Flooding & Levee Management
- California Roundtable for Central Valley Flood Management
- The Roundtable was formed in 2007 by leadership of key federal, state, and local agencies with responsibility for federal flood control levees in the state of California: US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, Central Valley Flood Protection Board, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. The Roundtable met monthly through 2011. Its primary purpose was to increase mutual understanding and explore opportunities for collaborative policy solutions to the issue of woody vegetation growing on flood control levees. Beginning in 2009, CCP provided the Roundtable with a mid-stream assessment, facilitated monthly meetings, and provided strategic analysis and consultation to Roundtable members. Challenges included working through complex historic tensions, encouraging robust involvement and communication between key decision-makers located on opposite coasts (Sacramento and D.C.), maintaining trust of all group members when all but one were aligned in objection to one member’s policy, and the breakdown of communication that occurred when one member agency filed litigation against another over this issue. Through the Roundtable, all members gained a deeper understanding of the policy’s intent, underlying rationale, hurdles and costs to implementation, and possible alternatives. Consequently, policymakers in California and Washington, D.C. with responsibilities for levee safety each adjusted their agency’s policies closer to a middle ground in response to concerns raised in Roundtable discussions, resulting in new vegetation maintenance practices that all parties agree have been a substantial, tangible benefit to public safety. However, Roundtable discussions were suspended when one member agency filed litigation against another. The litigation was still pending as of April 2013. A coalition of agencies will seek final resolution through potential federal legislation. Several Roundtable agencies are considering reanimating the Roundtable as a forum for ongoing high-level interagency updates and discussion on the vegetation issue.
- California Levee Vegetation Research Program
- The California Levee Vegetation Research Program is a multi-agency collaborative research program; the goal is to identify gaps in scientific information related to the effects of woody vegetation on flood control levees, then investigate those gaps to provide best available scientific information to policy-makers. The California Department of Water Resources is the primary funder, with the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Central Valley Flood Protection Board, NOAA Fisheries, and US Fish and Wildlife Service contributing funding and participating. The CLVRP additionally coordinates and collaborates with a separate research effort on the same topic, which the US Army Corps of Engineers manages. CCP provides program management and organizational support to the CLVRP, and facilitates collaboration among the participating agencies and between the CLVRP and the US Army Corps of Engineers, particularly the Corps’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). The CLVRP began in April 2007 with the organization of a science symposium on the current state of knowledge on this topic and is ongoing. CCP performs large and small group facilitation, strategic analysis and consultation, coaching key agency staff, and shuttle diplomacy as needed.
- Key challenges include ensuring a close connection between policy needs and research performed, ensuring a transparent and neutral research process regarding a controversial policy topic, and maintaining effective working relationships between staff of agencies that are embroiled in an acrimonious policy dispute including litigation and legislative involvement. Following the first science symposium in 2007, several original collaborative research projects have been completed, and a second science symposium took place in August 2012. In spring 2013, the program is initiating a second round of original research. Collaboration has helped to focus research on key topics of mutual interest, provide peer input on project scoping and methods provide peer review of project results, and improve utilization of the research results.
- Lower American River Task Force
- The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency contracted with CCP in 2004 to assist in the development of a River Corridor Management Plan (RCMP) for the Lower American River, with a focus on the area from the river’s confluence with the Sacramento River upstream to Folsom Dam. Local, state, and federal stakeholders came together to develop collaborative solutions, such as strategic visioning for a wide range of recreational and environmental issues on the river. These solutions included gravel placement for fish spawning, the impact of flood risk reduction projects on the American River Parkway, and vegetation management. Upon completion of the RCMP, CCP continued to support the reconvened stakeholder group every quarter for informational updates and to discuss current issues that affect the river.