include funding for the Project in its appropriations bill developed later this year, which will present another opportunity for the House to fund the Project via the conference process by which the House and Senate resolve any differences in their funding approaches, according to the release.
Construction of the project is scheduled to take several years requiring additional funding.

The total estimated cost of construction is $52.4 million, of which the estimated federal cost is $34.1 million and the estimated non-federal cost is $18.3 million.


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