Local Business Leaders Push for Flood Protection Funds from Federal Government

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WASHINGTON -- From drought to record breaking rain and floods in just one season -- California farmers haven't had it easy recently.

"The river is high right now so we've got a lot of seepage going through the levy," David Ogilvie said.

Ogilvie is a fourth generation wine grape farmer in Clarksburg -- one of the lucky ones. Flooding hasn't damaged his crop this year. Still, he says the risk is there.

"For a season, you can lose your crop. I can't put a dollar figure to that, but depending on what crop you grow, your costs are gonna be different, but all enormous," he said.

Part of the reason Ogilvie came to Washington, D.C., with a delegation of lawmakers and business leaders from the Sacramento region, was to talk to members of Congress about how they can help maintain the region's levees and make flood insurance more affordable for farmers.

"It's been a serious problem before," Rep. John Garamendi, D-California, said. "The costs were so high farmers couldn't afford it."

Congressman Garamendi and his Republican counterpart Doug Lamalfa sponsored a bill that, among other things reduces flood insurance fees farmers pay for outbuildings on their farms.

He's also working to redirect federal money from dam repairs to levees, which he says is a bigger priority.

"This year, we have the Oroville incident which, just magnifies the importance," Scott Shapiro, co-chair of the Cap to Cap flood protection team, told FOX40.

He says congress already authorized levee repairs in Natomas, Sutter and Butte counties and West Sacramento, but hasn't put forward the money to pay for them.

"And now we're coming to the federal government and saying, You're our partner. These projects are authorized, we need your help in getting caught up,'" he said.

Shapiro's team is pushing for federal dollars to arrive before another flood season does.