(FOX40.COM) — The Sacramento region has finalized another project in its centuries long battle with devastating floodwaters with the completion of the Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback Project along the Sacramento River.
The seven mile and $280 million project will allow the California Department of Water Resources to divert more water from the Sacramento River into the Yolo Bypass when high water flow is detected.
According to CDWR, this project will help reduce flood risks for nearly 800,000 people living in Yolo and Sacramento counties.
The project began in 2020 and included removing portions of the existing levee and relocation further west from the Sacramento River. It also required the rerouting of roadways that utilized the levee.
Just a few hundred yards from the completed setback is the Sacramento Weir that is undergoing a expansion project led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’. Once the expansion is completed the two flood protection mechanisms will be tied into each other.
The $172.9 million weir expansion will add a 1,500-foot-wide weir adjacent to the existing 1,950-foot-wide weir that has been providing flood control along the Sacramento River since 1917.
An additional 40 acres of floodplain will also be created by the project to support Giant Garter Snake habitat along with a new fish passage structure and ladder specifically designed for adult sturgeon.
The expansion project was scheduled to start summer of 2023 and be completed in December 2026.
Both of these projects are expected to provide significant increases in flood protection, but are just parts of multi-billion dollar investment to reduce flood risks in the Sacramento region over the last decade.
According to CDWR, more than $7.5 billion has been spent across the Sacramento region in the last decade to shore defenses against Northern California’s historically devastating floods.
• $1.85 billion for the American River Common Features Project
• $1.1 billion Folsom Dam and Auxiliary Spillway Project
• $1.3 billion Natomas and $1 billion West Sacramento projects
• $3.3 billion in levee improvements to create 200-year flood protection in Yuba and Sutter counties
More than $50 million was also put in to repairing levee’s damaged by the 2023 storms across the Sacramento region.