SUTTER COUNTY — It is a blustery Sunday evening and Mike Campour is on patrol.
He’s driving the Garden Highway north of Sacramento in Sutter County where the Feather River is swollen and running fast. Where this road, and the levee beneath it, are the only things between that water and the acres of farmland and homes on the other side.
“None of these levees have been worked on out here. The ones that have been neglected,” Campour said.
Mike’s part of a volunteer citizens patrol, driving this levee 24 hours a day, seven days a week, looking for places where water might be seeping through the levee and undermining it.
“I look for dirty water, moving water, fans of sand out there, just that type of thing,” Campour said.
Problems are widespread. So much so that an emergency Department of Water Resources project that started last weekend to reinforce the levee with 1,300 feet of gravel will now be expanded by another 2,200 feet.
“If it gets up any higher, the levees are so stressed out now, that’s going to be a lot of water,” said nearby resident Billy Fawley.
Residents say they are happy to see the work, to see the Department of Water Resources paying attention to the Garden Highway levee — even as they feel about as stressed as the levee itself.
“I don’t want to see it go. Because I love it here,” Campour said. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen up in Oroville, or right here. It is what it is; just deal with it as it comes.”