HAMILTON CITY — Reclamation District 2140’s set-back levee outside of Hamilton City is completed, lessening flood concerns for the small Glenn County town.
The levee project officially reached completion Tuesday, though there is still some construction on the edge of the land surrounding the Sacramento River where trees and other flora are projected to be planted.
According to an announcement from the district, the set-back levee spans 6.8 miles of the Sacramento River east of Hamilton City and has been in the making for some time. The levee is part of a larger-scope plan called the Hamilton City Flood Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project.
Lee Ann Grigsby-Puente, the district’s board president, said the project was completed in time for the heavier part of the rainy season.
“The set-back levee is at grade level, meaning the back0-fill work to form the levee is complete,” Grigsby-Puente said. “It’s a key milestone for this project, especially as we head into the rainy season.”
The idea for the project came about in the late ’90s when the reclamation district became the lead agency to fund the levee as well as the upkeep costs.
In 2006, both residents and businesses began putting forward assessment fees to operate the levee.
“The community has fought long and hard for this new set-back levee,” Grigsby-Puente said. “We are proud that we stayed committed to reach this milestone. We thank all those involved in the effort including the Army Corps (of Engineers), Glenn County, the Department of Water Resources, Glen-Colusa Irrigation District, The Nature Conservancy, Congressmen (Doug) LaMalfa and (John) Garamendi, and especially the community for supporting the assessments needed to keep the levee in proper operating condition for decades to come.”
Ryan Luster of the Nature Conservancy said the native vegetation in the area will be able to maintain a healthier environment with the reconnection of the flood plain.
“The Nature Conservancy is thrilled that, after many years of effort by multiple individuals, the set-back levee portion of the project is complete. We are excited that this project utilizes a reconnected floodplain, set-back levee, and riparian habitat to reduce flood risk to the Hamilton City community,” Luster said. “The riparian restoration component of the project consists of native vegetation that has adapted to surviving flood events and will provide critical habitat for a variety of native species to thrive.”
Schaelene Rollins, who handles the public relations for the reclamation district, said that along with the levee project, the district is working on phase two of three of the restoration project which consists of about 400 acres of habitat restoration. This part of the project begins in 2022 and will continue into 2023.
The total cost of the project came out to $91 million which was last authorized in 2016, Rollins said.
The district plans to hold a dedication ceremony for the set-back levee at 2 p.m. Dec. 11. The ceremony will be held at the Irvine Finch Boat Launch located at Irvine Finch River Access Road. Community members are being asked to attend by the district. In addition to those working within the district, there will be speakers as well consisting of local officials and politicians at the congressional level.